The Best Food in Bali and Where to Find It

Jul 16, 2021
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Bali is full of delicious places to eat, and there’s so much variety! From Polynesian faire,  to banana-based dishes and traditional feasts, there’s so much that you can’t leave Bali without tasting at least once. Here are some dishes you’ve got to eat and ideas where you can find them.

Traditional Dishes

Polynesia, and Bali in particular, is home to many must-try dishes. Both mie goreng and nasi goreng are Indonesian staples worth trying on your visit. Mie goreng consists of friend noodles, veggies and protein. Nasi goreng is similar, but with fried rice instead of noodles. With either dish, a fried egg is often served on top. Peanut sauce and pickled vegetables are served on the side. 

One of the fun things about these dishes is that they are served breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are common and very popular. This means they’ll be easy to find at many restaurants around the island.

If you’re in the mood for something sweet after you eat your nasi goreng, try laklak. Laklak is a cake made out of rice flour. It’s a sweet cake, and comes in two colors. It’s sometimes green and sometimes white, depending on the way it’s made. The green cake is made with pandan leaves. 

This bite size treat is available in traditional markets. You can also find it in bakeries. It can be eaten as a snack or for breakfast. 

Banana Flour

Though laklak is made with rice flour, bananas and banana flour are often prevalent in Balinese dishes. Often food is wrapped in banana leaves to hold in flavor. Banana flour is great for baking, as it sweetens whatever dish it's added to.

Many cafes and bakeries around the island offer gluten free dishes. Made’s Banana Flour is a great example.They consider themselves the world’s first banana flour bakery, and they actually ship their banana flour anywhere in the world. They employ locals, use local restaurant equipment and work to support Bali’s economy.

Banana Leaves

Instead of being made with banana flour, other dishes are wrapped in banana leaves. Pepes ikan and nasi campur Bali are examples of dishes where banana leaves are used to lock in flavor. Pepes ikan consists of a whole marinated fish wrapped in a banana leaf and then steamed. 

Nasi campur Bali consists of rice with protein and veggies, served in a banana leaf. Both are cooked with spices, including ginger and peanut, wrapped up with the meat. In both cases, the banana leaf helps lock in the flavor while the food is cooked. 

There are places all over the island that sell pepes ikan and nasi campur Bali. Many local sitdown restaurants carry these dishes. Nasi campur Bali is also a great dish to purchase from a street vendor. 

Fried Bananas

Another street fair treat you won’t want to miss, Pisang Goreng is basically fried bananas. The bananas are dipped in batter and fried in hot oil. Coffee shops and bakeries also carry these treats. 

Legendary Dishes

Yet another banana-related dish, betutu is also the king’s favorite dish, according to legend. It consists of a whole duck or chicken that’s stuffed with spices. Spices used include shallots, garlic, chili and peanuts. The dish is then steamed while wrapped in banana leaves. 

This meal takes about eight hours to prepare and much of that time is spent steaming the meat. It’s definitely a specialty dish and worth trying. It’s available at most hotels and high-end restaurants. 

Babi Guling

Babi guling is another legendary dish. This suckling pig is traditionally served at religious celebrations or rites of passage, like weddings and funerals. The pig is hand-turned on an open fire and marinated in bumbu, a spice paste. Because it’s so popular with tourists, it’s served all over the island. You’ll find it in casual, open-air restaurants that specialize specifically in this savory dish.

One thing is for sure, there are so many delicious dishes to try in Bali. No matter where you are on the island, you’re bound to find someplace serving something amazing.