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As promised, here is the next installment in our series on eating traditional Indonesian food in Bali. Last time we met, we learnt about and munched on Indonesia’s top 5 snacks. We hope we left you salivating and wanting more, because Bali has a lot more culinary delights to offer our beloved foodie types. For your enjoyment, we’ve devised a 24 hour meal plan designed to fill your day and belly with memories sure to outlive the news feed on your Instagram account. Lucky for you, the food available in Bali is as diverse as the cuisines of the 6’000 inhabited islands of Indonesia. On today’s menu, we have ordered you dishes that are typical Indonesian fare found easily around the hotspots of the island. So without further ado, may we present to you our breakfast ’til midnight snack menu. Get your spoon, fork or right hand ready.

Indonesian breakfast: Bubur ayam or kacang ijo

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Bubur Ayam

Morning after morning, Indonesians young and old chow down on bubur ayam. A breakfast fit for the masses, this warm rice porridge (similar to the Chinese congee) is topped with dressings of soy sauce, fried shallots, shredded chicken, peanuts and crackers. If you’re more of a sweet tooth, then try bubur kacang ijo; again a rice porridge but mixed with mung beans, brown sugar and coconut milk. Best enjoyed early morning when it’s quiet and there is a calm chill in the air. Interesting side note? Bubur ayam is prepared continuously during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, as a big bowl of this joyous dish is known to wipe-out the biggest of hungers. We suggest ordering a serving of this after a morning sesh of surfing or yoga.

Indonesian morning tea: Kopi tubruk and pisang goreng

Kopi Tubruk Jakarta

kopi tubruk

If you need a serious caffeine injection, then one cup of kopi tubruk will get your motor running. Kopi tubruk’s literal translation is “collision coffee” and it is Indonesia’s daily dose of caffeine. Similar to Turkish coffee and said to be brought to Indonesia by middle-eastern traders, kopi tubruk is prepared by pouring steaming hot water over ground coffee beans and mixing it with a lot of sugar. Now you know why the Balinese are so sweet! Serve with a piece of pisang goreng (fried banana) or two and you’re good to go. You can find this Indonesian beverage at pretty much every warung and even some cafés around the island. Word of caution: don’t drink or consume the left over grounds at the bottom of the cup.

Indonesian lunch: Ayam goreng lalapan and es teh

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Ayam goreng lalapan

When in Bali, try some authentic fried chicken – it has much more to it than its eleven secret herbs and spices. Going by the name of ‘ayam goreng’, it is a staple all over Indonesia won’t be hard to come across. It is prepared by dropping a juicy piece of chicken into a flaming wok that helps to seal in the flavours from the moment the meat hits the hot oil. Have it as the locals do with a side of spicy, lip-smacking sambal and a serving of lalapan, which is usually a few wedges of cucumber and raw cabbage. Or for our vegetarians at home, try tahu (tofu) and tempe goreng instead of the bird. Tempe is uniquely Indonesian and can be described asmore or less a fermented soy bean cake or patty. This is a great dish to try eating with your right hand like the locals do. Wash either dish down with another Indonesian staple, ‘es teh’ (iced tea). Hot tip: if you want your ice tea without sugar, make sure you specify or it will arrive nice and sweet. Easily seen roadside or at most food markets dotted around Kuta. Just look for the ‘lalapan’ blazoned banners and never pay more than 20,000 rupiah if buying from a street vendor.

Indonesian afternoon tea: es teler

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Es Teler

Es teler is a non-alcoholic concoction of fruit, ice and condensed milk. The word ‘teler’ translates to full or drunk so you can expect a big portion of this icy treat. Versions of the drink can include chunks of avocado, jackfruit, coconut and even seaweed mixed with coconut milk or condensed milk and then served over ice. This afternoon treat is hard to beat especially when it comes in an old school sundae glass; potential the most fruity, delicious fun you can have with your clothes on. Walk the back streets of Kuta and you will find hawkers galore, or you can even find it in the food court of Discovery Mall.

Indonesian dinner: Nasi goreng and a few Bintangs…

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Nasi goreng and a Bintang beer

Your holiday in Bali isn’t complete until you’ve eaten this national dish and washed it down with a few Bintang beers. Nasi Goreng, more commonly known as fried rice, is prepared by throwing pre-cooked rice (day old is best if you’re making it at home), garlic, shallots, sweet soy sauce, meats and vegetables of your choice into an oiled wok and tossing it until all the flavours have combined. Top it off with a fried egg and krupuk (traditional Indonesian crackers) to be sure that this crispy, salty, moreish meal will prepare you for a night of fun and frivolity amongst Bali’s booming nightlife. Served everywhere from your 5 star hotel to your local homestay and every street corner in between, it’s almost as easy to grab as a Bintang. If you like to cheers your beers with a few fun facts – the word Bintang translates to star and that the pale lager type flavour was founded by the colonial dutch in 1929. You will notice that the red star on the bintang label is the same as found on another Dutch beer, Heineken. Now whose round is it?

Indonesian late night snack: Mie instan

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Mie Instan

College memories of coming home after a late night out with friends wouldn’t be complete without ravishing a delicious bowl of instant noodle goodness. Actually, Indonesians take their instant noodles very seriously, with the brand Indomie producing over 40 different flavours. Try instant noodles rendang (Sumatran curry), cabe ijo (green chilli) or just go straight to the original – the one you probably remember from your uni days. On the way home, stop by the Circle K (local convenience store chain) and grab a few packets of Mie Instan to fulfil those late night/early morning cravings. Fire up the kettle, stir the noodles, add the flavouring and enjoy whilst watching the sun come up. Instant gratification. Have we left you feeling full? Satisfied? Content? Hungry for more? Then check out our favourite Indonesian eat haunts or salivate over what CNN travel believes to be Indonesia’s top 40 dishes. Get out there and find some tastes, sights and memories that will last you a life time. Happy eating or as they say in Bahasa “selamat makan!”.

Indonesian food photos (Flickr Autostream)

  • Hanna McDonald

    You really know your stuff Simone! Kacang Ijo and bubur ayam are so good, especially from the street stalls! 🙂

  • Simone Roberts

    Thank you Hanna.
    You can learn so much from a culture if you dive in deep and experience everything.
    I have yet to find a restaurant that can make Indonesian food any better than a warung or street stall.
    Do you agree?

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