Balinese Cuisine: What's Food & Drink like in Bali?

What is the food like in Bali? What are the traditional dishes of Bali, and what other types of food are available? Let’s take a look at where and what to eat on the island.

Part of the fun of visiting a new country is stuffing yourself with their food, and the cuisine of Bali is enjoyed by most. The primary staple of Balinese food is rice, which is served with almost every meal. This is usually accompanied by vegetables, meat, or seafood, all seasoned with a variety of spices and sauces. Watch out for the deliciously spicy sambal, a fiery red condiment that is served alongside many of the traditional dishes.

Balinese Cuisine

Make sure you don’t miss out on trying some of Bali’s more popular dishes, the most famous of which include:

Satay

Chicken Satay

Known as sate in Bali, satay is grilled chicken, pork or beef, skewered on sticks and grilled. This is usually served with a peanut sauce and makes the perfect light meal or bar snack.

Betutu     

Chicken Betutu

If you want to treat yourself on the island, find a restaurant that serves Betutu. Typically made using chicken or duck, betutu is a whole bird stuffed with a delicious mixture of spices and ingredients, including shallots, ginger, garlic, and chili. This is then baked or steamed for up to 8 hours, and the final result is packed with flavor.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

If there’s one dish you’re bound to try in Bali, it’s Nasi Goreng. Simple yet satisfying, Nasi Goreng means ‘fried rice.’ This is cooked with either meat or vegetables and is usually served with a fried egg on top.

Mie Goreng

Mie Goreng

Similar to Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng is made with fried noodles, mean and/or vegetables, and is usually served with an egg. It is popular for breakfast, lunch, and dinner among the Balinese, and is sold everywhere on the island.

Lawar

Chicken Lawar

Lawar is a dish made up of chopped meat mixed with coconut, garlic, chicken, and various green vegetables. In the case of red Lawar, blood is also added, but don’t worry if it’s not your thing – there is also a white variety that is blood-free.

Lawar can be found in most restaurants and warungs and is a great accompaniment to rice.

Babi Guling

Nasi Campur with Babi Guling

Originally a communal dish, traditional Babi Guling is pig stuffed with chilli, turmeric, ginger, and garlic and spit-roasted over a fire. The meat is also flavoured with traditional spices, and the dish is deliciously juicy and succulent.

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur

Nasi campur, or ’mixed rice,’ is sold throughout Bali, often by street vendors. The rice may come with egg, vegetables, tempeh, sweetcorn, chilli sauce, fried tofu, fish, or chicken, and is often sold wrapped in a banana leaf or brown paper.

Pisang Goreng

Pisang Goreng

For those with a sweet tooth, there’s Pisang Goreng! These fried bananas come in a range of shapes and sizes, from Bali’s own small, sweet kind, to larger varieties. Whatever the size, they’re all deliciously fried and served with condensed milk, honey, coconut, or ice cream.

What other cuisines are there in Bali?

At Lacalita Bar y Cocina. Image source: https://www.facebook.com/lacalitabali/photos/a.786173001427153.1073741828.745069345537519/1659213507456427/?type=3&theater

Bali has visitors from all around the globe and offers a range of cuisines to cater to every taste. In some areas, ‘foreign’ restaurants will outnumber the Balinese places, and you can choose from an international menu. Whether you’re craving Italian, Peruvian, or American, there’ll be something to satisfy every appetite in the busier regions of the island. For example, at places like the Lacalita Bar y Cocina, you can enjoy the real spirit and taste of Mexico…without leaving Bali!

Drinks in Bali

Coconut drinks

Soda can be bought cheaply on Bali, as can water and fruit juices. Many also restaurants offer a range of tasty and nutritious smoothies, as well as an array of teas, coffees, and health drinks. The main beer of choice on the island is Bintang, or you can grab a refreshing coconut at the beachside.

When it comes to alcohol, booze can be bought almost everywhere in Bali and is sold in shops, bars, and restaurants throughout the island.

  • Beer. Bintang is Bali’s beer of choice, and prices start at around $2 USD for a small bottle and $4 USD for a large.
  • Spirits. Spirits are widely available in bars and shops, but prices can be steep – expect to pay around $7 for a mixer. Beware of cheap mixed drinks in bars, as these are often made with arak.
  • Arak. Arak is the local liquor in Bali, a strong spirit that is typically made from sugarcane. Arak can be bought very cheaply (around $1.50 per bottle) and, at up to 70% proof, can be lethal. One thing’s for sure, though – it’s the least expensive way to get drunk in Bali!

Is Bali Halal?

Although most of Bali’s population is Hindu, there is also a large Muslim population, and it is easy to find Halal food on the island. There are lots of Halal restaurants with top reviews and ratings, particularly around Denpasar and Kuta.

Is Bali cheap to eat?

It can be very inexpensive to eat out n Bali, but how much you spend will all depend on the types of places you dine at.

Bali’s warungs – small, streetside restaurants – have a range of delicious choices for just a few dollars. If you really want to keep costs down, you could also take a trip to one of Bali’s many local food markets. Here you can find fresh fruits, veggies, and eggs at very low prices – everything you need to make yourself breakfast!

Food at a warung

Bali is also home to many Western restaurants, some of which offer high-end dining at premium prices. Depending on how luxurious the restaurant is, prices can range from as little as $5 all the way up to $50 a plate.

Is the food in Bali good for kids?

Most restaurants around Bali are family friendly, and happy to cater to children. Some types of Balinese food (e.g. Nasi Goreng and Satay) are enjoyed by most people, but if the local food isn’t to the taste of your kids there are plenty of other options.

Bali has many restaurants that cater specifically to Westerners, and lots serve sandwiches, smoothies, french fries, and burgers.

With so many different restaurants to choose from, finding something your children will eat should be simple.

Is Bali good for vegetarians and vegans?

Many of Bali’s traditional dishes feature meat, but that doesn’t mean vegetarian and vegan variations don’t exist. Tempe and tofu are both widely consumed in Bali and can be added to Nasi campur in lieu of meat or fish. Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng can also be ordered without meat.

If this rice, noodle, and veg diet begins to get dull, you’ll be pleased to find that Bali also has a wide range of restaurants that cater specifically to vegans and vegetarians, as well as ordinary healthy food spots.

Smoothie bowls are popular in Bali

These Western-style restaurants are more expensive from the local places, but the dishes are usually fresh, healthy, and creatively delicious.