One of the real highlights of travel to Indonesia’s Hindu island is sitting down to an aromatic Bali breakfast or tucking into a traditional dinner. There’s a wealth of traditional
dishes to tantalise the taste buds, from the ubiquitous nasi goring
(fried rice) and mie goring (fried noodle) to the peanut sauce and
steamed vegetable feast that is gado gado and beef rendang that will
have you begging for seconds. Virtually all the local meals are rice-based and favourites include servings of rice with grilled chicken or spicy tuna steaks with sambal, a chilli sauce.
On Bali, where tourism reigns supreme, there is also loads of modern restaurants offering everything from pizza and pasta to full English breakfasts along with your morning copy of The Times.
Cake is always served with
coffee or tea, nuts and krupuk with rice wine, and tea, water or tuak
with the meal.
Other traditional Balinese dishes include lawar, which is traditionally cooked by men who chop up strips of turtle or
mango or coconut, add in spices and mix it with uncooked blood to give it a red colour, and babi guling — roast suckling pig that is a great favourite amongst the
Balinese, served stuffed with spices and cooked after it is impaled
on a wooden pole and turned over a fire of coconut husks and wood.
For a real treat, head down to Jimbaran Bay where dozens of cheap seafood restaurants will serve you up a feast on tables right on the sand with a great view of the sunset.
Bintang is Indonesia’s most popular and best loved beer — you’ll see
the label printed on a thousand and one $2 T-shirts for sale in every
clothing shop. It’s a good drop too, especially compared to arak, the
local spirit, which packs quite a punch and is guaranteed to give you
one hell of a hangover. You’ll find arak for sale in bottles or, if
you’re on a budget, you can buy it in sealed plastic bags. Mix it with
Red Bull or soft drink to make it bearable.
As for everyday drinks, the tap water in virtually all of Indonesia
is below par and it is always advisable to drink bottled water, which
is cheap as chips and available everywhere — otherwise there’s every
chance you’ll experience the dreaded ‘Bali belly’.