the traditional food in bali

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					                              The Food Culture in Bali


Your gastronomical experience in Bali is as enchanting and full of discovery as
your cultural experience. I am a total believer that a significant portion of
traveling should also involve your tastebuds. Of course, if you prefer to stick
with cheeseburger or a Colonel Sanders' meal-deal, or to drink your regular Bud
light in your Hard Rock Cafe, they all exist in Bali as well. But we know that's
not why you come to Bali, is it?

Let us take this culinary adventure (would you care for the java of Bali first?):

What's in a meal?

Well, typically, a meal consists of a plate of steamed rice, and a number of main
courses. Instead of eating one course at a time a la Western meals, the main
courses, and sometimes including the soup, are all eaten at once. Soup is poured
over the rice much like a steak sauce is poured over the steak. Desserts are
mostly tropical fruits, which by themselves are enough of a feast and a reason to
visit Bali!

Balinese usually eat three meals in a day, with lunch as the primary, heaviest
meal. Breakfast can be as light as a cup of coffee (which is usually not light), or a
plateful of "nasi goreng" or fried rice. Lunch is the heaviest meal, with a plate of
steam rice (or a mound if you prefer), accompanied by a number of main
courses, usually consisting of a meat or fish dish, a vegetable dish, and a soup.
Dinner is a smaller version of lunch. Desserts for both lunch and dinner can vary
from various kinds of fruits, depending on the season, to a specially prepared
dessert like pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) or tape (fermented sticky rice).

Rice

As a Balinese grandmother used to say, you haven't had a complete meal unless
you have had rice. Rice is the basic food for most of Asians. But it is more than
that for Balinese - it is the basis of life itself. One of the most respected goddesses
in Bali and certainly the most popular is Dewi Sri - the goddess of rice. The
rituals of rice, from planting to harvesting are an important part of a Balinese
life.

Steamed rice

But we digress. How do Balinese prepare rice? First and foremost, to guarantee
absolute freshness, threshing rice is done daily by the women of the family. In a
clay pot, you wash the result twice, enough to clean it yet does not wash out the
taste. You pour water until it is about one joint of your middle finger above the
surface of the rice. Covered with a lid, the pot is put on top of a medium fire.
When it boils, you slide the lid a little bit, allowing the steam to escape. When the
water is gone (but the rice still looks very wet and sticky), you lower the fire and
keep the pot there for a few minutes. You will get a delicious, aromatic, and
moist steamed rice that even the royalties of Bali will appreciate.
Of course, if you can't manage your daily rice threshing, or a clay pot, the
modern stainless steel version would do. Or a rice cooker, if you must.

Fried rice

Besides steamed rice, Balinese also eat a lot of fried rice, usually for breakfast.
The idea is that you fry rice that you have left over from the previous night. It is
simple to prepare, yet it has such a glamour.

First, you heat oil in a large wok, throwing in chopped shallots to flavor and to
add a nice aroma into the oil. Then you put things that you want in the fried rice.
You can put shrimp or pork or vegetables. Next comes the rice. You add salt to
taste and pour a good amount of soysauce until the color turns brown. You can
also add chili pepper to taste. Leave it for a few minutes, and it's done.

Now, the presentation. Balinese like to eat their fried rice with eggs, either a
super thin omelette cut into thin slices and mixed with the fried rice, or a sunny-
side up (we call it "mata sapi" - cow's eyes, literally). Additionally, you slice
cucumber into thin slices, and decorate the sides of the plate with them. Lastly,
add a touch of fried shallots and a krupuk. With a glass of es teh manis (iced tea,
sweetened), you are ready for a wonderful breakfast. This is childhood memory
of Sunday morning for many Indonesians...

If you are not ready to do all the cooking above, any decent restaurants or hotels
will gladly prepare it for you.

Soups

There are different kinds of soups:

Bakso: chicken or beef broth, usually accompanied by various kinds of spices. It
usually has either fish balls or meat balls. Bubur ayam (Chicken porridge): thick
rice porridge with chicken pieces. Usually served with cah-weh (a Chinese
bread).

Main course Bebek betutu (Darkened duck):
Sate (satay)
Babi guling (Roast pork)
Babi Panggang a la Karo (Karo-style Barbeque Pork)

Desserts

The primary desserts in Bali as well as in the rest of Indonsia is fruit, which is
available in more varieties than you can think of. There are literally tens or even
hundreds of different kinds of bananas alone, from a small, pinky-sized, gold-
colored bananas to a foot or foot-and-a-half, dark green ones.

One favorite dessert is pisang goreng or fried banana fritter. Traditionally, my
mother would make pisang goreng for afternoon snack. And you can find
numerous street vendors who would make these and other snacks out in the open
air (with all the dusts from bemo spicing the food).

Another traditional dessert is tape (ketan or ubi) or fermented sticky rice or
cassava. This dessert is made by first steaming the sticky rice or boiling the
cassava, pouring ragi or yeast powder to help the process of fermentation, and
storing it for several days to allow the fermentation process to take place. The
result is a sweet (if you do it right), delicious, and aromatic tape ketan or tape
ubi. (Incidentally, the side product of a tape making process is the wine that
comes out of the rice that becomes a light alcohol beverage called brem).

Drinks

There are various kinds of beverages that are unique to Bali or to Indonesia.

Cendol:
jello-like consistency, green pieces of tapioka, mixed with water and santan or
coconut milk, and sweetened by a liquified gula jawa or brown sugar.
Es campur (Mixed drink):
somewhat similar to cendol, but it contains a variety of things. In addition to
different kinds of tapioka products, sometimes people different kinds of fruits
like avocado, nangka or jackfruit, etc.
Air kelapa muda (Young coconut juice):
Fruit juice: you can find various kinds of fruit juice drinks, from papaya to
markisah (passion fruit) to sirsak (Dutch durian).

For alcoholic beverages, there are two primary drinks:

Brem (Rice wine):
As described above, brem is a by-product of tape. The wine comes out of the rice
because of fermentation. Arak:
arak is a kind of hard liquor. It is fermented from the sap of a special kind of
palm tree.

Additionally, there are variants of non-alcoholic beverages above that have met
Balinese creativity and outside influence, resulting in various kinds of interesting
drinks. Air kelapa muda (young coconut juice) with various kinds of liquors like
rum or tequila can be found in many restaurants, presented attractively in the
coconut fruit itself. And what can be more interesting than a Pina-Colada like
drink served inside a freshly cut out pineapple?

Your gastronomical experience in Bali is as enchanting and full of discovery as
your cultural experience. I am a total believer that a significant portion of
traveling should also involve your tastebuds. Of course, if you prefer to stick
with cheeseburger or a Colonel Sanders' meal-deal, or to drink your regular Bud
light in your Hard Rock Cafe, they all exist in Bali as well. But we know that's
not why you come to Bali, is it?

Let us take this culinary adventure (would you care for the java of Bali first?):
What's in a meal?

Well, typically, a meal consists of a plate of steamed rice, and a number of main
courses. Instead of eating one course at a time a la Western meals, the main
courses, and sometimes including the soup, are all eaten at once. Soup is poured
over the rice much like a steak sauce is poured over the steak. Desserts are
mostly tropical fruits, which by themselves are enough of a feast and a reason to
visit Bali!

Balinese usually eat three meals in a day, with lunch as the primary, heaviest
meal. Breakfast can be as light as a cup of coffee (which is usually not light), or a
plateful of "nasi goreng" or fried rice. Lunch is the heaviest meal, with a plate of
steam rice (or a mound if you prefer), accompanied by a number of main
courses, usually consisting of a meat or fish dish, a vegetable dish, and a soup.
Dinner is a smaller version of lunch. Desserts for both lunch and dinner can vary
from various kinds of fruits, depending on the season, to a specially prepared
dessert like pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) or tape (fermented sticky rice).

Rice

As a Balinese grandmother used to say, you haven't had a complete meal unless
you have had rice. Rice is the basic food for most of Asians. But it is more than
that for Balinese - it is the basis of life itself. One of the most respected goddesses
in Bali and certainly the most popular is Dewi Sri - the goddess of rice. The
rituals of rice, from planting to harvesting are an important part of a Balinese
life.

Steamed rice

But we digress. How do Balinese prepare rice? First and foremost, to guarantee
absolute freshness, threshing rice is done daily by the women of the family. In a
clay pot, you wash the result twice, enough to clean it yet does not wash out the
taste. You pour water until it is about one joint of your middle finger above the
surface of the rice. Covered with a lid, the pot is put on top of a medium fire.
When it boils, you slide the lid a little bit, allowing the steam to escape. When the
water is gone (but the rice still looks very wet and sticky), you lower the fire and
keep the pot there for a few minutes. You will get a delicious, aromatic, and
moist steamed rice that even the royalties of Bali will appreciate.

Of course, if you can't manage your daily rice threshing, or a clay pot, the
modern stainless steel version would do. Or a rice cooker, if you must.

Fried rice

Besides steamed rice, Balinese also eat a lot of fried rice, usually for breakfast.
The idea is that you fry rice that you have left over from the previous night. It is
simple to prepare, yet it has such a glamour.

First, you heat oil in a large wok, throwing in chopped shallots to flavor and to
add a nice aroma into the oil. Then you put things that you want in the fried rice.
You can put shrimp or pork or vegetables. Next comes the rice. You add salt to
taste and pour a good amount of soysauce until the color turns brown. You can
also add chili pepper to taste. Leave it for a few minutes, and it's done.

Now, the presentation. Balinese like to eat their fried rice with eggs, either a
super thin omelette cut into thin slices and mixed with the fried rice, or a sunny-
side up (we call it "mata sapi" - cow's eyes, literally). Additionally, you slice
cucumber into thin slices, and decorate the sides of the plate with them. Lastly,
add a touch of fried shallots and a krupuk. With a glass of es teh manis (iced tea,
sweetened), you are ready for a wonderful breakfast. This is childhood memory
of Sunday morning for many Indonesians...

If you are not ready to do all the cooking above, any decent restaurants or hotels
will gladly prepare it for you.

Soups

There are different kinds of soups:

Bakso: chicken or beef broth, usually accompanied by various kinds of spices. It
usually has either fish balls or meat balls. Bubur ayam (Chicken porridge): thick
rice porridge with chicken pieces. Usually served with cah-weh (a Chinese
bread).

Main course Bebek betutu (Darkened duck):
Sate (satay)
Babi guling (Roast pork)
Babi Panggang a la Karo (Karo-style Barbeque Pork)

Desserts

The primary desserts in Bali as well as in the rest of Indonsia is fruit, which is
available in more varieties than you can think of. There are literally tens or even
hundreds of different kinds of bananas alone, from a small, pinky-sized, gold-
colored bananas to a foot or foot-and-a-half, dark green ones.

One favorite dessert is pisang goreng or fried banana fritter. Traditionally, my
mother would make pisang goreng for afternoon snack. And you can find
numerous street vendors who would make these and other snacks out in the open
air (with all the dusts from bemo spicing the food).

Another traditional dessert is tape (ketan or ubi) or fermented sticky rice or
cassava. This dessert is made by first steaming the sticky rice or boiling the
cassava, pouring ragi or yeast powder to help the process of fermentation, and
storing it for several days to allow the fermentation process to take place. The
result is a sweet (if you do it right), delicious, and aromatic tape ketan or tape
ubi. (Incidentally, the side product of a tape making process is the wine that
comes out of the rice that becomes a light alcohol beverage called brem).

Drinks
There are various kinds of beverages that are unique to Bali or to Indonesia.

Cendol:
jello-like consistency, green pieces of tapioka, mixed with water and santan or
coconut milk, and sweetened by a liquified gula jawa or brown sugar.
Es campur (Mixed drink):
somewhat similar to cendol, but it contains a variety of things. In addition to
different kinds of tapioka products, sometimes people different kinds of fruits
like avocado, nangka or jackfruit, etc.
Air kelapa muda (Young coconut juice):
Fruit juice: you can find various kinds of fruit juice drinks, from papaya to
markisah (passion fruit) to sirsak (Dutch durian).

For alcoholic beverages, there are two primary drinks:

Brem (Rice wine):
As described above, brem is a by-product of tape. The wine comes out of the rice
because of fermentation. Arak:
arak is a kind of hard liquor. It is fermented from the sap of a special kind of
palm tree.

Additionally, there are variants of non-alcoholic beverages above that have met
Balinese creativity and outside influence, resulting in various kinds of interesting
drinks. Air kelapa muda (young coconut juice) with various kinds of liquors like
rum or tequila can be found in many restaurants, presented attractively in the
coconut fruit itself. And what can be more interesting than a Pina-Colada like
drink served inside a freshly cut out pineapple?

Your gastronomical experience in Bali is as enchanting and full of discovery as
your cultural experience. I am a total believer that a significant portion of
traveling should also involve your tastebuds. Of course, if you prefer to stick
with cheeseburger or a Colonel Sanders' meal-deal, or to drink your regular Bud
light in your Hard Rock Cafe, they all exist in Bali as well. But we know that's
not why you come to Bali, is it?

Let us take this culinary adventure (would you care for the java of Bali first?):

What's in a meal?

Well, typically, a meal consists of a plate of steamed rice, and a number of main
courses. Instead of eating one course at a time a la Western meals, the main
courses, and sometimes including the soup, are all eaten at once. Soup is poured
over the rice much like a steak sauce is poured over the steak. Desserts are
mostly tropical fruits, which by themselves are enough of a feast and a reason to
visit Bali!

Balinese usually eat three meals in a day, with lunch as the primary, heaviest
meal. Breakfast can be as light as a cup of coffee (which is usually not light), or a
plateful of "nasi goreng" or fried rice. Lunch is the heaviest meal, with a plate of
steam rice (or a mound if you prefer), accompanied by a number of main
courses, usually consisting of a meat or fish dish, a vegetable dish, and a soup.
Dinner is a smaller version of lunch. Desserts for both lunch and dinner can vary
from various kinds of fruits, depending on the season, to a specially prepared
dessert like pisang goreng (fried banana fritters) or tape (fermented sticky rice).

Rice

As a Balinese grandmother used to say, you haven't had a complete meal unless
you have had rice. Rice is the basic food for most of Asians. But it is more than
that for Balinese - it is the basis of life itself. One of the most respected goddesses
in Bali and certainly the most popular is Dewi Sri - the goddess of rice. The
rituals of rice, from planting to harvesting are an important part of a Balinese
life.

Steamed rice

But we digress. How do Balinese prepare rice? First and foremost, to guarantee
absolute freshness, threshing rice is done daily by the women of the family. In a
clay pot, you wash the result twice, enough to clean it yet does not wash out the
taste. You pour water until it is about one joint of your middle finger above the
surface of the rice. Covered with a lid, the pot is put on top of a medium fire.
When it boils, you slide the lid a little bit, allowing the steam to escape. When the
water is gone (but the rice still looks very wet and sticky), you lower the fire and
keep the pot there for a few minutes. You will get a delicious, aromatic, and
moist steamed rice that even the royalties of Bali will appreciate.

Of course, if you can't manage your daily rice threshing, or a clay pot, the
modern stainless steel version would do. Or a rice cooker, if you must.

Fried rice

Besides steamed rice, Balinese also eat a lot of fried rice, usually for breakfast.
The idea is that you fry rice that you have left over from the previous night. It is
simple to prepare, yet it has such a glamour.

First, you heat oil in a large wok, throwing in chopped shallots to flavor and to
add a nice aroma into the oil. Then you put things that you want in the fried rice.
You can put shrimp or pork or vegetables. Next comes the rice. You add salt to
taste and pour a good amount of soysauce until the color turns brown. You can
also add chili pepper to taste. Leave it for a few minutes, and it's done.

Now, the presentation. Balinese like to eat their fried rice with eggs, either a
super thin omelette cut into thin slices and mixed with the fried rice, or a sunny-
side up (we call it "mata sapi" - cow's eyes, literally). Additionally, you slice
cucumber into thin slices, and decorate the sides of the plate with them. Lastly,
add a touch of fried shallots and a krupuk. With a glass of es teh manis (iced tea,
sweetened), you are ready for a wonderful breakfast. This is childhood memory
of Sunday morning for many Indonesians...
If you are not ready to do all the cooking above, any decent restaurants or hotels
will gladly prepare it for you.

Soups

There are different kinds of soups:

Bakso: chicken or beef broth, usually accompanied by various kinds of spices. It
usually has either fish balls or meat balls. Bubur ayam (Chicken porridge): thick
rice porridge with chicken pieces. Usually served with cah-weh (a Chinese
bread).

Main course Bebek betutu (Darkened duck):
Sate (satay)
Babi guling (Roast pork)
Babi Panggang a la Karo (Karo-style Barbeque Pork)

Desserts

The primary desserts in Bali as well as in the rest of Indonsia is fruit, which is
available in more varieties than you can think of. There are literally tens or even
hundreds of different kinds of bananas alone, from a small, pinky-sized, gold-
colored bananas to a foot or foot-and-a-half, dark green ones.

One favorite dessert is pisang goreng or fried banana fritter. Traditionally, my
mother would make pisang goreng for afternoon snack. And you can find
numerous street vendors who would make these and other snacks out in the open
air (with all the dusts from bemo spicing the food).

Another traditional dessert is tape (ketan or ubi) or fermented sticky rice or
cassava. This dessert is made by first steaming the sticky rice or boiling the
cassava, pouring ragi or yeast powder to help the process of fermentation, and
storing it for several days to allow the fermentation process to take place. The
result is a sweet (if you do it right), delicious, and aromatic tape ketan or tape
ubi. (Incidentally, the side product of a tape making process is the wine that
comes out of the rice that becomes a light alcohol beverage called brem).

Drinks

There are various kinds of beverages that are unique to Bali or to Indonesia.

Cendol:
jello-like consistency, green pieces of tapioka, mixed with water and santan or
coconut milk, and sweetened by a liquified gula jawa or brown sugar.
Es campur (Mixed drink):
somewhat similar to cendol, but it contains a variety of things. In addition to
different kinds of tapioka products, sometimes people different kinds of fruits
like avocado, nangka or jackfruit, etc.
Air kelapa muda (Young coconut juice):
Fruit juice: you can find various kinds of fruit juice drinks, from papaya to
markisah (passion fruit) to sirsak (Dutch durian).

For alcoholic beverages, there are two primary drinks:

Brem (Rice wine):
As described above, brem is a by-product of tape. The wine comes out of the rice
because of fermentation. Arak:
arak is a kind of hard liquor. It is fermented from the sap of a special kind of
palm tree.

Additionally, there are variants of non-alcoholic beverages above that have met
Balinese creativity and outside influence, resulting in various kinds of interesting
drinks. Air kelapa muda (young coconut juice) with various kinds of liquors like
rum or tequila can be found in many restaurants, presented attractively in the
coconut fruit itself. And what can be more interesting than a Pina-Colada like
drink served inside a freshly cut out pineapple?

				
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