5 traditional Balinese foods you must try (at least once)

Tasty Balinese Cuisine

If you are seeking an authentically Balinese experience on your holiday then you must try these 5 traditional Balinese foods. Once you’ve tried them in the local warung – why not visit the markets, pick up some fresh and local ingredients and cook up a storm in your private villas outdoor barbeque or fully equipped kitchen. If you get stuck along the way or are not to sure if you’ve managed to get the flavours quite right ask your friendly villa assistant to give you a hand. Try these local favourites and I’m sure you will be a convert wanting more.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng is one of Indonesia’s most loved dishes. You’ll be able to find it on nearly every menu you come across in Bali. Traditionally Nasi Goreng was eaten as breakfast from left over rice. Nasi Goreng literally means fried rice. Originally the recipe developed as a way of not wasting any food.

The cold pre-cooked rice is cooked in oil and usually mixed with sweet soy sauce, shallots, garlic, tamarind and chilli. Nasi Goreng is completed with an additional protein; most famously a fried egg, other options include chicken or prawns. For the best Nasi Goreng in Bali you simply must go to the famous Warung Made in Legian. Take the family and have a great time. It’s a legendary restaurant  and has been going strong for many years. If you opt for eating at the local warungs a Nasi Goreng will set you back around $5. So worth it if you have a hungry troop to feed. In the same style as Nasi Goreng try Mie Goreng. It’s excatly the same except with noodles. This is really popular with the kids and will keep them fed and happy for a long time. Easy and very quick to make most people have this as a snack to keep them tied over till dinner. Especially, if you have active kids on holidays who are always hungry.

Babi Guling – Suckling Pig

You don’t even need to browse the menu to discover that the Balinese love Babi Guling – Suckling Pig. Many a warung simply advertise their babi guling outside the café and this is all that is needed to attract customers. The Balinese really have this one down to a fine art and you’ll taste some of the finest crackling imaginable.

This is the perfect dish to entertain your friends and family if you are enjoying one of our luxury villas with an outdoor BBQ.

Best paces in Bali to try Babi Guling:

There must be hundreds of places but here are a few in the Seminyak, Ubud & Canggu area that are simply delicious

  • Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen on Sunset Road
  • Babi Guling Ibu Oka in Ubud
  • Sari Kembar in Seminyak


Lawar is well known all over Bali and available in many Balinese restaurants. Lawar translates as ‘slice of meat’. This dish consists of mixed vegetables, chopped meat, vegetable slices and coconut milk.

There are various takes on Lawar it is one of those dishes that you can adapt to your preferences. It is usually cooked and eaten at religious ceremonies. Depending on the materials for cooking and composing the lawar, the taste and colour can turn out quite differently. For example there is red lawar and white lawar, which is predominately, made up of coconut flesh, cream and green vegetables.

My personal favourite is Jack fruit Lawar. The jack fruit is braised in coconut cream and is the main focus of the dish. A delicious combination of sweet smooth and nutritious flavours.

Satay: Most of us are familiar with traditional Asian satay sauces – usually quite a peanut flavour. In Bali Satay is made from sea fish and meat. The fish meat is covered in green coconut spices and brown sugar. Once the meat is skewered it is then cooked on a ceramic grill over a combination of charcoal and dried coconut shell. It is a traditional food of the Tabanan region. So many restaurants will have satay on the menu and is generally served before the main meal.

Bebek Betutu – Bebek Betutu is an explosion of flavour. It can be made with either steamed or roasted, chicken or duck and it is a classic Balinese ceremonial dish. For the real foodies travelling to Bali you must try cooking this one in your villa. Make sure you give you chef or manager ample time to prepare this and shop for the ingredients.

There are loads more dishes you can try while on holiday in Bali. All you need to do is basically walk around and have a sticky beak into some local restaurants. I know you have all heard rumours and stories about eating from local vendors and the problems with Bali belly but most places are fine. They are all really popular, have fresh food and you’ll be totally fine. If it looks busy then it’s OK. Obviously, go with your instinct but given the amount of tourists in these areas and the fact that the locals rely on this trade, your meals will be healthy and really clean. If your unsure or scared to risk it speak to your villa or hotel staff who can advice you of the best places to eat local Balinese food.