Ubud, located in the heart of Bali, Indonesia, is a captivating destination known for its lush landscapes, vibrant arts scene, and spiritual retreats. However, it is also a hidden gem for food enthusiasts who crave unique flavors and diverse culinary experiences.
From traditional Balinese delicacies to international fusion cuisine, Ubud offers a plethora of gastronomic delights that will tantalize your taste buds. In this article, we will take you on a delectable journey through Ubud’s food scene, highlighting must-visit eateries and local specialties that make this town a food traveler’s paradise.
Traditional Balinese Cuisine:
Ubud is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the authentic flavors of Balinese cuisine. One iconic dish not to be missed is Babi Guling, which is a succulent roasted suckling pig, marinated with a blend of traditional spices such as turmeric, coriander, and lemongrass. Head to the famous Ibu Oka Warung, a local favorite, where you can savor this mouthwatering delicacy served with steamed rice and crispy crackling skin.
Another traditional Balinese specialty is Bebek Betutu, a slow-roasted duck infused with a rich combination of local herbs and spices. The tender meat is marinated in a secret blend, wrapped in banana leaves, and then slow-cooked to perfection. For a memorable Bebek Betutu experience, visit Warung Mendez, a charming eatery known for its traditional preparations.
Sate Lilit is another must-try dish. It features minced meat (usually chicken, pork, or fish) mixed with grated coconut, spices, and herbs, and then wrapped around lemongrass sticks before being grilled. Sample this delicious Balinese satay at Warung Sate Plecing Arjuna, where it is served with a flavorful peanut sauce and aromatic rice.
Ubud’s Ubiquitous Warungs:
Warungs, traditional small restaurants, are scattered throughout Ubud, offering a wide variety of affordable and flavorsome dishes. One renowned warung is Biah Biah, where you can indulge in Nasi Campur, a mixed rice dish featuring an assortment of flavorful sides such as sambal (spicy chili sauce), vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and meats. The combination of different textures and tastes in one plate is a true delight.
For a taste of authentic Balinese cuisine in a cozy setting, head to Warung Sopa. Here, you can enjoy Mie Goreng, a delicious fried noodle dish loaded with vegetables, spices, and your choice of meat or tofu. The noodles are stir-fried to perfection, resulting in a delightful mix of flavors and textures that will satisfy your cravings.
Gado-Gado is a popular Indonesian vegetable salad served with a mouthwatering peanut sauce. At Warung Biah Biah, you can experience this refreshing dish, which features an assortment of blanched vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and boiled eggs, all topped with a generous amount of creamy peanut sauce. It’s a perfect choice for those seeking a lighter yet flavorful option.
Ubud’s Organic and Healthy Food Scene:
Ubud has also become a hub for health-conscious travelers, offering a myriad of organic and vegetarian options. Clear Cafe, nestled in the heart of Ubud, is renowned for its wholesome meals made with locally sourced ingredients. Try their Buddha Bowl, a vibrant and nutritious dish featuring a colorful assortment of vegetables, grains, and protein, dressed with flavorful sauces and toppings.
Bali Buda, a popular health food store and café, offers a diverse menu of organic dishes. Try their RawVegan Pad Thai, made with spiralized zucchini noodles, fresh vegetables, and a flavorful almond-based sauce. It’s a guilt-free and delicious option for those looking for a raw and vegan dish.
Indonesian Fusion Cuisine:
Ubud’s culinary landscape has evolved to include innovative fusion cuisine that blends traditional Indonesian flavors with international culinary influences. Locavore, a renowned restaurant in Ubud, focuses on using locally sourced ingredients and reinterpreting them in creative ways. Their menu changes regularly to showcase the freshest seasonal produce and highlight the best of Indonesian cuisine.
One standout dish at Locavore is the Rendang Beef Tartare. This unique twist on the traditional beef tartare combines the richness of rendang, a slow-cooked spicy meat dish, with the freshness of raw beef. The result is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that will leave you craving for more.
Another must-try fusion dish is the Sambal Matah-infused dishes. Sambal Matah is a traditional Balinese raw sambal made with shallots, lemongrass, chili, and lime juice. Locavore takes this iconic condiment and incorporates it into various dishes, such as grilled fish or prawns, to add a zesty and aromatic twist to the meal.
Ubud’s Tempting Street Food:
When in Ubud, don’t forget to explore the vibrant street food culture. Jalan Raya Ubud, the main street, comes alive in the evenings with food stalls offering an array of tempting treats. Indulge in Pisang Goreng, which are sweet fried bananas coated in a light batter and served with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The warm, crispy exterior and soft, sweet interior make it a delightful snack.
For a comforting and hearty dish, try Bubur Sumsum, a sticky rice porridge infused with coconut milk and served with a variety of toppings such as palm sugar syrup, shredded coconut, and diced fruits. It’s a popular choice for breakfast or a late-night snack.
Klepon is another street food delicacy worth trying. These bite-sized, green-colored rice balls are filled with liquid palm sugar and rolled in grated coconut. The burst of sweet syrup as you take a bite, combined with the chewy texture of the rice, creates a delightful sensation for your taste buds.