Spice up your food

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Udayana University intern, Denise, has spent several months in Bali, and already knows her way around the local areas. Here she went to sample some of the local street kitchens on a mission to help you get more confident approaching Balinese warungs…

If you have been to Indonesia, then you probably have seen those sketchy looking places called “warung”. What you may not know is thatthese warungs are actually some of the best places to eat at – so don’t be shy! The food is made by locals so that means that all the amazingly delicious meals will only cost you about one or two euros!

I would say it’s a good deal especially for students!

Warung is Indonesian for a shop that sells food.

You can spot “warungs” on the side of any street. Warung usually displays a variety of food in the front, with a little cooking area right behind it. Here you can order “Nasi Campur” (mixed rice), where you can choose your side dishes on your own. It’s almost like a buffet. The choices vary from vegetables (sayur), egg (telur), chicken (ayam), fish (ikan), tofu (tahu) to tempe goreng (goreng stands for fried) to name a few.

Standard nasi campur – steamed rice with some tempeh, tofu, chicken, vegetables, and chilli sauce.

Tempe goreng is very popular in Indonesia. It is made out of soy beans formed into a cake and then fried. You have to try it! Tofu is another alternative for vegetarians, and even for meat lovers. It is made out of soy milk, and then typically fried in Indonesian kitchen. Asian countries sure know how to make tofu! Both tempe goreng and tofu are even tastier with some sambal. Sambal is a chilli sauce made with different kinds of ingredients. Just have a go with it… I have had the best and freshest tempe in Bali here in Warung Bu Sri on Jalan Mataram.

Tempe goreng and tofu.

Another dish that you are able to order in most Indonesian street kitchens would be ayam bakar – translated it means roasted chicken. The chicken is cooked on a barbecue, and it usually comes with rice and a delicious chilli sauce on the side. Believe it or not, the picture below is from a warung that looked shady from the outside – but once I got my food, I thought I was in a high-class restaurant. And all this for just 2€! You can find this amazing warungs on Jalan Mataram street in Kuta. So keep your eyes open when you are driving through Jalan Mataram.

Ayam bakar and sambal

To mix it up a little you can order fuyunghai. It originates from the Chinese-Indonesian cuisine. It’s an omelette with onions, chicken or seafood, and some vegetables. Typically thereare different optionsto choosefrom. Fuyunghaiis served with a sweet and sour sauce. Definitely something you don’t want to miss out on!

One of the most famous Indonesian dishes is called sate. You can get this at any warung with a grill standing in the front. Sate is grilled meat served on a stick with a mouthwatering peanut sauce. In the picture I ordered lontong and gulai kambing. Lontong is compressed rice cooked in a banana leaf. Very recommended for a tasty alternative to the usual rice. Gulai (kambing) is known as the Indonesian curry. It is a seasoned sauce cooked with meat. I chose Gulai kambing which is sheep but they also commonly make sate from chicken, beef, and duck meat.

Lontong with sate and gulai kambing.

If you are in a hurry it’s no problem for your local warung. Usually all of them have take-away so you can even eat Indonesian in the comfort of your own home.

Here are some good warungs that I have tried:

Warung Enak has delicious Indonesian food. It is located on Jalan Mataram No. 99X in Kuta. Be sure to try their ayam betutu!

If you want to have a big selection of nasi campur then be sure to check out Warung Makan Campur Campur on Jln. Batu Belig No. 108, Kerobokan Kelod. Here you can even choose what rice you want to select (like on the picture “nasi merah”).

Nasi merah campur (Mixed red rice)

Ithaka Warung is perfect for everyone. Vegetarian or meat lover, here you will have so many choices even if you want to eat healthy! You can find this warung on Jalan Batu Bolong No. 96A, Canggu. Try their mie and the fruit juices.

Another great warung is Depot Candra on Jln. Patimura 49, Legian Kuta. They have ayam mentega, ayam asam manis, nasi goreng and a lot of sea food.

So don’t be shy to try a warung. It may and probably will surprise you with its delicious Indonesian cuisine! With a little Bahasa Indonesia under your belt, it won’t be a problem to order your perfect dish. So get out there and try something new! You even get to furtherpractice your Indonesian skills at the same time!

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