When imagining the Indonesian island of Bali, the thought provokes images of dreamy beaches, iconic rice paddies and tropical rain forests overlooked by ancient volcanic mountains. And you’d be right to imagine such a place; that is Bali in a nutshell.
As Bali continues to progress, so does it’s culinary scene. Now the paradise island combines incredible views with even better grub, from the traditional street food to the insta-famous smoothie bowls.
During our three week exploration of Indonesia we tried an array of Indonesian specialties. The food (and drink) is ridiculously cheap so get ready to treat yourself for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Not sure which spots to try? Here’s a list to make your Indonesian escape as relaxing as possible:
• Waroeng Bernadette – Ubud
If you love Beef Rendang then this is the spot for you as some might say it’s the best you’ll try in Indonesia.
Situated on Jl Gootama in the centre of Ubud, this cool little street is peppered with many small, funky yet traditional restaurants and Waroeng Bernadette is one of them. Sharing the space with Toko Madu, a craft shop, the restaurant is full of interesting ornaments and furniture which creates a really lovely, homely atmosphere. Sit yourself down, grab a beer or a ginger lemonade (it’s amazing!) and enjoy the Indonesian hospitality Bernadette and her team has to offer.
•Waroeng Biah Biah – Ubud
We’ve not gone far, this little waroeng is just down the road from Bernadette’s but offers a completely different selection of Indonesian food…at even cheaper prices!
Expect to queue if you’re coming for dinner, this little spot is always heaving with backpackers, holiday makers and even a few locals. The best thing about this spot is they offer such a vast selection of Indonesian dishes in tapas form, so you can try a bit of everything! We shared all the tapas available on the menu, two main dishes washed down with a large Bintang followed by two coffees and a slice of marble cake and it came to the grad total of £10.34…incredible.
• Malibu Beach – Gili T
Perhaps not the most traditional of surroundings, but I had the best Nasi Goreng I’ve ever had at this colourful beach club.
With perfect white sand underfoot, sipping fresh watermelon juice and chowing down on a Nasi Goreng never felt so good. The beach club boasts one of the many infamous Gili swings and an awesome playlist…a little eclectic but trust me, you’ll know every song! Situated on the West side of the island, it’s a great spot to experience the spectacular Gili T sunset.
Now we get really traditional – the Gili T Night Market full of street vendors serving up some really tasty grub. A great meal will set you back a mere £1.50. From fresh seafood and sate to traditional Tempe or tofu options; there is something for everyone.
It’s a great opportunity to soak in the culture as well as chat with other travelers on the communal tables whilst sipping a cold Bintang for half the price (as if it wasn’t cheap enough!)
• Crate Café – Cangguu
Yes, you guessed it. This little breakfast spot is in a crate and every inch an industrial interior designers Pinterest board dream. Expect to find this café completely full, and you may have to share your table with other holiday makers but the delicious breakfast options served up make it totally worth it.
Don’t miss the house-blended coffee, the acai bowls and the multiple egg dishes. The smoothies are pretty amazing too! Perfect, tasty treat to cleanse the body after a heavy one.
• Coffee Cartel – Seminyak
Situated in the Potato Head region of Seminyak, this café oozes Instagrammable sophistication and I loved it. I’m talking pink lattes, delicious smoothies and even better smoothie bowls. Every meal is full of goodness and it’s even tastier than you’d expect. With an array of options, there’s something there for everyone. The menu changes frequently, so no two visits are the same.
• Clear Café – Ubud
This is the dreamiest spot in Bali. We ate here four times, and we’re not the types to go back to a restaurant when travelling but the food was SO good!
The café has an unbelievably calming atmosphere. Shoes are taken off before being shown to a table, either sitting on pillows on the floor or at normal tables. All that is served here is good for your health, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tasty – it’s seriously delicious!
Drinks wise, try an elixir for ultimate cleansing or kombucha (a drink I am now obsessed with) which is an ancient recipe of fermented tea that does wonders for your digestive system. In terms of food, the Sunshine Tuna is beautiful and the black hummus is a taste sensation. I could go on for hours but I won’t, so basically if you’re in Ubud please eat here.
• Scallywags – Gili T
Sometimes we’ve all got to treat ourselves and a meal at Scallywags is a definite treat. A little pricer than most in Indonesia but for what you get, it’s great value – just might be one to avoid if you’re travelling on a tight budget.
Situated by the sea, you dine listening to the sound of the ocean. Tables are beautifully made with white table cloths and candle light (fancy, huh!?) and the fish is freshly barbecued after you’ve chosen your fish of choice which has been caught that morning; completely idyllic. A romantic evening that will never be forgotten.
Looking for a sweet treat? Check out Mad Pops in Seminyak. This vegan ice-cream spot has taken Instagram by storm and not only to do you get to take THE photograph in front of the neon lights (example below) the ice-cream is seriously delicious. I’d recommend the peanut butter and banana flavour to anyone.