Sunday, 28 February 2016

Indonesia, Bali (Good Food)

I have some friends who told me that the food in Bali was not to their liking because they tasted bland. And then there was another group who said that it was difficult to find Muslim food so they had to end up eating bread. 

Well if you had the same experiences as my friends, I've really no idea where you had dined, because I found quite a lot of yummy Muslim eateries. And if you have the inclination to opt for extremely spicy food like my father, it's not a problem at all. In fact, some of the food in Bali would definitely make you breathe fire all the way up to the rooftop! 

So for a start, I'll recommend some of the places which I've been to.

This was my lunch in Warung Nikmat, at Kuta. It was the most enjoyable lunch I had in Bali because the food here was simply the best. I had urap (steamed vegetables with grated coconut dressing), grilled chicken, begedil (fried potato patty), and steamed rice. You really shouldn't miss this place! 

Photo credit:

Most of the patrons here were locals and the foodstall looked very unsophisticated from the exterior, but it does not mean that it did not serve good food. The stall was also clean, which makes eating here very comfortable. In fact, there were many other stalls that maintained a high level of cleanliness and so, to tell you the truth, I preferred eating at 'warung' (small eating house) like this to fancy restaurants while I was in Bali. 

Another 'warung' in Kuta, which I would recommend is Nasi Pecel Bu Tinuk. Its mixed vegetable with peanut sauce dressing was really fantastic. I remembered the first time I was here.

Behind the glass display, I pointed at the cabbage, cassava leaves, papaya leaves, and bean sprouts for my 'pecel'. Then, the stall lady served my 'pecel' with the peanut sauce. Next, I pointed at the chicken and fish satay so that I had some meat to go with my steamed rice. 

Honestly, I didn't know most of the dishes there. I just went with my instincts and pointed at the foodstuffs that I wanted to eat. And my food turned out great. Sometimes, you just need to be more adventurous than usual. And learn from experiences.

The third eatery that I went to is Kedai Ceret in Denpasar. This place is charming and unique, with kettles hanging on the ceiling and bicycles along the entrance of the stall. Let's just say the interior design was unique. Food wise, it's not as good as the other two, but it served something new which I had never tried before.

In this eatery, I chose different types of food on skewers. Then I gave those skewers to the lady to cook them. At that time, I didn't know what to expect, so I settled on one of the benches and waited for my food.

The food on skewers was sweet, because they were dipped with black ketchup before they were grilled. The food was then served with chili sauce. It was an interesting discovery but truthfully, it's not something that I would go for the second time. However, I would still recommend this place because of the fun factor in learning new dishes.

Last on my list of recommendations is Sawah Indah. Anyone going to Ubud must go to Sawah Indah! The food there was really good and I couldn't rant enough about this restaurant. This was the only restaurant that I went to and for the price I paid, it was really worth it.


If you want to try some halal bebek (duck meat), this is the restaurant to go to. Right now, I'm craving for that bebek. Wooo... woo.. How I wish Ubud is just across the causeway. The bebek was finger-licking good. Besides bebek, the grilled chicken there was also not anywhere comparable with KFC. This place is a million times better. 

I wonder how long they took to marinate the meat because I could taste the spices well. And the best part is, these meat are grilled, not fried. So I felt that I could really cut down on the calories while in Bali.

There were other nice food stalls, but these are the ones which I had patronised and taken photos. Try looking at other blogs to find out more about the culinary in Bali because there are loads of them so do not worry.

That's all from me for today. Ciao.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Indonesia, Bali (Bedugul)

I've been to Bali twice, but this was the first time I went to Bedugul. What I like about Bedugul is its cool climate since it is located on the central highlands of Bali.

We started off early to go to the Kebun Raya Eka Karya (Bali Botanical Garden). We had a nice stroll in the garden although the flowers there were not as pretty as those found in Melbourne. There were actually more vast, open spaces than plants in the park.

There was also an adventure park within the garden but we didn't go for it. A number of families were seen having a nice picnic near the park, but that's about it.

I went to Candi Kuning market after that. It was around 11 am but the market was quite quiet. It came to me as a surprise because markets were usually the busiest and the most chaotic place you would want to go to. Later on, I learnt that there was an election going on where people had to poll for the right governor to represent their district. Well, this explained why there were not many locals at the market at that time.

There were quite a number of stalls selling all sorts of crackers. I could name a few; there's tapioca, spinach, soybeans and potato crackers in the photo. 

After walking around, we ended up eating in this stall located at the market. I thought eating where the locals ate would be a great experience. Furthermore, I wanted to eat satay! Satay is one of my favourite food and it is basically small chunks of meat barbecued on a skewer.

This was the satay which I had ordered. I found that the satay in Indonesia was a bit different from Singapore because it was served not only with peanut sauce, but with black soya sauce as well. And this was rabbit meat, something which I had not eaten before.

Besides satay, we ordered fried noodles, which turned out to be Maggi noodles, and chicken bakso with rice cakes. Overall, the meal here was tasty, and now I know what the local Muslims here eat.

After eating, I visited the most beautiful mosque I had ever been to. It has a Persian blue dome and the dome seemed to be calling us right into its courtyard. We took our time praying in the mosque for awhile. 

This mosque is also perched on a small hill overlooking Lake Bratan, so the view up here is really spectacular. 

I could spend hours after hours standing here, looking at the lake while feeling the soft wind on my face. I felt refreshed after having some icy cold water splashed on my face earlier on. And being in the house of worship also brought along the feeling of calmness and tranquility in me. All these made me felt very fortunate to be in this world.

This was the entrance of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, the well- known temple on the southern shore of Lake Bratan. Most of the iconic images of Bali are of this temple so seeing it first hand was really exciting.

The temple had a very nice garden, with many trees of different shapes along the pathways.

This was one of the temples in the compound and here's Pura Ulun Danu.

Not as nice as those postcard photos, but I've been here. Yeay!! On this note, I'll end my post here. Ciao!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Indonesia, Bali (Kusamba Salt Mining)

Out of all the places I had been in Bali, I think the natural salt mining farm was the most interesting visit in my itinerary. The place was well-maintained, and it was unexpectedly impressive. I'm glad that I had included this in the trip, along with other places that even my driver had not been to. In fact, I felt like he had discovered a lot of things from this trip. 

It was quite ironical, considering that he is living in Bali, but he has not explored much of Bali. Well, thanks to my sense of adventure and also the power of the Internet, which enabled me to do all the research that I wanted to do prior to the trip!

The first thing that I noticed about Kusamba beach is its black sand. I wanted to go barefooted at first but I had to abandon the idea right away. Walking on hot sand was like walking on hot coals - the sand was hot!  Upon our arrival at Kusamba around noon, the lady at the farm was drying rice seeds on the beach.

I could see that the weather here was indeed favourable for salt mining, besides its close proximity to the sea. I bet it would only take 1hr to dry my washed clothes here.

And look what I've found here. These look like the place mats commonly placed on the dining table. They were left to dry too before they were to be sold in the market.

The lady, who seemed to be the only one around, brought us to the area where she mined the salt.

She said that salt water was left to dry for 2 to 3 days and the residue collected could be seen here. What amazed me the most is the salt - it is the whitest, purest salt I had ever seen. Under the sun, it seemed to be sparkling like crystals.

I circled to the small hut and saw more salt, along with containers filled with saltwater. I could not resist not buying salt from this place. The salt here looked so perfect!

After looking around, I went to the ocean to collect saltwater with this simple equipment.

It looked so easy when the lady carried the saltwater, so I decided to do the same thing. My shoulders were screaming from the weight the moment she transferred the load on me. It was so heavy! Imagine having to walk up and down across the sand to get to the hut. I wondered how the lady could do it. Despite her small frame, her shoulders were really tough and steady. It was quite embarrassing actually for me because I didn't last even 2 minutes.

The lady spilled some of the saltwater so it wouldn't be too heavy for me to carry.

This trip was educational and I loved discovering new things. Although my parents were quite puzzled as to why I would want to go to this place, it seemed that they too had enjoyed themselves by the time we set off to another place in my itinerary. Yahoo... I was glad that they had learnt something too.

Well, that's all I have this time. Until then, ciao.