Friday, November 18, 2011

Bali: Feasting on Indonesian cuisine

On our first night in Bali, we popped by Echo Beach for a bite and drinks.

Bali is known for it's fresh and affordable seafood. We selected the items we wanted, and the chef grilled it up for us.

If you are unlucky, you may stumbled upon pricey and mediocre restaurants in Bali. So for the next couple nights, we decided to stay in for dinner. We had two housekeepers at the villa who cooked up a feast for us. I found their food to be way better than what we would get at a restaurant.

Soto Ayam is Indonesian chicken soup. There was shredded chicken meat, vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, boiled eggs in a spicy chicken broth. I really enjoyed this dish. The broth had very developed flavors, like chicken had been stewing in it for many hours.

Chicken and pork satay were marinated well and juicy. The BBQed meat sticks were served with sliced cucumbers and a spicy peanut sauce.

Gado Gado is an Indonesian salad topped with peanut sauce. There are different versions of gado gado, some with a lot of raw vegetables and fruits, but this version had boiled potatoes, beans, hard boiled eggs and deep fried tofu.

Kang Kong with chili and dried shrimp was spicy to the limit.

Mee Goreng translates to fried noodles. Usually, mee goreng is loaded up with meats when it is served as a main course. This version was simply mixed with vegetables since it was served as a side to be eaten with the curry dishes. The dish was spicy, leaving my mouth was on fire. The great thing about homecooked food is that they can be made to your specification i.e. load up on the heat.

Suckling pig is a traditional Balianese dish that I had been looking forward to. The crispy skin was my favorite part, even though the shredded pork was also tasty. The skin crackled in my mouth and had a thin layer of fat underneath it. I would have been ecstatic with just a whole plate of skin.

The next night, we sampled some more local dishes.

Tom Yum seafood was loaded with shrimp, squid, mushrooms and vegetables. A nice combination of spice and tang.

Wasn't exactly sure what this was called but it was intriguing and very delicious. It was a sort of stir fry with shredded chicken, okra and dried shrimp, young jackfruit and fried shallots. I loved all the textures in this dish, and it was very flavorful.

Chicken curry was spicy with succulent pieces of chicken and potatoes. The curry was fragrant with lemongrass and turmeric undertones.

Sayur Lodeh is a vegetable dish that is cooked in coconut curry. It's usually a more watery curry that is not too spicy. I enjoyed the variety of vegetables and how they were all cooked till soft.

Whole fish was simply seasoned and grilled.

And for dessert, the king of fruits - durian.

Love the creamy and pungent flesh of the durian. I like durian both at room and fridge temperature, but if you are weird about textures, pop it in the fridge first. The flesh will harden a bit, which may be more palatable than the custardy texture when it's lukewarm .

I typically prefer to eat out when I am on vacation, but if you have two amazing local cooks in the house, you'll find a more authentic meal at home. Wouldn't have had it any other way.

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