Bali Food and Culture

Food

Street food options are excellent in Bali and you will find shops selling everything from fried fish to noodle soup. These street vendors are usually safe and clean to eat. The family run restaurants are a better option than touristy places as they are cheaper and the food is also authentic. Rice and seafood is the staple diet for most Balinese people but meat such as chicken and pork are also common. Most of the pathways around the beaches are filled with push cart vendors selling hot and fresh food. Vegetarianism is quite unheard of in Bali and you might struggle if you can’t digest some form of meat or the other.

These quite a few restaurants claiming to serve authentic Balinese food have sprung up but these are nothing more than hoaxes. They are expensive and more often than not do not any serve anything close to traditional food. The best food is always found on the streets and the vendors offer authentic traditional satays and noodles. This form of street food is cheap, clean and very tasty. These ‘Kaki Lima’ vendors are found all over the place and they are easy to spot with their colorful push carts. The food will never cost more than Rp 25000 at these places.

Indonesian Food

You can also find authentic Indonesian food in Bali if you know where to look. These are also cheap and quite tasty. These Padang restaurants are found all over Bali and serve food from the Padang region of Indonesia. Typical fare would include a variety of curries served with rice and noodles. Rice is the staple in Indonesia and the curries are quite exquisite. Beef, chicken, sea food and vegetable curries are available and they are always halal. Since Indonesia is an Islamic nation, one cannot find anything related to pork.

You must try the beef cooked with coconut milk at these restaurants for sure. This is usually served with a generous helping of rice. Another popular dish is the redang beef. This is an extremely spicy curry and includes coconut as well. Some of the other dishes which you commonly find include nasi goreng, mie goreng, and nasi campur.  These are quite cheap and won’t set you back more than Rp 25000. These dishes usually sell out quickly and hence they are always fresh and healthy. A soup made from meat balls is sold by these vendors at most of the beaches. The soup is healthy and contains fresh ingredients and it is known as Bakso. They would probably cost you around Rp 5000. These vendors offer a variety of do it by yourself seasoning options and these are quite good. But they might too spicy for a western tongue and you should be careful.

Interestingly but not surprisingly, most of the American fast food joints have made their way to Bali. If you wish to travel all the way to Bali and eat American fast food then your options include Pizza Hut, McDonalds, KFC, and Star Bucks. Some of the dishes on the menu have been adapted to suit local tastes but it is advisable to stick to the local food during your stay.  Bali’s hotels and resorts are quite expensive and they are not worth the trouble either.

Drink

Most forms of alcohol are widely available in Bali and the local version of Beer is the most popular drink. Restaurants and hotels around the country serve a variety of cocktails and mocktails. Bali Moon is a popular liqueur which is locally made. A variety of tropical fruits are available in the region and these are used to make some mouthwatering cocktails and juices. You can sip one of the fruity delights and lounge by the pool during a lazy hot afternoon. The ubiquitous soda pop is available all over the place and most of the renowned foreign brands can be purchased from the stores.

Culture

Balinese culture is distinct from that of its neighbors largely due to the fact that Hinduism and not Islam is the main religion. The traditions and beliefs are also different from that of mainstream Hinduism. The country is known for its colorful celebrations and festivals which take place throughout the year. The people are quite liberal and open minded and welcome all types of visitors. While the culture is basically influenced by religion, the people are generally tolerant and peaceful.

Facts and Figures

Population: 3891428 (2010)

Area: 5632 square kilometers

Weather: Tropical (Moderate)

Nearest Airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport

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