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Jul 15, 2014

Bali Travelogue: In Quest of the Best Babi Guling (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

If you have not tried Babi Guling in Bali, you haven't been there after all.
Being my virgin visit to the land of most Indonesian's Hindu minority, I have made up my mind to try as many Babi Guling as possible, in the quest of the best!

While Babi Guling might sounds new to us Malaysian, it is similar to our roasted suckling pig.
But what makes Babi Guling unique is the lawar (a mixture of vegetables, coconut, minced meat, mixed with rich herbs and spices).

Ibu Oka and Pak Malen are the two famous Babi Guling you would come across on the internet.
However, staying in Seminyak meant limited access to Ibu Oka (30km away from Pak Malen).
On a bright side, we now had easy access to Pak Malen and Warung Jambul!

After trying 3 different Babi Gulings, here are my personal ranking:
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#1 Babi Guling & Ayam Betutu @ Warung Jambul Babi Guling, Jln Plawa

Tucked along a small road nearby Bintang Supermarket (~15-min walk), we stumbled across this hidden gem as we nervously looked for breakfast options.
Small establishment with comfortable space to accommodate 10 pax; it was empty on Monday 9am.
We ordered two standard portions of Babi Guling and waited anxiously for it.

The portion was ~25% smaller than Pak Malen's but hey, it was Rp15,000 each (excluding Ayam Betutu)!
My nose strongly approved the aroma and I must say I was excited to dug into this unassuming pile of Babi Guling.

I did my very best to get small chunks and bits of every dish into my spoon and took it all in.
Every single element was perfectly complemented, be it the taste or texture; the crunchiness of pork cracker against the tenderly loving pork satay, the heavily spiced meat and gravy against the sour and mild spicy lawar.

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#1 Pork Soup @ Warung Jambul Babi Guling, Jln Plawa

Their ayam betutu is worth trying too.
Similar to the spices used for Babi Guling, it did share similar flavor and aroma; its tenderness was not something I would complain about.

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#2 Babi Guling @ Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus, Jln Raya Canggu

Exactly 1 hour 30 min after we had Warung Jambul's Babi Guling for breakfast, our driver brought us to another warung for more Babi Guling in Badung (~15min drive from Warung Jambul Babi Guling).
Portion wise, Men Agus' was more generous than Warung Jambul's, with the price tag of ~Rp25,000 per portion.

Comparing to Warung Jambul's, Men Agus' version was second best.
Both warungs' lawar and pork satays were really good; while I would like my pork skin to be crispier, both couldn't deliver the ideal texture.
Why Men Agus' only deserves second in place?
Simple, I don't like pork innards.

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#3 Babi Guling @ Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen, Jln Sunset Rd 5

Although Babi Guling Pak Malen was the first meal I had in Bali, it did not share the same appeal as Warung Jambul's.
Portion was pretty generous at the price tag of ~Rp28,000 (not to mention lots of innards too!)
For a non innards lover like me, it is not hard to see why Pak Malen's Babi Guling is ranked #3.
Innards aside, the lawar was not compelling good; pork satay and pig skin was pretty similar to other two.

IN SUMMARY, my personal Babi Guling ranking (from highly recommended to least recommended) based on following criteria are:

  • Value for money
    • Warung Jambul
    • Men Agus
    • Pak Malen
  • Flavor & texture (for non innard lovers)
    • Warung Jambul
    • Men Agus
    • Pak Malen
  • Accessibility (for those who stay in Seminyak)
    • Warung Jambul / Pak Malen
    • Warung Jambul / Pak Malen
    • Men Agus

All the best in finding your perfect plate of Babi Guling in Bali :)

Feb 7, 2014

Pangkor Travelogue: All Touristy (Day 2-14 Oct 2012)

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Morning view from beach

Rise and shine! It was a tough one, if you were to crawl into bed around 3-4am and sleep less than 6 hours. I reckoned it would be wise to get up, eat, pack and nap (if at all possible). Along my solitary beach walk to breakfast venue, breeze and sounds of waves welcomed me with much enthusiasm. A bliss nonetheless.

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Real bird

This tiny bird stood so still that I thought it was lifeless. On and off, it flew away and came back while I scooped into my rather mediocre breakfast. I seated on the same table with my Toastmaster queen mother, Grace. She asked, "Hitomi, are you going to the town trip later?". I hesitated for few seconds and muttered, "What time are they heading out?"

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Heading into Pangkor Town

I rushed back to my room to do some packing and grabbed my camera before hopping on to this pinkish van an hour later. It was a sunny day but bearable. No harm embracing the sun while I was on vacation.

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Bushes

Bushes after bushes, curves after curves, I had no clue how long would it take but little did I care as I stared into the distant. About 15 minutes or so, we turned into small alleys with houses stacking close to each other. I knew we were almost there.

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View from Hai Seng Hing, satay fish factory

Our first stop was Hai Seng Hing, one of the satay fish factories in Pangkor Island. The smell and scenes of fishing villages, no doubt. My skin prompted an escape into the shelter and there I went into the air conditioned store to check out what were the goods on sale. Grabbed a few, of course!

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Entrance of Fu Lin Kong Chinese Temple (福臨宫)

Our second stop was this Fu Lin Kong Chinese Temple. It was quite a busy day with plenty of walk-ins.

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The beautiful architecture of Fu Lin Kong Chinese Temple

Architecture has its own way of telling story and this was a glorious one. Even non-Chinese were paying this temple a visit too.

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A random Malay girl

Handful of pink vans parked outside the temples and I caught a glimpse of this young Malay girl busy chewing her snacks in the van.

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Ice Kacang - Chill to the spine

Right at the left side of temple's entrance, you could spot a small snack shop, which also sell ice kacang. Tell me, who could resist having one in this hot and sunny day? It was really huge and they were generous with condiments and toppings. I was stuffing myself until the last drop of this as the rest was hushed to the next destination.

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Kota Belanda (Dutch Fort)

Our third stop was no other than this beautiful fort, almost alien-like. Motives could be seen on the ground from far. From the look of it, it could be recently refurbished.

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View from the top of Dutch Fort

It was almost a sin for not indulge in this view from Dutch Fort. All you need to do is to take a few steps up.

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Reminded me of Malacca

Fort, being fort, it reminded me of Malacca. Stacked bricks with holes for windows and seemingly little enclosure for hiding/prisoning purposes.

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A quaint town

Last but not least, a detour to the town and grab some dried seafood goods. Traffic was minimal with some motorbikes and town men.

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Bye, Pangkor Island!

This quaint town of Pangkor Island, I wish I could stay a little longer.

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