Dec 29, 2014

Bali Travelogue: Local Food Hunting (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

It has been 8 posts so far under Bali Travelogue. Amazing I am at the many places we have been, and many local delicacies we tried in mere 5-day trip. As much as I would like to wrap up this travelogue, it seems that 2-3 more posts are warranted. For those who are into local food hunting like me, this post will give you a little more colour on the following eateries I have visited.

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RM. Padang Minang Raya - Local Dishes on Display
RM. Padang Minang Raya is an Indonesian Restaurant recommended by our driver for a quick lunch before our visit to Pura Tirta Empul. Similar to the setup of Babi Guling Pak Malen, the restaurant has nothing more than a front counter loaded with local dishes, some tables and chairs for diners.

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Nasi Campur - Chilies, Eggplant, Fried Tofu, Tempe and Rice
All you need to do is go to the front counter, tell them what dishes you want and they will serve you. Despite my lack of liking towards chilies, this green chilies had more to offer than spiciness (spices and other condiments at work). In fact, it went really well with the rice, which was heavily doused in fish curry gravy.

Total Damage for 2 Pax = IDR 46,000 (c. RM13)

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Warung Murah - Another Indonesian Restaurant
After trying RM. Padang Minang Raya, tanner half and I went to this Indonesian restaurant named Warung Murah for more Indonesian food. So I was told that Warung Murah is good but soon I found out it was not the Warung Murah we intended to visit.

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Nasi Campur - Grilled Chicken, Satay, Serunding, Tempe and Rice
This plate of Nasi Campur costed me IDR 35,000 (c. RM10). I must say it was expensive compared to RM. Padang Minang Raya. The grilled chicken was quite good, others were not great, rice was bad (Sorry but I did not ask for wet rice, if you know what I mean)

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Lychee Soda
Besides two plates of Nasi Campur, we ordered a glass of lychee soda, which was good. Come to think of it, it is quite an easy feat no? Don't tell me you screw up your lychee soda when all you need is 100% soda and 100% lychee.

Total Damage for 2 Pax = IDR 80,000 (c. RM23)

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Warung Murah Oberoi - Ayam Betutu
I was quite upset at the quality of Nasi Campur at Warung Murah. I would like to think it was by fate that we stumbled across this Warung Murah Oberoi - Seminyak, the Warung Murah which I think is the right one. After scrutinising their menu, we decided to go with Ayam Betutu, Gado-Gado, and of course, the-must-try Avocado shake!

Delight washed over me as I devoured their ayam betutu. Something about their spices and condiments which I love so much that I can eat it over and over again.

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Tipat Tjantok / Gado-Gado
I personally think that their Tipat Tjantok or Gado-Gado was better than Made's Warung's, as the textures were more balanced (not all soggy). Avocado shake was heavenly. So creamy and rich that we finished it before we had a chance to take picture.

Total Damage for 2 Pax = IDR 80,000 (c. RM23)


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Tipat Tjantok / Gado-Gado at Petitenget Beach
Last but not least, another Tipat Tjantok or Gado-Gado for the curious us. It was not great, which I half-heartedly believed so. Sauce was strong but lacking balance, so was the textures.

Total Damage for 1 Portion = IDR 7,000 (c. RM2)

IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking based on following criteria are:

  • Ambiance
    • RM. Padang Minang Raya - 2 out of 5 
    • Warung Murah - 3 out of 5 (better ventilation but humid nonetheless)
    • Warung Murah Oberoi - 3 out of 5 (spacious and with high ceiling)
    • Petitenget Beach - 1 out of 5 (Gado-Gado is served from a mobile stall, dine standing or sitting on a bench with rugged tree trunk table)
  • Price
    • RM. Padang Minang Raya - 4 out of 5 
    • Warung Murah - 2 out of 5 
    • Warung Murah Oberoi - 4 out of 5 
    • Petitenget Beach - 5 out of 5 (cheapest of all)
  • Food
    • RM. Padang Minang Raya - 4 out of 5 
    • Warung Murah - 2 out of 5
    • Warung Murah Oberoi - 4 out of 5
    • Petitenget Beach - 1 out of 5
  • Verdict
    • RM. Padang Minang Raya - Recommended for budget eats 
    • Warung Murah - Spend your money elsewhere please!
    • Warung Murah Oberoi - I would go again if I am in Seminyak
    • Petitenget Beach - I wouldn't give it another try if possible

DINING INFO:
RM. Padang Minang Raya
Indonesian Restaurant, Fast Food Restaurant, and Asian Restaurant
Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai No.98 (Simpang Siur), Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Operation Hours: 10am - 10pm
Tel: +62 361 762415

Warung Murah
Indonesian Restaurant
Jl Petitenget (Depan panterai), Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Operation Hours: N/A
Tel: N/A

Warung Murah Oberoi - Seminyak
Indonesian Restaurant
Jl.Kayu Aya Seminyak, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Operation: 8am - 11pm
Tel: N/A

Dec 21, 2014

Bali Travelogue: Naughty Nuri vs Iiga Warung (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

Being the land of majority Hindu, it is not hard to find some porky goodness in Bali. Naughty Nuri is one of the must have in Bali; Iiga Warung is another unexpected find recommended by our hired driver on our way back from Jimbaran to Seminyak.

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Juicy Pork Ribs in the Making
Located right in front of the Iiga Warung's main entrance was this grill section where staff was busy grilling ribs. Pleased we were at the sight of chunky pork ribs coated generously in sauce and we made up our mind, "Let's eat all the pork ribs!"

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Pork Ribs Served in Western Style
Now that we had made up our mind, it was not a tough choice to filter through the limited pork rib mains on the menu. We landed with pork ribs with slight variations of sides.

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Pork Ribs and Nasi Goreng 
Being our first pork ribs in Bali, we did not expect a random find would serve such good ribs. So tender was the meat that it literally fell off the bone with a little nudge. Albeit a little skinny (than what we saw at the grill), it was packed with flavours. I personally like the pork ribs with Nasi Goreng as it provided different texture and flavours (spices mainly).

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Avocado Milkshake & Bintang Beer
So the next question is how about Naughty Nuri? I am pretty sure you have heard pretty good comments and I must say they are quite good too.

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Big Chunks of Pork Ribs 
Albeit at a higher price tag, I liked the boldness and intensity of flavour, which fared better than Iiga Warung's. We had gotten a bigger chunks of pork ribs with more meat to devour, which could be by chance/luck. However, the chunkiness was also the downside as it presented slight difficulty in tearing it off the bones.

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Sweet Potatoes Chips
Here at Naughty Nuri, no side dishes come free with order of pork ribs. Since we were paying for it, we opted for healthier version of potato chips. Did it go well with pork ribs? Maybe not, I would go for some Nasi Goreng (if any).

IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance 
    • Naughty Nuri - 3 out of 5 (well decorated, as expected of a famous pork rib joint but too packed and noisy)
    • Iiga Warung - 3 out of 5 (simple establishment with minimum dress up and quiet but mosquitoes were quite a bitch)
  • Price
    • Iiga Warung - 4 out of 5 
    • Naughty Nuri - 3 out of 5 (famous = higher price tag)
  • Food
    • Iiga Warung - 4 out of 5 (personally I prefer smaller ribs and side dishes that better complement, P/S you will get quite bored with the pork ribs after few bones)
    • Naughty Nuri - 3.5/5 
  • Verdict 
    • Iiga Warung - Would surely visit if it is not too far from my reach
    • Naughty Nuri - Do expect crowds and lots of noise, would surely visit again for other pork rib mains at odd hours (if possible)

DINING INFO:
Iiga Warung 
BBQ Joint
Jln Uluwatu II, Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia
Operation Hours: 11.30am - 11.00pm
Tel: +62 8133 826 2009

Naughty Nuri's Warung
BBQ Joint, Steakhouse, and Restaurant
Jalan Batubelig No. 41, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Operation Hours: 11.00am - 10.30pm (Daily)
Tel: +62 0361 847 6722

Nov 25, 2014

Bali Travelogue: Made's Warung (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

Made's Warung is surely a name you would come across in search of some good local food. In fact, it was highly recommended by Lady Iron Chef for local Indonesian cuisine.

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Side Entrance to Made's Warung

Located in the heart of Seminyak (and 700m away from our stay), there was no excuse, at least for me, to pay a visit to this famous establishment. In fact, we accidentally found it while heading for some babi guling at Pak Malen's.

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Back Entrance to Made's Warung

Housed in the centre of a huge mansion, Made's Warung is an open concept restaurant, flanked by garden and rows of retail shops. I must say it is an interesting dining concept, at least it is something I did not expect.

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Bintang Draft for Him

It was not a hard task getting a table for two at 8pm on a Saturday. In fact, we secured one of the best tables right at the front of stage where beautiful Jazz was sang.  Best of all, over a pint of icy cold draft beer. Nothing can beat the freshness of this Bintang draft.

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Brem Bali for Me

As one simply can't go wrong with local produce, I decided to be adventurous. Made of rice wine, this Brem Bali was packed with complexity of flavor despite being at the strong side (no, I don't measure by % of alcohol in a bottle).

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Bebek Betutu

Serving both local Indonesian and international cuisine, I can see why Made's Warung has gained quite a fame. However, we made it a point to try all local food we can. Hence, this Bebek Betutu. I am totally into this highly seasoned and spiced dish called Betutu. The tenderness of bebek, dancing and twirling in the swirl of spices; so flavorful, so complex, so beautiful yet not overwhelming.

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Tipat Tjantok / Gado-Gado

This Tipat Tjantok or Gado-Gado was pale in comparison. The sweetness of peanut sauce, the softness of potatoes, were pared down by the lack of peanut chunks, overly soaked bean sprouts and slightly soggy peanuts; it was simply not the contrast I was looking for.

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Pork Satay

Pork satay, on the other hand, was nice though not great. From the chunky look of it, you can tell it would be the meaty one but luckily it wasn't dry.

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Fried Banana Ice Cream

Fried banana ice cream was not mind blowing either. Despite my excitement over the idea of banana fritters and vanilla ice cream, it was soon drowned by the almost cold fried banana. Imagine that crispiness and tongue scotching moment as you bite through the banana before devouring the sweetness of ripe bananas, it was nothing like that.

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Night Peeps!

IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking based on following criteria are:

Ambiance - 4 out of 5 (Good place for some icy cold beer over some jazz)
Price - 3 out of 5 (Slightly pricy for the quality of food served)
Food - 3 out of 5 (If you have to go, try Bebek Betutu!)
Verdict - That kind of jazzy night where you get to have some decent (but not great) local food and fresh draft/alcohol

DINING INFO
Made's Warung Seminyak
Br. Seminyak, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Operation Hours: 10am - 12am
Tel: +62 361 732130

Oct 11, 2014

Bali Travelogue: Must Try Lello Lello Gelato (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

Of all the delicacies you can reasonably expect from the land of Bali, gelato was something beyond my expectation. In fact, Lello Lello Gelato came across my research radar as one of the recommended places for some icy cold creamy goodness.

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Interior of Lello Lello Gelato

It was a drizzly yet humid afternoon on the very first day in Bali. After some Babi Guling at Pak Malen's Babi Guling for late lunch, my tanner half and I decided some form of dessert was warranted and Lello Lello Gelato sounded smacking rightly perfecto!

Walk we shall!

Step by step, we embarked on a 1.7km walk from Pak Malen's Babi Guling. It took us about half an hour before we finally caught sight of the humble settlement of Lello Lello Gelato. Drenched in sweat, I was quite devastated that it does not have air conditioned section.

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Enjoying my gelato while drenched in sweat

Nonetheless, greedy us sampled every single interesting flavour available, ordered our 6-flavour degustation platter, and quietly sat down under the most windy section we could find while waiting for our gelato to be delivered.

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Degustation Platter for Rp 90,000

What made up of our 6-flavour degustation platter (from most front to furthest in picture) were chocolate chilli, coconut, calamansi, vanilla bean, tangerine mint and coconut. My personal favourite (and recommendation, of course!) flavours are salted caramel, chocolate chilli and coconut. Not only Lello Lello Gelato does their flavours right, the milky creamy texture was consistent across all their flavours.

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Self Proclaimed Grumpy-Wet-Towel-Holder-King

Bonus point, they do provide wet towel, freshly rolled and placed in a handmade holder, for you to refresh yourself after devouring their gelato! The cheeky tanner half gracefully placed the holder onto his head and claimed himself the Wet-Towel-Holder-King.

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Rum Balls!

Did I tell you that I actually went back Lello Lello Gelato again on the second last day in Bali? This time, we tried rumb ball and repeated salted caramel and coconut. Rumb ball is one of the recommended flavours by Lello Lello Gelato but I found it too strong to go on its own. So you might want to consider mixing it up with salted caramel and/or coconut.

Below is the quoted philosophy of Lello Lello Gelato:
Lello Lello is dedicated to creating the highest quality gelati and sorbets. Exquisite frozen delicacies prepared entirely by hand, naturally made from scratch in our own kitchen. 
Our Gelato Master will select only the freshest and finest of local and imported ingredients. We poach, puree and roast only the freshest of fruits at their peak of sweetness. The result: healthy, intense fruit tastes and aromas. Our nuts are stone ground in store to give you the subtle authenticity of natural flavours. Our sorbet is made with pure hydrated spring water. No pre mixes, no flavour enhancers, no weird flavourings and additives. 
Our menu changes seasonally, in fact, it changes daily. Everyday of the week, Lello Lello will present a different flavour to enjoy, using traditional or new, inventive recipes. 
What are you flavouring today? 

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Self Proclaimed Wet-Towel-Holder-Queen

IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking based on following criteria are:

  • Ambiance - 3.5 out of 5 (It can really get very humid there!)
  • Price - 5 out of 5 (c. RM25 for 6 scoops of awesome gelato)
  • Food - 5 out of 5 (They have so much flavours that I had to spend few minutes sampling all and made a tough decision)
  • Verdict - Gimme my Lello Lello Gelato now!


DINING INFO:
Lello Lello Gelato
21 Jalan Kayu Aya,
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Reference: Opposite The Samaya Bali
Opening Hours: 8am - 11pm
FB: https://www.facebook.com/LelloLelloGelato

Oct 1, 2014

Bali Travelogue: Visiting Bajra Sandhi Monument (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

Every country has their own story; Bali has theirs too. In memorial of struggle of Balinese people in the past, Bajra Sandhi Monument is constructed in the largest city of Bali, i.e. Denpasar.

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In memorial of the struggle of Balinese people
Located about 20km away from Tanah Lot, the journey to Bajra Sandhi Monument was terribly clogged on a Monday afternoon. We logged in a total of an hour plus for an usual 30-minute drive. It was tiring, despite not having to drive and better still, a chance to take a nap in between.

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The magnificent view of Bajra Sandhi Monument
But it was worth it. Nothing could beat this magnificent view of Bajra Sandhi Monument laid in front of our eyes.

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Well kept Madya Mandala of Bajra Sandhi Monument

Bajra Sandhi Monument applies the Tri Mandala concept; the magnificent candi bentar (split gate) marks the separation of Nista Mandala (outer courtyard) and Madya Mandala (courtyard that surrounds Utama Mandala (main building of the monument)).

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Utama Mandala consists of 3 floors:
  • Nistaning Utama Mandala - ground floor of the building, housing the information room, Librarianship room, exhibit room, conference room, administrative room, and restrooms, all arranged in a huge circle surrounding a lake in the middle of the room named Puser Tasik 
  • Madyaning Utama Mandala - second floor of the building, housing 33 units of dioramas, depicting Balinese people's struggle from the beginning of the Balinese kingdom, the entrance of Hinduism, Majapahit era, Netherlands colonialism, struggle of independence, until the present
  • Utamaning Utama Mandala - third floor of the building, reachable by passing a long flight of stairs; a place of tranquility, a place of silence and enjoying the view around the monument (panorama of Denpasar too)

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A visit to Bajra Sandhi Monument was a different experience altogether.
  • It was soothing to see the well maintained green landscape surrounding the old buildings - it felt like a walk in a beautiful garden in a castle
  • Little did I expect to see a lake in the middle of the building - the sound of water flow was zen-like
  • Interesting stories told with dioramas - so intricately done that it awed me and kept me lingering
  • Spiralling staircase leading to third floor - a little sad that I did not head up to have a peek at what it was overlooking 
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Cheeky Jembawan - one of the many stone statues in Madya Mandala
IN SUMMARY, my personal ranking based on following criteria are:

Ambiance - 4 out of 5 (-1 because creepiness at certain area due to lack of lighting)
Price - 5 out of 5 (Rp 10,000 or c. RM3 - Cheapest attraction by far!)
Attractiveness - 5 out of 5 (Interesting landscape, architecture and dioramas)
Verdict - A beautiful museum with historical and educational value

ATTRACTION INFO:
Bajra Sandhi Monument
Jl Raya Puputan, Renon, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 08:30-16:30, Sat-Sun 09:00-16:30, Closed during Hindu holidays
Tel: +62 264 517

Sep 13, 2014

Bali Travelogue: Discovering Kopi Luwak at Sai Land Bali Organic (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

When I first heard of exoticness of Kopi Luwak few years back, I was half receptive of the idea of devouring coffee beans which have went through the digestive tract of civet. While most would likely cringe at the origin of Kopi Luwak, what really deter one from trying is the price tag.

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Visiting Kopi Luwak farm was part of my Kintamani tour itinerary. Curiosity had better of me. My tanner half and I decided to give it a try while we were at it. Hence, here we were at Sai Land Bali Organic. Coincidentally, Sai mean "shit" in Hokkien.

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As you walk into the farm, you will find yourself flanked by herbs and spices plants, visibly tagged for educational purpose. While you may expect to see coffee plants, I couldn't seem to recall any until we had arrived at the little hut.

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There sat this old lady busy frying some coffee beans while we were greeted by a younger lady, Parmi, who walked us through the process of producing Kopi Luwak. From the growing of coffee plants to attracting wild civet to feast on them, from collecting civet's shit to extracting coffee beans, from roasting coffee beans to grinding them into finer granules, all are manually done in Sai Land Bali Organic.

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On left: Bali coffee, Bali cocoa, chocolate coffee and Ginseng coffee
On right: Ginger tea and lemongrass tea

Our friendly lady host offered us tester for 6 different drinks on the menu. Judging by the lack of price tag for these testers, I reckon it is their customary practice to give you a glimpse of what they sell in store, which is effective from marketing standpoint.

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Peaberry Coffee (Male Coffee) Rp 20,000

Now that we tried what we could possibly grab from store, we decided to order what we couldn't. One of it was this Peaberry coffee. It was not too sharp, which was perfect for me. Whilst it wasn't too sharp on its own, it was stronger than Kopi Luwak.

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Kopi Luwak (Rp 50,000)

Nothing smelly or funky that I initially expected, my brain simply couldn't wrap around when my tongue proved that Kopi Luwak was very similar to coffee I have tried, except that it was smoother in taste even in the absence of milk. I must say I enjoyed my first cup of Kopi Luwak in my life.

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Once we were done with our coffee and tea tasting, we decided to grab some goodies back. Two recommended from yours sincerely are Bali cocoa powder and ginger tea, which tasted really good in thick and authentic. Hence, we bought Bali cocoa powder 200g and Bali ginger tea 100g at Rp 80,000 and Rp 50,000 respectively. If you have a thing for lemongrass tea, you could get it at Rp 50,000 each. However, if you try to replicate the same flavour you tasted in Sai Land Bali Organic, you have to be generous with your sugar.

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Besides selling packaged beverages, Sai Land Bali Organic sells spices, body lotions, massage oils etc. Some even come in a small cute packaging too! Good for those who want to grab some local produce/souvenirs.

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IN SUMMARY, my personal ranking based on following criteria are:

  • Ambiance - 5 out of 5 (Nice & chilly place, and there wasn't any mosquitoes!)
  • Price - 4 out of 5 (c. RM15 for Kopi Luwak, considerably cheap)
  • Drinks - 4 out of 5 
  • Service - 5 out of 5 (Free testers, friendly lady and umbrella service in rain, not that bad huh?)
  • Shopping - 3 out of 5 (Shop was quite old but products are homemade, hence slightly pricier than commercial produce)
  • Verdict - An educationally fun trip, recommended for family outing.

ATTRACTION INFO:
Sai Land Bali Organic Fairground
Br. Temen Penglumbaran,
Susut, Bangli,
Bali, Indonesia
Email: sailand_bali@hotmail.com
Tel: +62 85737496289 / +62 81934302602

Aug 31, 2014

Bali Travelogue: An Evening Affair at Bebek Bengil (11 - 15 Jan 2014)

Fear not my friends, this island of Bali is not all porky-ness. Besides the ever famous Babi Guling, there are few famous eats which you might just want to put in into your "To Visit" list. One of these famous eats is right here at Bebek Bengil.

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Bebek Bengil (also known as Dirty Duck Diner) claims itself to be "The Original Crispy Duck Since 1990". As much as you are curious to know how true is their claim, I can't testify much. There are two branches in Bali, one in Nusa Dua, another in Ubud which I personally visited (here).

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I personally like the closeness to nature. Surrounded with green paddy field, I must say Bebek Bengil provides better dining atmosphere than Made's Warung. While waiting for my food to arrive, I took my own sweet time strolling and admiring the well kept garden.

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Hatten Rose by glass (Rp 41,000)

If you take a closer look at the menu, you will notice that Bebek Bengil serves more than just Indonesian food. Personally, I am the type of traveller that indulges pretty much everything local. Hence a glass of Hatten Rose was perfect for this beautiful evening.

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Bebek Bengil (Rp 92,000)

Sharing the same name as the restaurant, it was a dish not to be missed. I was a little apprehensive at first. However, as you tear the duck apart, you will be overwhelmed with a sense of excitement at what it has got to offer. There was almost nothing I had to complain, be it the crispy duck skin, juicy shred of duck meat, well-marinated combo, or the condiments that served alongside. If only the skin wasn't that furry and duck wasn't that skinny clad...

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Nasi Campur Bebek (Rp 74,000)

If you are afraid to go Bebek all the way, you can order this Balinese Nasi Campur with Crispy Duck, which allows a sneak peak into their Bebek Bengil at a lower price tag. I had nothing to complain about this main and it would be a super tough choice if I were to choose between this or Bebek Bengil as both offered equal appeal. In case you find yourself potentially landed in the same situation, get a partner or two to share.

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IN SUMMARY, my personal dining ranking based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance - 4 out of 5 (if they can get rid of those mosquitoes, I would give them a full 5)
  • Price - 4 out of 5 (c. RM40 per pax for such perfect mains and alcohol, no complain!)
  • Food - 5 out of 5 (Perfecto!)
  • Verdict - Will I visit again, given a chance? You bet I am!

DINING INFO:
Bebek Bengil – Ubud
Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal, Ubud, Bali 80571 Indonesia
Tel: +62 361 975489 / 977675
Fax: +62 361 975489

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