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 and 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 :)

2 comments:

  1. I like the Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen one!! hehe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Acquired taste I guess. I dont like innards and they have loads of it.

      Delete

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