Eat, Pay, Shove, pt. 2 – Bali

Vacation in Bali was not for the food, but for the natural and cultural beauty that is quite singular.  Lush, verdant jungle meets manicured rice terrace meets adorned Hindu aesthetics, it is stunning.  The food is not.  I mostly found Balinese/Indonesian food to be muddy in flavors, and in Ubud, where we stayed, compromising to cater to foreign palettes.  A few places stood out:

-Ibu Oka – known for its suckling pig and rice, this locally reknown place is a swarm of Asian tourists.  An extra treat is a plate of crispy pig skin on the side.

-Naughty Nuri’s – another popular destination that has earned its place in the guide books, rightfully so.  Very good, although at times inconsistent ribs; mighty cocktails; and a fantastic nasi goreng (fried rice).

-Nasi Ayam Kedewatan – a very local chicken and rice place, no tourists to speak of, set in a large, high thatched pavillion.  Clean, bright flavors for only $2 a plate.

I also loved the black rice porridge with coconut cream that I had almost every day for breakfast, and sometimes dessert.  Balinese kopi made with roasted brown rice was also a special morning treat.

The fun of going away also lies in what to bring back, to savor and remember, to elongate the trip.  The best:

a jar of Killiney Kopitiam’s coconut jam.  If only I could recreate those eggs, my breakfast would be complete!  The worst:

durian caramels.  I don’t really like durian, but I love caramels, so maybe it would be the best of both worlds?  Instead, the hard caramel sits in my mouth to soften releasing its rot flavor, before I can chew it to release its milky sweetness.  Horrible, it’s like something died in my mouth.  This is how to punish small children and break them of their sweet tooth.  How can paradise be so cruel?

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