The island is special in a lot of ways and here is what to expect when it comes to Bali rice fields and food. I don’t usually write about food when traveling, but the Balinese colorful markets, such variety of fruit and spices, along with a few unusual meals I had on the island, came to be truly memorable.
Just imagine – a rainy day, beautiful Bali rice fields inland, the road curving up into the hills… But wait, let me tell you about the “touristy” part first.
Variety of Cuisines
Like in any other place on earth where tourists flock from all around the world, you will find a variety of international cuisines. Sure, you can grab some fast food in the capital of Denpasar, but then again – you can have that anywhere else in the world. Why not immerse in the culture you came to visit instead?
There are few touristy spots on the island, meaning they are usually crowded, huge in dimension to have room for all the guests, with mixed dishes in case you would rather stick to the familiar food, and more expensive than small local places. Nevertheless, bear in mind that this still comes cheap to people from the West. So, don’t try to save on your food, there’s no reason for that in Bali, and do go to those touristy places. Why? Well, because it would just be a pity to miss the views.
You probably heard about Mount Agung in the past few years. It’s the Bali volcano that erupted in August 2017 and, even though no life-threatening eruption has occurred since smaller ones have kept people on edge. The threat level has been raised a few times and so, locals were evacuated and brought back. It also had an impact on tourism. After all, the Mt. Agung volcano erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,100 people.
And here is why I am speaking about the volcano when talking about food. Mt. Agung dominates the landscape of Bali and it provides a breathtaking view from afar. And so, the Balinese have opened the restaurant with the view. Not just any view, but the view of the volcano!
It’s not morbid as it might sound, because the landscape is gorgeous whether you know it’s the volcano or not. There is a long terrace placed on the high hill overlooking the green valley, Mt. Agung peak in the distance, and a few clouds in the sky. The landscape is just too beautiful to miss if you are on the island.
You will have a range of dishes to choose from at the buffet. I had my lunch here while taking a break while visiting this part of the island. I spent a few hours at the Mother Temple on the Mt. Agung slopes and this was a perfect place to refresh, have a meal, coffee, and some fruit – with the mesmerizing view.
One more touristy, but not to be missed place is the seafood restaurant I have already mentioned in one of the previous posts. I was trying to eat my first crab at the beach table while the guide teased me that we might be washed away by the high tide by the time I finish my dish, remember?
Bali Rice Fields
When you come here, you will most certainly see the Bali rice fields. They are not hard to find. The moment you start driving inland, you will come across green hills with layers that resemble huge steps. Local guides will know where to take you for the best views and photos.
That day, I was going around the town of Ubud and wanted to have a lunch break at some local place, far from the crowds. It was raining again and we were driving up the hill. People were walking up the road carrying goods on their heads and a banana leaf or sometimes – the actual umbrella in their hands. A lovely valley was opening before my eyes on the left and a small house with a terrace emerged up on the hill. It was the restaurant, in the perfect location.
Even though it was raining, it didn’t diminish the impression of overlooking the Bali rice field valley. The place was empty. A few tables out on the terrace were waiting for visitors. It was humid but warm, and we set outside to have lunch. I ordered a few local dishes to try and while I really enjoyed some, I was blown away by the black rice pudding. I have never tried one before. The dessert was made out of black rice, of course, and coconut milk, garnished with fresh fruit. I loved it! After this lunch, I just kept ordering the same dessert until the end of my stay in Bali.
And that’s not all! When I visited the local market, the first thing I bought was – black rice. I just had to try and make the pudding at home. (And let me tell you, it was almost as tasty as in Bali.)
The local market is also a must-see. So many spices, fruits, and vegetables that I didn’t even recognize. The advice is to bring cash and to be prepared for bargaining and haggling.
I was amazed by the variety of colors and shapes. (Just look at these photos!) And isn’t it just great that you can find some tropical fruit you didn’t even know existed, you can try something for the first time and admire the taste. This was such a treat!
You probably heard about the famous durian fruit. Well, all of it is true. It looks interesting with the green bark full of vertical splits. After you taste so many tropical fruits you expect the same full, creamy, sweet, crisp taste, but this one is more than a surprise. The durian fruit doesn’t taste that bad and they say that it’s extremely healthy, but the smell is just horrible! If you can pass the smell, you won’t be disappointed by the taste itself. That’s a big “if”, believe me. It smells so bad that you will come across signs in public transport that people who had durian recently – were not allowed in.
But then again, this is a unique opportunity to try one and live to tell the tale.
The full Bali SERIES