The island of Bali is not only famous about the beautiful beaches, but also the unique culture. They preserve their local culture and traditional in the entire aspects of life; arts, architectures, clothes, medical treatments, traditions, rituals, and even culinary. Today, we would talk all about Balinese traditional culinary.

Balinese local culinary is just as amazing and unique as their other cultural aspects of life. Thus, it would be such a waste to spend time in Bali without tasting their local cuisine. To help you with that, we will give you a list of traditional foods and beverages from Bali that you must try during your visit there.

1. Ayam Betutu

Ayam Betutu (Betutu Chicken) is a steamed or roasted chicken dish traditional from Bali, especially Gilimanuk. The dish is cooked using whole chicken seasoned with chili and other spices such as shallot, garlic, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and coconut oil. Besides chicken, duck can also be used for betutu dish. The name is Bebek Betutu (Betutu Duck).

A Plate of Ayam Betutu (Source: Flickr. Credit: [77]”)
A Plate of Ayam Betutu
(Source: Flickr. Credit: [77]”)
Ayam Betutu has strong savory taste and also spicy. Traditionally, this dish is served during religious events or sacred rituals. But due to its delicious taste, the dish is now commonly served in restaurants and food stands. It is pretty popular amongst tourists.

Ayam Betutu can be easily found in almost every Balinese restaurant, especially in Gilimanuk. Here are some recommended places to get this delicious dish:

  • Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk. There are 7 outlets of this restaurant spread in Denpasar, Kuta, Badung, Tabanan).The first branch is at Jalan Merdeka 88, Renon, Denpasar.
  • Warung Makan Ayam Betutu Ibu Kadekwati at Jalan Gatsu Tengah Blok D No. 46 B,
  • Warung Makan Ayam Betutu Men Tempeh “Ferry” at Jalan Raya Pelabuhan Gilimanuk.

2. Nasi Jenggo

Nasi Jenggo or Nasi Jinggo (Jinggo Rice) is a mini serving of rice with several simple side dishes wrapped in banana leaf. The side dishes are usually shredded chicken, roasted peanuts, sweet dried tempeh, shredded omelet, fried noodle, and sambal (chili paste). Due to the small portion of it, eating Nasi Jenggo will require you to take several wraps of those to fill your stomach.

A Portion of Nasi Jenggo (Source: Flickr. Credit: dewa kobi)
A Portion of Nasi Jenggo
(Source: Flickr. Credit: dewa kobi)

Nobody really knows why this humble dish is called Jenggo. Some says it was because “jenggo” means “one thousand and five hundreds” which was the price for one portion of it. Other says the name “jenggo” means the bikers who like to eat this food at night. But whatever it is, Nasi Jenggo is the most popular humble food in Bali. Recommended place to eat Nasi Jenggo:

  • Nasi Jinggo Simpangan Pak Alit & Bu Kasih at Jalan Uluwatu 109, Bukit Jimbaran.
  • Nasi Jinggo Bu Sarmi at Jalan Setiabudi, Denpasar.
  • Nasi Jinggo Diponegoro at Jalan Diponegoro


3. Sate Lilit

Sate Lilit is satay dish made from fish. Usually, they use Marlin fish or Tuna fish because it has the perfect tender texture and soft taste. Satay Lilit is made by mashing the fish meat and season it with spices such as turmeric, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and lime. This combination of spices results in a rich taste of Sate Lilit. It taste spicy, sweet, savory, and sour all at the same time.

Sate Lilit with Lemongrass Stick (Source: Flickr. Credit: Uncornered Market)
Sate Lilit with Lemongrass Stick
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Uncornered Market)

Sometimes, Sate Lilit is also available with chicken meat or pork, although those are considered rare. This tender satay is popular to be both main and side dishes. As main dish, Sate Lilit is usually served with Sambal Matah (raw sambal) to enrich the flavor. If you want to eat a delicious serving of Sate Lilit, you can try one of these places:

  • Warung Be Paseh at Jalan Pemuda III No. 24, Renon
  • Sate Lilit Ari at Jalan Tukad Pakerisan no 4 Denpasar
  • Warung Lesehan Merta Sari at Jalan Kresna, Gowa Lawah (Pesinggahan), Klungkung.


4. Lawar

Lawar is a salad-like dish made from minced meat, several kinds of vegetables, spices, and shredded coconut. There are two variants of Lawar. The variants are based on the color of the dish. Lawar Merah (Red Lawar) is colored red due to the usage of pig’s blood to enrich the flavor.

Lawar Putih (White Lawar), on the other hand, uses no blood so the color stays natural. Traditional Lawar dish uses pork as the meat. But later on, another variant of Lawar was developed for Muslim people in Bali who does not eat pork. This variant of Lawar is called Lawar Kuwir. It uses no blood for seasoning, only spices. The pork meat is also replaced with beef.

Delicious Lawar in A Plate (Source: Flickr. Credit: joonel)
Delicious Lawar in A Plate
(Source: Flickr. Credit: joonel)

Lawar is a humble dish because in the village, people used to cook this dish in a large group. They do it while casually chit-chatting. On Balinese special events such as Galungan or Kuningan, Lawar is one of the common dishes to be served. Lawar tastes best at these places:

  • Lawar Pak Kodi, Gang Harum No. 10, off Jalan Sekuta, Sanur
  • Lawar Kuwir Men Koko at Jalan Raya Canggu, Tanah Lot
  • Nasi Lawar Men Tingen at Jalan Pejang Sari (Pasar Intaran), Denpasar


5. Brem Bali

Brem Bali is a traditional beverage from Bali. It was originally from Sanur, but it is very easy to find this beverage in almost anywhere in Bali. In fact, Brem Bali is now commonly served as a welcome drink in hotels, restaurants, or tourism objects.

Brem Bali is made by fermenting rice. It has an exotic combination of taste between sweet and sour. Drinking this fermented beverage is believed to be able to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. But if you drink it too much, you will get drunk and it could be bad for your health.

Brem Bali is available in a bottle like beer. You can buy it in almost any restaurant or hotel. You can also buy them on food shop. Some people buy this bottled beverage as gifts.

A Bottle and A Glass of Brem Bali (Source: Flickr. Credit: Desiree Djorghi)
A Bottle and A Glass of Brem Bali
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Desiree Djorghi)

6. Rujak Kuah Pindang

Rujak is like a fruit salad traditionally from Indonesia. The fruits used in Rujak usually include young mango, pineapple, guava, and cucumber. In Bali, Rujak is served with Kuah Pindang (Fish Gravy). The gravy is made by boiling the fish with chili and terasi (fermented shrimp paste). To serve Rujak Kuah Pindang, first you need to chop all the fruits in small edible parts, mix it in a plate, and then you pour the gravy on it.

A Serving of Rujak Kuah Pindang (Source: Flickr. Credit: blue_lally)
A Serving of Rujak Kuah Pindang
(Source: Flickr. Credit: blue_lally)

Rujak Kuah Pindang is very popular as dessert or as an evening snack. It tastes refreshingly sour and spicy. If you are interested with this food, you can try to taste it on one of these places:

  • Warung Rujak Kuah Pindang at Jalan Bukit Tunggal No 27, Pemecutan, Denpasar
  • Warung Rujak Kuah Pindang Bo Hwa at Jalan Abimanyu 2, Banjar Tambak Gangsul , Denpasar


Our list of traditional Balinese culinary has not finished yet. This is because Bali has really plenty of delicious cuisine that should not be missed. Therefore, please check out our next article where we would continue our list.


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