Bali’s culinary scene is as vibrant as its beachfront, full of vibrant flavours, traditional customs, and stories. Although Bali has many excellent high-end restaurants, you won’t fully appreciate Balinese cuisine unless you try the classic, inexpensive but rich street food. Here is our pick of the best Bali street food dishes to try.
1. Terang Bulan
Terang Bulan is a traditional Asian dessert that is popular in Bali. It has the texture of a pancake and the mixture and flavour of a crepe. Tourists can choose between two pancake-like layers of chocolate, cheese, nuts, condensed milk, a combination of those, or all of them at once. Terang bulan, also known as martabak, is a popular Indonesian snack sold by street vendors in kiosks or parked cars.
Sweetcorn is a great snack to have while relaxing on Bali’s beautiful beaches and watching the sunset. Tourists can compensate for the chilling breeze by purchasing warm, freshly grilled whole sweetcorn from vendors on many popular beaches. Before grilling, the sweetcorns are brushed with butter and other sauces such as chilli or barbecue sauce.
Bakso is an Indonesian meatball that is often served with noodles and fried dumplings in a hot broth. Many street vendors sell bakso from portable carts that are pushed around the neighbourhood or from modified motorcycles that can be attached to the cart.
4. Rujak Bulung / Rujak Kuah Pindang
There are numerous rujak variations throughout Indonesia, and the Balinese take on the traditional dessert is rather unique in comparison. The majority of rujak dressings are made with brown sugar or peanut sauce, but the Balinese use their plentiful seafood products to enhance the flavour. Balinese make Rujak Kuah Pindang with tuna and other spices and Rujak Bulung with fresh seaweed.
Laklak is a Balinese cake made with rice flour and coconut milk. Suji and pandan leaves, which are almost exclusively found in Asia, provided the green colour for Laklak. The snack is frequently served with grated coconut or a brown sugar jackfruit sauce, giving it a distinct fresh, sweet, and savoury flavour.
6. Nasi Tepeng
Nasi Tepeng is a popular breakfast option in Bali. In the morning, street food vendors line up on the main streets with their carts, emitting an enticing aroma of spices and herbs. The solid but soft texture, which is somewhere between rice and porridge, is popular among the locals. Nasi Tepeng is often served on banana leaves and can be paired with fried chicken, eggs, beans, eggplant, and jackfruit.
7. Pisang Rai
Tropical fruits such as coconut and banana are abundant in Bali due to its equatorial location. And when the two are combined, you get Pisang Rai. This Balinese snack consists of boiled banana wrapped in rice flour and rolled in grated coconut. Its soft texture almost stands in stark contrast to the enticing sweet and savoury flavour of the mixture. Many street food vendors will serve an additional sauce made of brown sugar and pineapple chunks, heightening the tropical vibes.
8. Nasi Jinggo
Imagine a complete meal — rice, side dish, vegetables, and condiments — wrapped in a banana leaf: that is Nasi Jinggo. Tourists can find Nasi Jinggo on almost every main street in Bali, sold from food street kiosks or from parked motorcycles, with side dishes ranging from fish, beef, and chicken to seafood and eggs.
9. Sate Lilit
Sate Lilit (satay) is grilled meat on skewers. Sate is a classic Indonesian dish that can be found in fine dining restaurants as well as street food vendors. The meat for Sate Lilit is usually minced pork, chicken, or fish, which is then soaked in grated coconut, coconut milk, and other spices before being wrapped around the sticks and grilled. While most Indonesian sate is served with condiments, Sate Lilit is served without, as it already has a delicious combination of spicy, sweet, and savoury flavours.
10. Babi Guling
Tourists can now find Babi Guling – or Balinese roasted pig – in fine dining restaurants and on the streets due to its massive popularity. Originally a ceremonial dish, Babi Guling can now be enjoyed casually at street food vendors at a low cost without sacrificing flavour. The meal’s flavour comes from the unique roasting technique and traditional spices greased all over the meat, making it a truly exceptional dish.