A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Have you ever longed to go to Bali? Of course! It's an enticing place - interesting, beautiful, and culturally rich. And the food... 

Why aren't there Balinese restaurants everywhere? The cuisine is delicious, innovative, and full of local fruits and vegetables. And while I haven't been to Bali yet, I've found a cookbook that can take our tastebuds there. 

A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food

A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food is written by Australian David Barratt and Balinese I. Wayan Budiasa. It's an insider's look at the deliciousness of street food - with local recipes. It's also a guide, of course - with language lessons (did you know that rumah makan means eating house?), cultural advice, rules for street food (thank you), photos, backstories, and many, many recipes. This is one book you'll cherish, from the recipes to the in-depth view of and education about another culture. Which recipe will you make first? I suggest the Black Rice  Pudding - we've included it, below. It's a great start to reminiscing about all the delicious meals you've had in Bali, or to kick start your travel plans to Bali (raises hand!).

It's my kind of book - food, photos, stories, stories about food, and travel inspiration. It's available in print or kindle, at Amazon.

We were lucky enough to catch up with David, and ask him about his book, inspiration, recipes, and more. Take a look...

A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food

Please tell us about your book, A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food...
The book was written to give traveler some idea of the street food available from the trolleys in Bali.

What inspired you to write this book?
The first time my wife and I went to Bali, we saw a number of trolleys selling food. We didn't know any thing about the food they sold, and we had been told that eating in Bali you could get what was known as "Bali Belly." As time went by and we met some Balinese, we gradually learnt about the food and what was good to eat.

 A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food

Why is Balinese street food so delicious?
Bali had only a limited contact with the outside world. And with Bali being a volcanic island with a good climate and soil, they developed a food culture and recipes; this has developed into a food culture that is only Balinese, this is not the food that is sold on the trolleys.

What might people be surprised to learn, about street food in Bali?
Most trolleys are not owned by Balinese, but Javanese but it is how most Balinese eat - most of their meals come from trolleys. The woman of the house cooks rice in the morning and the rest of the family buys from the trolleys and combine it with the rice. If you are careful, they are safe to eat from, as the food is bought and cooked fresh.

Recipes!! Where did you gather them?
The recipes have bee collected over several years from many street sellers and my Balinese friends.

A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food

How important is food to Balinese culture?
Real balinese food is mostly only available at family and temple festivals and is different to street food and if you are invited to join in, it is well worth the experience.

Black Rice Pudding Recipe

In Bali many years ago, our family was served with black rice for our breakfast, just as the recipe suggests, except that the peanuts were their own tiny golden crisp ones. It was a unique start to our days and memorable enough that we still make this dish for special-occasion breakfasts. Note: black rice is not wild rice.

Black Rice Pudding (Bubuh injin) recipe. From A Traveler's Guide to Balinese Street Food

Black Rice Pudding (Bubuh injin)

Black rice is a sticky rice and is usually only made into what we would think of as a dessert.

• Take 1 cup black rice and ½ cup white sticky rice and wash well.
• Cover with water and leave to soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

When ready to cook, add water to cover up to 8 to 10 cm or the length of one thumb, along with several drops of vanilla or a couple of pandan leaves, if obtainable, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the rice is soft and silky; add grated palm sugar to taste. Don't add the sugar before the rice is cooked, as the rice won't soften."

Black rice with coconut cream
Mix well and serve with thick coconut cream on top and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and sliced banana and palm sugar syrup to taste.

Cook's note: A rice cooker will not work for this meal.