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Showing posts with label Balinese Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Balinese Food. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bali 2016: Seafood Dinner @ Menega Cafe, Jimbaran

Days go and nights come, but in between is a beautiful evening sun set.  After strolling through the town of Kuta we settled for a sunset dinner at seafood heaven Jimbaran.  Known for its local-tourist discriminating prices and its posh set menus featuring matchbox size crab and lobsters, most brand Jimbaran with the “do not go tag”.  But when you’re with a local, Jimbaran becomes a pretty damn good seafood spot.  Two years ago I came to Menega Cafe and left dreaming of the amazing butter sauce they used on their clams.  This time, I am re-visiting Menega Cafe.  Will I still be impressed?

The scenery earlier, as the sun starts to set is lovely!

Menega Set Menu:
The set menu which gives us a few of the basics.  Fish, squid, and lobster were “OK”, but hardly necessary.  These comes as part of a set so I just have it.  The best thing in the set are the 6 clams it comes with.  We  had to ordered more of it for sure!

Grilled prawns.

Grilled clams with Menega Cafe's special sauce.
The verdict from before still stands true.  Set meals at this seafood heaven is still less than impressive but is every bit quintessential in getting the evening started.  You get bit and pieces of seafood, vegetables, some drinks, rice and condiments.  The basics.   But what really made the evening great were the grilled prawns and clams.  Menega Cafe’s grilled prawns were super good. Briny, sweet and the smokey chargrilled flavours from the coconut husk is just sensational.  Then come the tender clams topped with a  rich garlic butter sauce.  God these were superb.  Menega Cafe still impresses after two years.  The cooking style is simple, but tastes spot on.  

Note: Do not shower before dinner because the smokiness of the grill is sure to stay with you for awhile!

   Menega Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bali 2016: The best Babi Guling? @ Warung Bakas Sari Dewata, Denpasar.

With the disappointing meal of Babi Guling at Warung Ibu Oka now behind me (said no one ever), I headed to my last Babi Guling meal of my trip.  South of Seminyak in the city Denpasar is Warung Bakas Sari Dewata.  The crowd this morning is hardly convincing that this was the place to be, perhaps 9am was too early for Babi Guling!  But the only thing that mattered was the pork on the fork.

For myself I had the Babi Guling Campur whilst the other two had the Babi Guling Special.  My Babi Guling Campur from Warung Bakas Sari Dewata looked amazing.

1,2,3,4,5,6 and …7.. SEVEN dishes on the plate.  Now that’s a party.  But what amazed me even more were some of the dishes I got.  One of the really tasty ones was the bits of smokey crispy bacon that was spiced sensationally.  Then you also get this stringy pulled pork that was super dry almost like a pan-fried pork floss.  As you chew it all the flavour just oozes out.  God it was magic in the mouth.  Also not to forget, were the  tender skewered pork and the spit roast.  The spit roast was slightly drier than the one at Pak Malen but it was not hard to eat.  The string beans were sauteed with some sambal so that was pleasing too.  Oh and the crackling here?  Absolutely cracking!

My two other friends ordered the Babi Guling Special.

Ok let me tell you something.  As ironic as it sounds, I hate to break it to you that it was nothing special.  If anything, it was indeed less special. My friends were going crazy by getting the most pork on their fork but because it was only spit roast on the plate, the party on the plate got a bit monotonous after the first few bites.  Also, remember how I said the Babi Guling at Warung Bakas Sari Dewata is drier than Pak Malen?  Now imagine having to eat all of it =.=!!  Folks, less is more sometimes.  This is one of those times haha.

Regardless of your choice, it will come with a complimentary bowl of soup cooked with bone broth, and heart of banana tree.

So yay or nay?  Definitely a yay from my side but definitely a nay for my other friends who ordered the Babi Guling Special.  Warung Bakas Sari Dewata has definitely put some good pork on the fork with the Babi Guling Campur.  The variety of dishes  on the plate for the Babi Guling Campur makes it a strong contender for best Babi Guling in town.  That salty-sweet smokey bacon was to die for and I enjoyed every bit of it.  But it has to be the right proportion to not be sickening.  While proportioning on a plate is a very fine line, I have to say that Warung Bakas does it well!  Note that Warung Bakas Sari Dewata’s location is fairly inconvenient when compered to Pak Malen and Pak Dobiel, both of which are located near to the touristy hotels.  But with convenient service like Gojek and Uber, it is easy to get your food brought to you or have you brought the the food.

Warung Bakas Sari Dewata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bites: Another Meal of Babi Guling @ Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka

Done with the breakfast, our driver paced through the small roads leading to the sleepy town of Ubud.  After over an hour of driving, the only thing that have seemed to pass really quickly was time.  The road leading to Ubud is a cross between a rally trail thanks to its windy road and a bumper car with all the holes in the road.  We soon reached Ubud and decided to get something to drink as the windy road took a toll on our stomachs.  After coffee at Seniman Coffee Studio, I recovered my appetite and was ready to go.  If there was ever one thing that I wanted to try so badly, it was the famed Babi Guling by Ibu Oka.  This Ubud staple is a household name that is popular amongst tourist and locals alike.  While its fame saw it grow to three shops around the town of Ubud, was it really worth the hype?

The all season Indonesian drink and a Babi Guling essential, Teh Botol.  I have probably had 15 bottles while I was there haha.

There is only one thing people order when they dine at Warung Ibu Oka.  It is the Babi Guling.
On first glance, it looks like every other Babi Guling out there.  You get the bits and pieces of pork stir fry, a little element of crisp from the deep fried pork, a chopped up spit roast pig and to top it off, a glossy shard of pork crackle.   While all Babi Guling look about the same, it was in the finer details where the difference was.  Here, the pork crackling failed to deliver the crunch that other places did.  Instead, it came with the need of a dental floss.  The sticky shards of crackle between my gums was the worst feeling ever.  Then comes the overly oily combinations that coated my rice with a yellow stained grease. But what was Warung Ibu Oka’s no.1 failure?  There was no standout flavour among the many elements on the plate.  Its as though everything on the plate summed up to nothingness and not the porky goodness one would normally expect.

Babi Goreng Tepung was an extra that we ordered.
This is essentially deep fried battered pork, except that it did not come out piping hot and crunchy!  :(  I really wondered whether it was just a bad day at Warung Ibu Oka or its just the way it is.

In my last trip to Ubud, my friend previously advised against going to Warung Ibu Oka.  But hearing how this institution built a reputation for the sleepy town of Ubud, I just had to try it.  Alas, trust the local and move on.  Warung Ibu Oka might previously be the king of the Babi Guling's porky goodness, but it was now clear to me that whatever mention Ibu Oka get is just a momentum of the past.

Babi Guling Ibu Oka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bali 2016: Breakfast by the Paddy Fields @ Nook, Kerobokan.

Today was road trip day to Ubud.  But before we hit the famous rice fields of Ubud, we stopped for a little morning feed.  Today’s breakfast venue is Nook, a brunch spot located by a vast paddy field.  This little cafe or rather this restaurant if you like, is no more than a little shack right off your suburb road.  It could be anywhere but it had to be right by the paddy fields haha. Gimmicky I would say but never doubt the advantages of what the green pastures have to offer.
But nothing is more important than the food when I am hunting down for a good morning chow.  The table pretty much ordered the staples that we have been having over the last few days.  As you’d expect it Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng.

Nook’s cooking style of both the Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng were pretty similar to the one in the hotel I stayed in as well as the one I had in Biku.  Both were fried decently but this one came with all the little bits and pieces that makes it a tad more presentable. Grilled chicken skewer and roast chicken pieces were pretty decent.  But of them all, the most important accompaniment of them all is a perfectly cooked sunny side up.  That yolk was drool!

The Mee Goreng was of a similar calibre to the Nasi Goreng.  But, one thing different was the use to Kecap Manis or sweet soy.  I acknowledge the flavour that sugar adds to dishes but I am definitely not the biggest sweet tooth out there. If I could, I would definitely cut that recap manis back a bit as the dish would have been sickening if the serve was any larger. I would not mind having a sunny side up on my noodles too :P!


Food wise,  what Nook served was pretty decent but I was not too sure whether its been any different from the other breakfast spots I have been to.  But what made a difference though was the fresh morning breeze blowing ever so lightly.  Add that to the green pastures of the paddy field and perhaps after ridiculing how gimmicky Nook was, I started appreciating its location a lot more.

Nook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bali 2016: Modern Asian @ Mama San, Seminyak

For Sunday night’s dinner in Bali we set foot into modern Thai restaurant Mama San.  This cool joint is the brain child of Chef Will Meyrick who has already made his mark in the Asia Best 50 list with his other high profile diner Sarong.  But instead of donning his waitstaff with the formality of Sarong, Mama San is his popular venture which sports a more casual appeal serving the masses with its modern Asian food.  While I have not tried Sarong, I was definitely super keen to see what was in store for us at Mama San in Seminyak.  (Just so you know, Chef Will Meyrick has opened two other Mama Sans in Hong Kong and Malaysia too!

Roasted Peking duck with steamed choy sum & red bean sauce.

Most of the time when you get Peking Duck its only the skin that is served because the rest of the duck is rarely marinated hence the other courses like the Sang Choy Bow comes to play.  At Mama San, it was served like a Roasted Duck along side the Chinese staple of steamed choy sum and some “tim cheong”.  The crisp duck skin really made an impression along with its juicy flesh.  However, what I questioned was whether Mama San has overdone the sauce because it was hard to appreciate the duck when it was drowned in all that sauce.  After all if one was eating Peking Duck, you would only have a small dash of sauce although some might say its a matter of personal preference.

Vietnamese Grilled Prawn on Sugar Cane with rice paper roll and nuoc cham.

Next we had these amazing grilled prawns.  It has been a long time since I last had these and I really loved it.  These garlicky prawn skewers are slightly sweet and almost like fish cakes but made out of prawns.  This was a DIY session as we used these skewers to make Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls! Summers!

Chatuchak crispy pork ribs with green mango peanuts & Nam Yam dressing.

Named after the largest market in Thailand, these finger licking good dish reminds me of the food I have had in Thailand.  Crispy pork ribs were seasoned so well it reminded me of Som Tam Nua’s Fried Chicken.  This dish was extremely palatable.  The pork ribs for were fried well and flesh was tender!  Then you have the sweet/sour Mango Salad which helped de-grease all that porky action that just happened.  Its that sort of balance that makes Thai cuisine so popular all over the world.  Two extremes on a plate that balances out one another to create a whole lot of roller coaster in your mouth.

Roasted Duck Red Curry.

Red curry and rice is one of the best Thai dishes to go with rice.  This was no exception with its deep red curry sauce ever creamy and rich in spices.  Unlike the overly sweet Peking Duck, the level of sweetness in the curry was spot on.  I also felt like the sweetness had sense of fruitiness and acidity which really complements the creamy sauce. But be careful of the baby eggplants!  They are like little land minuses they are really bitter when you bite into them.

Crispy whole fish with three-flavor sauce wild ginger turmeric pineapple chilli & tamarind.

Last but not least was the three flavoured fish. Thai cuisine’s habit of putting the three flavours of sweet, sour and salty consistently across its dishes makes Thai cuisine some of the most appealing cuisines in the world.  This was no different.  The fish was perfect with its mild chilli jam sauce having a nice bite of acidity from the tamarind and also the sweetness of the pineapples.  What makes fish like this enjoyable is when you get a small part of the fish that is really fried and crispy despite getting soaked with all the sauce!

My highlight of Mama San would definitely be the Prawn Skewers and Chatuchak Pork Ribs!  Interesting and interactive dishes thats jam packed with flavour! Not to forget it is amazing textures too. There has never been a shortage of love affair between Asian Cuisine and the rest of the world. Mama San Bali’s take on the Asian cuisine (predominantly Thai) is a decent attempt.  While trying to stay as authentic as possible, I could not help but feel that the dishes served at Mama San had a notch of sugar more than I am used too.  Even then, the meal was really enjoyable.   Add its amazing interior with a matching cocktail list and Mama San easily makes for a great night out.

Mama San Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bali 2016: Sensational Balinese Dining @ Merah Putih, Seminyak

After a light breakfast at Biku, we headed over to the famous Kudeta to chill out.  Guess what?  It ended becoming an intense Pokemon stout as the waves kept gushing Magikarps our way haha.  No comments to that activity.  After exercising our fingers, it was finally time to settle for a more enjoyable activity.  A meal at what was possibly the best meal I ever had in Bali.  Merah Putih which literally translates to Red - White in English are the colours of the Indonesian flag.   The entrance to this modern diner is nothing more than a gateway to awesomeness.  With soaring high ceilings, and glass panels through the dining area, it was a tropical green house in its finest.

The menu at Merah Putih  is a salvation to the morning at Biku. In sight were some really fancy sounding Indonesian dishes which had me salivating.  To go round the table we ordered a few share plates.  But to get us started, Merah Putih served us a much loved Indonesian classic, the Soto Ayam.
To start was a Duck Spring Roll which which felt like a unique twist of the Peking Duck.  Instead of utilising a roasted duck, Merah Putih cooks up a super crisp fried duck.  Best of all, it was not even one bit dry.  The pickled cucumber and other crisp vegetables gave it additional texture and that dash of kecap manis brought the dish home!  Wrap it all in that thin piece of pancake and voila! “Peking Duck” :P!

Bebek Goreng “Popia”; Fried Boneless Duck, palm hearts, kecap manis, pancake

Our next appetiser was the soft shell crab.  It is hard to go wrong with a seafood produce that is so elementary. Deep fried soft shell crabs has always been a crowd pleaser, and this was no different.  Add a dipping sauce and egg yolk, for a touch of indulgence.  Its presentation was another element worth mentioning.  But despite all the ups, what felt a little bit of a let down was the batter of the crab.  It was on the hard side and I would have preferred a milder crunch to this. 

Jangkang; Soft Shell Crab, salted egg, leek, coriander.

Another stunningly presented dish was the Puyuh Panggang Sumatra.  The chargrilled marks were equally brilliant to the smoky flavours of the quail sat upon the rice cakes. Shame though, that it just was not as juicy as I had expected it to be.  It did not quite fall off the bone on first bite.  Probably 2-3 minutes over-cooked.  Luckily, its lip-smacking sauce help salvage its position.  The spices were super potent, with a mild sweetness and acidity. The whole thing was just delicious!

Puyuh Panggang Sumatra; Chargrilled Quail, onions rice cake, curry leaf.

This was the shared main of Sapi Bumbu Rujak.  Its like a Beef Bourguineon minus the wine and Western Spices, ok so its an Indonesian beef stew.  But an amazing Indonesian one that had my tongue wagging.  The beef cheeks were super tender and fell apart effortlessly.  Then you have the perfectly plump Shimeji shroom sauteed and topping the beef.  All of which are put in a sauce so good that I could not stop spooning it on to my bowl of rice.  Not sure how to even describe the sauce but it was flavoured sensationally!  

Sapi Bumbu Rujak; Javanese Beef Cheek, tomato, shimiji, chilli

After a satisfying lunch, I could not help but suggest ordering desserts to share. How could I resist after seeing Merah Putih do so well with the savoury courses?

First dessert was Madu. The word “Madu” is honey and this simply presented dish allowed the main ingredient of honey to shine.  Creamy ice-cream, and wafer thin tuile was a great pairing.  The ice cream was silky smooth and the ginger helped accentuate the glorious honey notes.

Madu; Borneo Honeycomb Ice Cream, chocolate, ginger tuile

Next was a coconut dessert which consisted of Meringue and Ice Cream.  While I am usually not a fan of the overly sweet Meringue, the combination of Kalamansi and coconut along with sago helped balanced the dessert that night.  So many layers of flavours and textures to enjoy. Not just a one note dessert. You get the citrusy-zesty flavours of the Chinese Orange clashing with the creamy coconut.  At the same time there is the frothy Meringue and springy sago bits.  So much to like on the plate.

Kelapa; Coconut Ice Cream, kalamansi meringue, boni sago

This modern Indonesian restaurant has reinvented the wheel with its modern rendition on some Indonesian staples.  While this is an act considered taboo by some, the strong combination of top notch ingredients and fresh plating, all of which are done simultaneously while maintaining the dish's authentic Indonesian flavours makes Merah Putih the favourite of my trip.

Merah Putih Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bali 2016: Cafe Hopping @ Kerobokan

After the delicious meal of Babi Guling at the Warung earlier, my friends and I decided to do something a little less typical of the usual Bali itinerary.  We decided to go cafe hopping!  In this run, my colleague picked some of Bali’s top cafes and we were pleasantly surprised how well presented some of these places are.

First stop was Livingstone, Kerobokan.  
This industrial building is a full time bakery that serves up some interesting lunches.  But after that heavy meal earlier, we were contented with fries and drinks.  While I cannot say much about the food, Livingstone in Kerobokan sure has a great environment to catch up with good friends!  


Drinks stretched the whole page length.  For the group, we had Matcha Latte, Avocado Chocolate Shake, and two juices!

Once we were done with that, we moved to our next spot just round the corner from where Livingstone is.  It’s another Patisserie but this time, with a touch of class.  Its Angelita Tea Salon and Patisserie.

Angelita was a place that I would not normally visit because as my colleague suggests, its a little “Princess-sy”.  But that is alright, I was in no way deterred to try it out!  Compared to Livingstone, everything here was very very well presented and finished like  a pro.


Once you have decided to sit in the air-conditioned cafe or out in their open garden, it is finally time to pick your cakes.  We shared two pastries’s amongst the four of us.  One was the Salted Egg Croissant (not pictured) and the other was an Early Grey cake, look how pretty it was!

But looks was just part of the story.  Its  fragrant tea smell was amazing even before I ate it.  The cream in the cake was light and the sponge in there sweetened just right.  In the centre was an delicious vanilla filling.  All of which complemented each other perfectly.  Just before I slept that night, I thought to myself it was a really good cake! Still thinking of the bergamot!

Colleague's Matcha Latte

While this was barely the most eventful afternoon, all the jokes and Pokemon Go talk really brought back memories of when we first started.  So if you are not craving for the sea breeze and prefer a nice cosy indoor to spend the afternoon in, keep in mind that Livingstone and Angelita are good options to sit back and just chill!

Angelita Tea Salon and Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, July 29, 2016

Bali 2016: Babi Guling @ Warung Pak Malen, Seminyak

2 years later and I am back in Bali.  With no wedding on the agenda this trip, food eating was priority.  Today’s the first day in the island and immediately I was ready for some eating action.  First up, was Babi Guling Warung Pak Malen in Seminyak located just minutes away from the bustling Kayu Aya strip of Seminyak.  Reachable by foot, I walked approximately 10 minutes from my hotel Amadea Resort & Villas.

Warung Pak Malen in Seminyak is no longer the corrugated roof stall it used to be. Now its got its full shop.  But has this upgrade diluted the authentic flavours of its Babi Guling?  The Babi Guling Campur was my pick.  It comes with soup with some pork ribs, a plate of mixed pork pieces and steamed rice.

Soup’s a little spicy and had great flavour to it.  Do not expect a rich bone Tonkatsu but rather a clear bone broth filled with punchy spices.

The mixed platter of meat though, was where the magic ultimately happened. Tender, and tasty satay Babi, juicy spit roast pork, a crispy crackling and other fantastically flavoured piece of stir fried pork makes the Babi Guling at Warung Pak Malen a piece of art.  

Having the Babi Guling mixed set was definitely the best way to go about enjoying this porky meal.  You essentially had everything from flavour, to texture and even just looking at all the colours on the plate was tantalising.  This was definitely one of the better Babi Guling I had during this trip.

Would I recommend the Babi Guling at Warung Pak Malen in Seminyak? I definitely will.  But is this the best?  You will find out soon enough!

Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bites NLD: Indonesian Cuisine @ Si Des, Spuimarkt

Being so far away from Asia, I very often crave for good Asian food.  Thankfully, the Netherlands is a place that many Indonesians called home due the Indonesia-Netherlands special relationships.  For those who did not know, Indonesia was a Dutch colony in the past!  Like always, eat where the locals eat and when my Indonesian friend Johnny recommended Si Des in Spuimarkt, I knew where I was headed for my next meal.

I spoke to the lady at the counter and she told me that Si Des has been in business for many years now giving me great expectations of the food it served.  After being convinced that I could finish two dishes by myself, I ordered a Gado-Gado and the Ayam Kremes.  The Gado-Gado is a classic Indonesian salad consisting of eggs, blenched vegetables, tofu and cucumber.  Topped with a rich and chunky peanut sauce, this salad was absolutely mouth watering.

Biting into a mouthful of Si Des’s Gado-Gado,  you get the layers of textures and flavours you would expect from the wholesome salad.  Crunchy vegetables, sweet peanut sauce and chewy tempeh are all important parts of the bigger picture.  While everything was yummy, I felt that only one element was missing!  That is a slightly oily-chili-ish touch to its peanut sauce!

Next up was the Ayam Kremes, a deep fried chicken thigh topped with a mountain of tasty crumbs.

Served with a side of rice and a small bowl of sambal, my mouth salivated on first sight.  The crispy chicken paired with the fragrant sweetish crumbs were yums!  The chicken was tender, and sambal aromatic.  What more can you ask from a simple meal of fried chicken and rice?  Surely it was not rocket science that this pairing tickled my fancy, but how often do you get something so simple done so well?  Not very often I would say.

My lunch at Si Des was a delicious one.  I did not quite try the other offerings like the Mie Bakso, Mie Ayam, Beef Rendang and such but for what I had, Si Des impressed.  The food was affordable, filling and delicious.  Just one week later, I re-visited Si Des and tried their Ayam Panggang or Grilled Chicken.  Again it was a simple, and delicious meal.  Do note that my friend who has the Chicken Curry and Rice was not too impressed.  I do admit that it looked a little sad too.  


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bites: Balinese Breakfast @ Gooseberries Cafe, Kensington

After about 4 brunches in a week, I thought it was time to up the game and to have something different.  Instagram is an awesome platform for discoveries though pictures are typically deceiving and from there, I found the Gooseberries Cafe in Kensington which is a short 5 minute drive from my place.  Viola~! 

The cafe is situated near the school making weekday parking a breeze.  The converted home has several dining areas but I took a sit in the dining area which felt very nice and airy.  To start, a citrusy lemon curd tart.  
Pint in size but packs a zesty punch.  The curd was a little stiff but nothing unexpected considering it came right out of the fridge.  In saying that, the flavours were spot on.

My choice of brunch today was the Balinese breakfast. Tender grilled chicken skewer, and a fried egg on a bowl of fried rice.  On the side were condiments to pair consisting of some kecap manis, pickled chilli and the obligatory sambal.  

But did it really meet the mark?  In terms of putting the staple rice in a bowl with chicken and rice I think it did pretty well.  A little too much carrot for my liking but the rice was fried well.  
The same cannot be said about the condiments.  On the outside they are the different but with they did not meet my requirements.  The kicap manis out of the bottle was fine by all means but the pickled chilli lacked acidity.  But most disappointing was the sambal.  It lacked the ripeness from the long sautéing which usually results in a robust chilli puree with the hints of tamarind, and prawn paste. It was a little sweet too which means all three condiments was on the sweet side. 

In a nut shell, I did not walk out of Gooseberry Cafe as pumped as when I walked in.  Nonetheless, it served a solid breakfast and I was satisfied.  A few tweaks here and there will probably allow the dish to reach higher marks but it is definitely a very good try.  

Gooseberries Cafe on Urbanspoon