A general perception about Balinese cooking is " hot ", strong tastes, or others said " so rich ". Indeed the term of Balinese cooking is to refer the whole specialties known by Balinese in Bali. Seen from Balinese point of view the cooking can be grouped as human food and cooking for Bali ceremony or Bali rituals. At the other group it can be classified as Bali daily meals and snacks.
Daily meals for Balinese is simply " rice " Since immemorial time Balinese eat rice as the largest part composing the menu. It forms almost 90% for every portion of meal quota. So, Balinese word for meal is " nasi " means rice. In the past when transportation between island was not yet developed and the species of rice only depend on one type which harvest was only once a year it was often short of rice in Bali. Bali in this era as a supplement of the main foodstuff were used corn, yam and taro. Rice was mixed with one of these than cooked by hot vapors or directly put in boiling water. Nasi that is cooked in boiling water in Bali is called nasi bubuh, while that is cooked in hot vapors in Bali called nasi kuskus When the rice is cooked in boiling water the seeds can expand three or four times the dried size, while cooking by hot vapors expand at the maximum of 2.5 times dried size. In the reach of modern technology of cooking, not execpted that Balinese rice cooking has also been experiencing technical changes from traditional methode to the use of electric jar with or without preasure for some families especially those who have more access to the technology. As the other variation of cooking rice Balinese cook it in a basket of young coconut leaves or young palm leave called tipat. This type of rice is especially very popular when served as tipat cantok, sliced tipat rice mixed with vegetable, emba called flavour and poundered fried bean.
Flavor is the most important part of Balinese cooking in Bali. Vegetables, meats and fish are used as flavors instead of main meals portion. For the cooking of vegetables, meats and fish there are available various type of recipes with strong tastes. Balinese knows the concept of making certain natural taste of meat become stronger or make it weaker or even change the natural tastes. Natural taste of chicken for example can be made much more stronger by adding the extract of leaves pick up from Janggar Ulan tree ( bay leaves or laurels ), or make the taste of cow meat very strong using a kind of curcuma called bangle which color is more darker then common curcuma, and so on. The main ingredients of Balinese cooking taste maker are chili, onion, garlic, yellow curcuma, ginger, and various rizomas that grow in Bali. Basically for main meals tend to taste hot with balanced salt. Recently with the availability of instant flavors produced in mass production such as Soya sauce, Aji Nomoto, and the extract of chicken, many Bali families and food stalls in Bali use these easy and quick flavors. Despite the fact that historically Balinese is closer to Javanese, but in food, is contradictory. Javanese tend to cook everything with sweet taste, but Balinese cooking is almost having the same tastes as west Sumatra cooking, known as Padang food. The different is, Padang food using to much coconut santan ( extract of coconut meat ), while Balinese food using much coconut oil for frying. Some authentic Balinese cooking can be mentioned in brief here.
Basa is the main element in the process of cooking, especially for vegetables, meat and fish. The combination between them will arising many types of specific cooking of Bali. Basa is a composition of materials consist of chili, onion, garlic, curcuma, ginger, camiri, galanga camperia, galanga india, nutmeg, black or white pepper, lemon grass, and citrus. There are 2 types of basa known in Bali, that are basa rajang or basa gede which is made from above material, but pounded in a tools called lesung and alu. Only latetly lesung and alu is changed with "penyantokan". The penyantokan is carved from natural stone. Second one is emba, and this type is made of mostly sliced onion, garlic and chili then fried with coconut oil.
Nasi and Jaja
Balinese put in contrast between main meal or nasi with it's flavors and supplements at one side, and snacks or Jaja in Balinese at the other side. Jaja is made with tendency of sweet tastes, totally in contrast from nasi. Some of European food for Balinese is a Jaja, such as pizza, croissants, and various breads with it's flavors and all McDonald products are for Balinese basically are Jaja. The principle habit is that, traditional Balinese can never live with Jaja, although they ate full stomach of Jaja they don't feel satisfied, and will have nasi immediately. Some persons they will feel hungry even after eating Jaja. We do not write about Jaja in detail here since both types and tastes are so many including those used in rituals. Most Jaja having relation with religious rituals, and by variation a large parts are made only for the need of those Bali rituals. Jaja for rituals showing more artistic aspects from shape to color. Each shape brings a meaning or symbolic meaning, just as complex as young coconut leaves offering called " Jajaitan" There are still many types of Bali cooking, but it is not very popular. It is correct that foreigners say that Bali is rich with cooking. To mention a fiew of them are below for jaja that are made to be consumed.
cooked sticky rice ( Bali : ketan ) just like cooking rice by vapor or by boiling water, yet served with grated coconut meat and red sugar.
colored sticky rice powder made in sheet, cut in around 10 x 10 cm then made it round and hollow to filled grated coconut meat mixed with red sugar then totally closed the hollow, so from outside it does not show the sugar. Some are made without grated coconut meat, yet only melting sugar inside only when it is served it is given grated coconut meat spreaded on it.
Kupa materials are the same as kelepon, only the shape is more in art and size is bigger, while color is left natural of white sticky rice.
Sumping is made from various material with the basic sticky rice or normal rice powder. The popular cooking are made of mature jack fruit ( Bali : sumping nangka ), banana ( Bali : sumping biu ), chestnut ( Bali : sumping waluh ), and others. The technique of cooking is that jack fruit or others is wrapped with rice powder then wrapped in banana leave before cooking with hot vapor.
Mixed sticky rice with wheat fluor with or without red sugar then pounded so all cereals are sticking each other without showing it's shape and form big mass. This result will be cut into smaller pieces then put in a round container made of old coconut or palm leaves. Newly made is delicious to eat with coffee, yet when it get dried it become very hard and it is slices into thin sheet and dried under the sun. This dried sheet is called Jaja gerang or jaja gina which is only for rituals.
Tape is made of sticky rice or black rice, sometimes cassava. To cook the sticky or black rice it takes the same methode as cooking rice for meal. Cooked materials are spreaded with ragi ( perment ) then put it closed for 2 or 3 days to wait for permentation until production of alcohol. When the smell of alcohol is strong the tape is ready to be consumed.
A jaja which is only made for ritual with dozen of shapes is called Jaja Suci it is made colorful with various shape and believed to have symbolized some creations of god. Some type of it look like Mexican Mayan art. Bulk of this cooking after the ceremony is normally not consumed but thrown away or given to the pets
- Crispy Duck
- Betutu Gilimanuk
- Babi Guling
- Halal Food
- India Restaurant
- Luxury Restaurant
- Minang Restaurant
- Seafood Restaurant
- Ayam Taliwang
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.