Sunday, September 1, 2013

Eating Bali: Part 1

Nadine Kam photos
At Villa Bodhi, just outside Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

It's always great to travel and taste the regional cuisine, vs. cuisine as translated for a Hawaii audience. In Bali, food is fairly mild, though spice flavors like turmeric, cumin and cardamom abound. Most of the spice we associate with Indonesian cuisine comes with the addition of sambal, traditionally a fiery condiment that was eaten with rice when meat was less a part of the Balinese diet. Today, sambal compliments both meat and rice, and for those who can't take the sting of chilis, there are mild sambals of tomato or fried onion. There are also wet and dry versions.

Here are some typical Balinese dishes served up by Wayan Nanti at Villa Bodhi, where I am staying.

This is a breakfast of egg and turmeric-colored yellow rice, with the real coconut water served with a dash of lime, and tangerine juice. Every morning I can request a different juice, from coconut to soursop, lime, apple and banana.

My favorite breakfast of bubur ayam, a chicken porridge—like jook but fancier—topped with curried chicken, salted chicken egg, fried tempeh, rice, rice noodles, tomatoes, and tomato sambal at the top left.

Every morning there is a different assortment of fruit for breakfast.

Roadside fruit stand at Mt. Batur.

I am hard at work poolside, just before breakfast.

More breakfast fruit, including mangosteen, in front, and snake fruit just behind it. The snakefruit, below, looks like an oversized garlic bulb on the inside, but is reminiscent of a crisp Japanese pear.

Another breakfast specialty of black rice, which has a firm texture, topped with mango in coconut milk. We would consider this more like a dessert at home. In the background is fresh coconut juice with milk.

Kolak is one of the desserts, boiled tapioca and jackfruit, topped with grated coconut.

Lemongrass chicken with web of rice noodles.

Jukut urab is a Balinese mixed vegetable dish. This one includes tapioca leaves, bean sprouts, grated coconut meat and crispy onions. So delicious. I might try making this at home with kale or spinach. They incorporate a lot of plant parts here that I didn't know are edible.

A blessing ceremony took place Aug. 31 at Villa Bodhi, with many offerings, including this table setting below:

After the ceremony, all guests sat down for a lunch of spicy cardamom satay with two kinds of sambal, and lawar, a salad of young starfruit leaves, grated coconut and minced pork.

This is a soup of young banana shoots, sort of like squash except stringier, and duck meat.

I went native for the event, with host and owner of Villa Bodhi, Hawaii designer/stylist Amos Kotomori.

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