I love Indonesian food. I love it so much that when I lived in Bandung last year I compiled an A-Z of My Favourite Indonesian Cuisine. This year, for the inaugural Ubud Food Festival blog, I wrote articles on the cuisine of West Java, Central Java, Lombok and North Sulawesi. My list of recommendations for where to eat in Ubud is getting rather lengthy, so for UWRF volunteers with rumbly tummies I have scribbled down that list especially for you! (If there’s a TripAdvisor listing it’s behind the title, Google Map behind the address.)
Sarapan – Breakfast
Ubud Central Market, Jalan Raya Ubud
For when your guesthouse fruit & pancake/omelette doesn’t quite fill you up, the Bubur Bali at Ubud Central Market will keep you going until lunchtime! Bubur Bali is soupier than standard bubur ayam with lashings of salty yellow chicken broth. Along with crunchy, nutty soy bean sprouts it’s served with a tender, earthy little mound of kulit bawang (sautéed shallot skins). Make sure you get there no later than about 7.30am though, as by then it’s most likely habis!
Warung Makan Makan at Bintang Supermarket
Jalan Raya Sanggingan no. 45
This place ticks all the boxes for a tasty and convenient Festival breakfast: It’s close to the main venues, it’s seriously delicious, and it’s cheap. They have a great selection of colourful Balinese/Indonesian dishes, their sambal matah is excellent and their mango juice superb.
Makan Siang – Lunch
The lunch provided for volunteers when you’re on shift is scrumptious and satisfying. But when you’re not working and searching for somewhere close to the Festival hub, here are two top spots:
Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku
Jalan Raya Kedewatan No.18
With sitting spaces within a Balinese family compound, this is a really serene resto to relax in for a little while if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed! Their nasi ayam (rice with chicken marinated in a heavenly blend of Balinese spices, with veggies and other tasty accompaniments) is legendary, and extremely good value. Best to get there by 2pm however as the nasi ayam frequently sells out.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan (opposite Neka)
A perennial favourite of UWRF volunteers and ticket-holders because of its proximity to the main venues, Naughty Nuri’s is an Ubud institution. All you need is an appetite and a love of pork ribs. Last time we ate there they had just introduced a new menu item which had my companion leaping from his seat with excitement when he glanced the sign: Se’i. This divine dish is from West Timor. The pork meat is rubbed with a strong spice and salt mix and smoked for hours. A plate of rice, plenty of special sambal, and something to slurp = porky bliss.
Jalan Raya Campuhan
This one is strictly only for before or after UWRF – because you’ll want to linger here for as long as possible. It’s the perfect place for a long languid lunch on the day after it’s (*sob*) all over for another year. The menu is extensive, from big bowls of satisfying salad to scrummy chicken burritos to Indonesian classics made with organic ingredients. Be sure to order the lemongrass juice.
Makan Malam – Dinner
Warung Pulau Kelapa
Another Festival favourite, this place is great value and close to the main venues. It’s renowned for its fantastic Indonesian fare at really good prices. If you’re a chili fiend (like me) they do a burn-your-face-off level 5 nasi goreng (which apparently if you finish it’s free). Their chef Randy Soetanto has a session in the UWRF Kitchen Program.
Jalan Raya Pengesokan
If you’re feeling in need of a switch from masakan Indonesia, I reckon this has got to be the best pizza in Ubud. It’s owned and run by a big friendly Italian man who’s been here for years. They’re pulling perfect cheesy pizzas out of their wood oven until late, and they also have a smaller branch at Jalan Hanoman no. 36.
Sate lilit & soto bakso ikan
Jalan Raya Ubud, opposite BCA, about here
They usually start setting up at around 6pm – just look out for the really big pot, the sate grill, and little red plastic stools
Sate lilit is the king of Balinese sate. ‘Lilit’ means to twist or to coil. The beef, chicken, pork or fish (at this vendor it’s fish) is combined with shallots, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, ginger, lemongrass, chilli, shredded coconut and coconut milk and moulded onto sugarcane or lemongrass sticks, and grilled. ENAK. What makes this vendor super special though is they also do an aromatic fish ball soup, and the combination of the two are sempurna – perfect.
Very small shop on Jalan Hanoman close to the corner of Jalan Goutama Selatan, about here
Tum are little packages of porky bliss. Pork mince is combined with many of the same herbs and spices listed above, wrapped up in a banana leaf and steamed (just like pepes). They’re a superb snack. You’ll be able to recognise this shop by its counter out the front covered in crackers, fruit, and plastic baskets full of banana leaf packages.
Night vendor on Jalan Raya Ubud, directly opposite Casa Luna
King Kong isn’t the name of the place but the name of the man who runs this street-side nocturnal set up. There are plastic mats to sit on so it’s actually a great place for a cheap and hearty feast. King Kong does excellent tum babi, but for me the shining star is his gorengan – fried things. They’re the best gorengan I’ve ever had. He has a wide range too: banana, sweet potato, tape/peuyeum (fermented cassava – sweet and smooth) AND pineapple. Why not try ‘em all!
Kopi – Coffee
Seniman Coffee Studio
Jalan Sriwedari No. 5
If you love coffee (Indonesian coffee in particular) you must sip the sublime stuff at this place. My favourite is the Toraja.
Jalan Raya Ubud no. 88
Also brilliant for a wide selection of Indonesian beans.
Kue – Cake
This recommendation I will only share with you in person. I figure it’s a fab way to make new friends. But for lovers of rare cheesecake I will say this: BEST EVER.
Here is a hilarious photo of me smashing my volunteer lunch at Volunteer Base Camp last year, at about 4pm. It had been a particularly hectic day and I had not stopped so clearly I was ravenous! The photo was taken by the incomparable, ever-delightful, ridiculously multi-talented and all round lovely human being Bimo, whom you will definitely meet because he is a Super Volunteer and is everywhere. Thanks Bimo. I will get you back for this one day!
See you all at the Festival, and let’s grab a bite together!
Julz (International Writers Liaison supervisor)