I expected most of the Balinese dishes I would eat to be variations upon Malaysian and Indonesian dishes. To a point I wasn’t wrong, but must confess that my knowledge of the regions food is not extensive enough to identify the subtle differences geography instils.
I had hoped to try more Balinese dishes while on the island, but it seemed to me most restaurants served variations of these following dishes.
Ayam goreng – fried chicken, served with yellow rice and sambal.
The yellow rice has the taste of a chicken stock cube, in a good way. The sambal, which is essentially a chilli relish/salsa, was delightfully pungent with a note of fish paste that ate well with the simply fried chicken.
Chicken satay with chips, beans and sambal.
I love sambal, the fiery mix is incredibly variable, places with more foreign customers seem to deliver an onion laden version, where the local places deliver a sour, shrimp paste spiked paste with a chilli wallop. The chips on this dish indicate the type of establishment I was in, their sambal was reasonable, their satay where hot, moist and lightly marinated, the satay sauce rich and unctuous.
Nasi goreng – literally translated as fried rice.
This version had chicken and egg, the depth of flavour in Indonesia fried rice comes in part from Kecap Manis, Indonesian dark sweet soy sauce. This fried rice was served with a side of chicken satay.
Beef rendang with stir fried vegetables.
Beef rending is one of my favourite beef curry dishes from the region, nay, ever! The slow cooked meat should be fork tender and delicately balanced, with an awesome mix of spice, chilli and flavour depth provided by the yellow curry paste of the region.
The lemongrass, cinnamon, coconut and lime creating an excellent dish. This example was a very good dish, I liked the touch of the simply stir fried vegetables that came on the side.