Posts Tagged With: food

New Year’s Eve 2013: South Water Caye

Ah New Year’s Eve. It’s a great time of year, don’t you think? You get the chance to revisit the previous year and think about everything you did… and didn’t do. You get to hit the reset button and think about everything that will be done differently in the coming year. You make big plans. Yes, this year will be MY year. You’ll get to work early, you’ll exercise more, you’ll eat less this and more that, you won’t be negative, you won’t let the dishes pile up, you’ll get up the courage to ask that guy or gal out, you’ll look so fabulous that your pesky ex or that guy/gal that rejected you will look at you and think, “damn, what was I thinking…”. I mean, let’s get serious here for minute– everyone has that thought at some point in their life, guy or girl. Yes, 2014 will be my year to shine.

The funny thing is though… when you try to think about the previous year, it all melds together. I mean, here I am, in February 2015, writing up this post and I am having a tough time remembering 2014. Don’t get me wrong, 2014 was an awesome year… it’s just that the things I focus on to reset for the New Year seem so important when I make them… and then life happens and the relative “unimportantness” (yes I made up that word) of those resolutions shines. Perhaps my problem is that I am making the *wrong New Year’s resolutions. The things I remember from 2014? The trips I took, the people I met, the conversations I had, and the beers I discovered: eating lunch at Pike’s Place Market with my state coworkers at an annual meeting, drinking beers at a local DC brewpub with Andrew’s brother, sister-in-law, and our friends, hiking at Hetch-Hetchy Dam, picking up our new dog, Winston, from the shelter, taking a boat into a National Park in Indonesia to see Orangutans, drinking a beer at a crazy Robot Show in Tokyo, sneaking photos in an open air market in Singapore, taking a swig of bourbon from a flask that my fellow classmate snuck into the graduation ceremony, going to an “authentic” Russian meal in Alaska, teaching the drinking game, asshole, to a 60-year old man who wandered down to our cabin where we were staying with the Cornell crew one weekend, dancing with coworkers in Dallas after our meeting let out for the day, hiking to a natural hot spring in Iceland, exploring new brewpubs and collecting pint glasses, spending Thanksgiving with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew at my parents’ house, and of course, spending New Year’s at the beach where Andrew proposed (technically New Year’s Day 2015).

I don’t, however, remember what I ate and did not eat. I don’t remember how many times I exercised. I don’t remember how often (if ever!) I got to work early. I don’t remember how many days I didn’t have a “negative” thought. I can’t tell you how many times Andrew and I did the dishes or let them pile up. I can’t tell you how many “dates” Andrew and I went on. I can’t even tell you if I kept a single one of my 2014 resolutions and you know why? Because I was busy living and that to me is more important than any superficial rule I made up on December 31, 2013. Live for the moment and don’t take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.

But back to South Water Caye! Wow that was me on my soap box. December 31, 2013 was a day for relaxation. I woke up and took some great sunrise photos on the beach with Tim and Barbara (for some reason, I can’t actually locate these sunrise photos)! Andrew and I went snorkeling again and saw a yellow stingray, green and yellow eels, and a ton of fish and lobsters. For breakfast, we ate fried beans, scrambled eggs, hot sauce, tortillas, soursop juice, orange slices, and sausage links. We also had fresh coconuts!!!!!

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A beautiful beach day

 

After breakfast, we worked on a Pink Floyd Album cover puzzle. We did not finish by lunch and that was just fine. We drank beers and piña coladas. We ate island paradise pizza (ground beef, tomato, onion, pepper, cheese, and pepperoni), banana muffins, and watermelon. After lunch, we did finish the puzzle. Then we went snorkeling again, further around the island a bit to switch it up. We saw more rays, lobsters, big schools of fish, these tiny silver fish that followed your every move, gigantic starfish, giant crabs, hermit crabs, conchs, purple lion fish, and sea cucumbers. It was the perfect day.

Pelican enjoying the island life

Pelican enjoying the island life

Pretty trees on the beach

Pretty trees on the beach

We showered and ate dinner: pineapple, breaded eggplant, jalapeño corn salad, macaroni pasta with tomato, conch stir fry, sweet potato pone, and coconut. After dinner, the tables were cleared and the party began! There were Belizean drummers, dancers, and singers. We did shots of 1 Barrel Rum. We drink Belikan Beer, we drank Mayfair dandy gin, and we even had some rum that Sarah and Stuart brought from the mainland. We danced and we sang and we talked about traveling and life. We lived in the moment. It was the perfect New Year’s!

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There’s nothing in the world that can’t be made better with some coconuts

 

Until next time. Live your life.

Categories: Belize | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flying to Indonesia: 22 Hours & Counting

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Flying to the other side of the world is quite a trip, no matter which way you are going or how many stops you make along the way. We wanted to minimize our layovers… they just wear you out and add time to your trip… so we found flights that went nonstop from Washington, DC Dulles to Tokyo and then from Tokyo to Jakarta. Honestly, even if there was a nonstop flight from Dulles to Jakarta— that might be a BIT much… but who knows :)- maybe someday we’ll be able to do that! Just in case you’re wondering about this flight, here’s a picture:

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Yes you see that correctly- you literally fly around the world. 14 hours of flying- so make sure you find a good airline to spend more than half a day on! We went with ANA and departed on a Tuesday from Dulles, VA (IAD) around 12:20PM or so. The flight was pretty full but when we checked in, the woman working the ticket counter was super helpful and super nice. She said that she was going to move us so that Andrew was on the aisle. As it turned out, she found seats to move us to that also had an empty seat next to me. Remember here that our flight was booked less than a week before we left, so our seat options were limited.

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ANA was a nice airline; a really nice airline. You can access their website here: ANA Airlines. In the event you can’t find the flights you are looking for (happened to us because we saw them on Kayak but not on the ANA website), we gave them a quick call and they were able to look up the flights for us. In addition, they could put a 24-hour hold on the seat(s) which was super helpful considering I didn’t have a Passport at the time. Each seat on the plane had it’s own personalized TV and remote (complete with TV shows, movies, games, chatting from seat to seat, etc). The movies were recent as well (Wolf of Wall Street, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, etc).

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In addition, I really liked that ANA had drink/cup holders that were separate from the tray itself (they also had drink holders on the tray). Sometimes, you just don’t want the stupid tray down but you are really thirsty. ANA has solved this problem. Other Airlines, take note.

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Because we boarded at Noon and flew for 14 hours on this leg, we were given lunch and breakfast/dinner. It’s called breakfast/dinner because according to local time (in Tokyo) it was dinner, but home time (DC) it was breakfast. The meals provided were actually pretty good. You typically had your choice of an “International Cuisine” or a “Japanese Cuisine”. So for example, the first meal was a baked fish dish or a hamburger. As much as I want to be, I just am NOT a fish person. So, we opted for hamburgers. For breakfast/dinner, we split the difference. Andrew got french toast and I got the lasagna.

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In addition to the main meals, the airline staff also walked around really frequently to provide drinks (sometimes the full cart, sometimes just tea or juice) and packets of rice crackers. By the way- watch it if you’re a vegetarian. There were not any vegetarian dishes (unless you eat fish) and the rice crackers actually contained shrimp. So, if you’re a vegetarian, pack your own food. *Note- I just looked at the ANA Website and you can apparently request meals if you have dietary restrictions or religious reasons*. We actually packed some snacks as well because we knew the flight would be so long and we were unsure of the airline food. Easy airline snacks: trail mix, fruit snacks, sandwiches.

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One of the juices that ANA served was Kabosu. Kabosu is a green citrus fruit that looks like a lime that grows in Japan. It is apparently substituted for vinegar in a lot of Japanese dishes. Either way it was sweetened to perfection and absolutely delicious. Sort of like a limeade but not as tart. YUM. This is what it looked like:

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In order to acclimate to the time change, we ended up staying up for the duration of the flight. It really wasn’t all that bad. We watched about 4 movies and we played A LOT of on-screen Sudoku. So, if you find yourself flying on ANA and playing Sudoku, check out the high score list for “Slumpy”– I’m there! Other important things to know about ANA include the bathrooms- they are awesome. It’s like a giant stall that you might find in a typical Western Restroom in a workplace. Lots of space. Leg room wasn’t too bad either and they also have foot rests that can come down if you’d like. Additionally, the arm rests can be moved to upright position for optimal comfort. Sound like an airline ad? I don’t care- it was great. By the way, they also sell on airline goods like hairbrushes and ties and stuff.

We landed in Tokyo and had a 2 hour layover. You basically leave the plane and can move on to your next terminal by going through a simple metal detector. Our bags were checked through to Jakarta which I highly recommend– it was a lot nicer than having to go find our bags and go through customs and what not. Do it. Our second leg of the trip was from Tokyo to Jakarta for a total of 8 hours. Really, it was nothing compared to our 14 hour flight. Plus, we slept most of the way. They served one meal on the flight and you again had your choice or fish or another dish– this time it was beef and rice and stirfry veggies with cold soba noodles and other goodies.

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Similar to the previous leg they again walked around with drinks and rice crackers. We didn’t really partake of them because we were sleeping (!) and trying to the local Jakarta time. We landed in Jakarta at around 11;50PM on Wednesday night (remember we left DC at Noon on Tuesday)… so a VERY long flight and a bit smelly and gross. Make sure you fill out all of your forms- immigration and customs to decrease waiting time in the airport.

You have to purchase an on arrival visa for each person ($25 USD… or you can pay in Rupiah) at the appropriate window before you can go through immigration. You will receive two visas held together but perforated. The immigration official will stamp them and keep one of the slips. The other slip will be placed in your Passport- don’t lose it! At this point, you will also have a dated stamp in your Passport as well as a portion of the immigration card (the embarkation/disembarkation portion). You will need to hold onto this and show it when you want to leave Jakarta so don’t lose it! We have never been asked if we have flights or plans to leave Jakarta within the 30 day visa period, but the site below in the helpful information section and many other sites say that you should have those plans in order just in case you are asked for them.

We grabbed our bags and made our way through customs (really lax actually- they didn’t even look at the fact that our form said we were bringing food into the country). Then we headed outside to grab a cab. The second you walk out, cabbies are calling and yelling to you. Because Andrew had been to Jakarta before and had coworkers here, he knew the best company- Blue Bird (they also run Silver Bird and Gold/Platinum Bird). The guy working the Blue Bird counter wasn’t even yelling at people. He was simply sitting and relaxing- that’s how you know they’re good ;0). We chatted with him and ended up with a Mercedes taxi that drove us to our hotel (40 mins or so) for about $20. In comparison, the guys next to us who went to a shouting taxi man were paying more than double, going a shorter distance, and getting a car with no A/C.

So do yourself a favor- if you fly to Jakarta, look for Blue/Silver/Gold/Platinum Bird for your taxi company. Two thumbs up!

Helpful Links/Information:

ANA Website

Phone Number (US/Canada/Mexico/Brazil): 1-800-235-9262

Phone Number (Other Areas): 310-782-3011

ANA In-Flight Services (Including Meal Requests)

Blue Bird Transportation Group

Soekarno-Hatta (Jakarta Airport) Website

Arriving in Jakarta Information (including Visa)

*Note this site makes it sound a lot more intense then in our two experiences; ie, we never had to get fingerprints or pictures taken and we never had a “lazy” immigration official*

 

Categories: Indonesia, Travel Basics (Resources & Help) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunrise Trek Up Mount Batur

Well, we had originally planned on hiking up Mount Agung [where the gods live], however there was a private burial occurring and as such, hikers were not allowed up there the day we planned, so instead, Swasti suggested we do a sunrise hike up Mount Batur- it was a bit easier they said and we could leave at 3AM instead of Midnight [the time you had to leave to get up Mount Agung to see the sunrise]. In retrospect- Oh my god. I am so GLAD we did NOT hike Mount Agung…. especially if Mount Batur was “easier”. Mount Batur was like straight up a volcano. It was crazy– but a lot of fun and I’m glad we did it! A Swasti guard on duty overnight packed us breakfast sandwiches in the morning and sent us on our way. We were picked up at Swasti around 3AM or so. We picked up two other folks on the way. We drove for about an hour and then arrived in a parking lot that was pretty packed with other people waiting to hike. As it turns out, the hike up Mount Batur is basically a never-ending chain of groups working their way up the volcano by flashlight. Your guide carries water and breakfast/snacks with him. We made our way up the volcano– admittedly, slower than I probably would have liked, but I was out of breath most of the way up so really I’m just glad we made it up. We did- made it in time to sit for a few before the sunrise began and was it ever worth it. There was also a woman up there in a little shed who was selling coffee and food– apparently she hikes up every morning with everything- water, coffee, and all other supplies… just to try and sell to the people who come for the sunrise. As we sat taking pictures of the beauty before us, naturally a few curious monkeys came along out of nowhere. They ended up with one of our eggs and some toast. Pesky little things. As far as recommended tour guides for the trek- really any will do… you can typically just line them up through your hotel/eco-lodge, etc. We set ours up the day before. Easy peasy.

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On the way back to Swasti from the sunrise trek, we stopped by a tea and coffee plantation for tastings and we bought some coffee for the road. Yum! The best part was we still had the afternoon in Ubud to relax. The next morning we were heading out yet again– but this time to a different island for an overnight- 1 night, 2 day excursion- mostly built around seeing Komodo Dragons in the wild [they’re my favorite besides Manatees]! Anyway we walked into town again and relaxed– found a place to grab some lunch and it was so awesome. We were sitting outside in gorgeous weather and right next door is a rice field. How cool is that? I told you they put rice fields everywhere they can! I had a traditional Balinese dish with yellow rice, chicken, and veggies, while Andrew opted for the pizza. We also dined on pretty heavenly drinks, including passionfruit mojitos and lemongrass jubilees. For a country that’s not big on drinking, they sure do have some amazing drinks!

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Before we depart from this post, we wanted to share some pictures of Swasti Eco Lodge, our home base in Ubud. Delightfully wonderful place hidden away just outside of town. It was perfect.

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Categories: Indonesia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

North Bali: The Drive to Lovina and Some Downtown

When we departed from our seaside eco resort of Puri Dajuma [website here: http://www.dajuma.com/en/eco-resort], we headed towards Lovina. We knew that Lovina was going to be at least a bit of tourist trap. It’s a town that is frequented by beach tourism. Andrew had found us a place that was a hidden gem, so to speak, up on a hill with a view of the beach, but not in town. The name of the place was Puri Mangga Sea View Resort and Spa it consisted of rooms and houses and somehow Andrew swung a house with a private pool. The drive there was via Bunut Bolong Tree. Roughly translated, this means hole tree or a tree with a hole in it. It is a sacred tree in Bali- located near the area of Pekutatan. It is related to the Banyan tree is quite simply, a massive tree with a hole in it that is large enough to drive through… there is a clove plantation on one of side of tree [located on a hill of sorts]. In addition to tree, there were also two offering temples. We had requested that the driver go by the tree, as I had a lot of interest in seeing it– it really is quite cool, reminded me of a strangler fig. However, as you might guess, it also has become somewhat of a miniature tourist traps and locals are plentiful, willing to sell you anything and everything… or to take your picture with the tree. We declined and after snapping our own photos, moved on with the trip.

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The drive to Lovina was full of all sorts of great views and picture moments. We saw a ton of rice fields, which really do appear to be placed anywhere there is spare space. Many of the rice fields are in different phases of growth– some fields just being plowed, some with baby rice, some with full grown. Based on what we saw, it would be extremely interesting to do some research on how much water is used each year for growing rice on Bali… and where it comes from.

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We also continued our list of usefulness of bamboo for everyday purposes. On this section of the trip, we saw bamboo being used as a fence, as scaffolding [to hold the building up], and as a billboard sign stand. In addition to the bamboo views, we saw a number of other awesome sights, including massive bunches of bananas, massive bags of rice, street-side stores selling roosters in large woven baskets, statues, and temples, and beautiful architecture. We also saw roadside stands with what looked like homemade dishes in pots and bowls— I’m sure they contained something most delicious!!! Perhaps some Nasi Goreng [fried rice]?

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As I mentioned earlier, we were headed for a house with a private pool. We got there fairly early and it was absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend Puri Mangga if you want an awesome time away from the crowds [website here: http://www.puri-mangga.de/en/]. Our house was beautiful. Complete with two bedrooms [next time, we’ll have to take a friend!] and two outdoor bathrooms that each had toilets, sinks, and shows. I have mentioned lately how much I LOVE outdoor showers and bathrooms? I’m not sure I have in a few posts– I love love LOVE them. They’re so nice and there’s so much space, and it’s just awesome with the sun shining down. I digress… the pool was also phenomenal. The “resort” itself [I put that in quotes because it’s not like a Sandals resort… it’s much cooler. By that I mean, it’s smaller and remote and just beautiful]. Anyway, the resort itself has a pool and tub that were beautifully sculpted, but we instead, turned our attention to our own rectangular infinity pool that looked down into a valley and you could see the coast. On either edge of the pool was a giant papaya tree and to finish it off, there were lounge chairs to sit in and watch the hours pass by… We swam for a while and read a bit before deciding to head down into the town of Lovina.

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A driver was around almost immediately and told us he would drop us at the Dolphin statue and when we were ready to be picked up, just give them a call and they’ll meet us back there. Easy enough. We stepped out by the “dolphin” statue… I put that in quotes because most of the dolphins on the statue, appeared to have had a run in with the Queen of Hearts [as in, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!].

We also noticed immediately, that we were no longer in seclusion. We were immediately approached by three different people wanting to sell us things– fruit, jewelry, and paintings. We assured them that we would look again later but that we were looking to get lunch and had other plans. We happened upon a thai place in Lovina called Jasmine Kitchen. I highly recommend it– fantastic fresh dishes and drinks. It was down an alley of sorts and well, away from the mayhem of the beach. We were the only ones at the restaurant and as we found out later, since it was the off-season, we were hit up by all the locals trying to sell goods [fewer tourists to take them on]. Our lunch was amazing… really. We sat upstairs on giant pillows on the ground around a low table and we ate, admittedly, way too much but it was sooo good! They also have homemade ice cream on their dessert menu which a little different from our Western-style ice cream, but still worth the taste. They also will fill your water bottles for a low price, so it’s worth the stop even if just for water [why not grab a snack, too?] After stuffing ourselves, we walked around a bit more [avoiding the beach] so that we could hopefully avoid the sales. Eventually, close to sundown, we decided to head back to the beach because we wanted to watch the sunset. It was worth it. True, we came out of it with some jewelry, a bag of fruit, and a painting that we hadn’t planned on initially… but we also made three locals very happy and took some AMAZING shots of the sunset on the water.

After sunset, we decided to look for a bar with some music for an hour or so before calling Puri Mangga to pick us up. We found an open-air spot [Kantin 21] with not a soul inside other than the bartender and a few waiters. There was a stage and a banner outside said there would be music. We stepped in and were seated at a table with an umbrella. They gave us a MASSIVE drink menu– the second they gave them to us, it became apparent once again that Lovina is not “true Bali”… it is built to appease the tourists– a fact that is made obvious by the multitude of cuisines in town as well as the bars themselves and the extensiveness of the bar menu. Most Bali folks don’t drink at all or at least not a lot. The fact that this drink menu was larger than most American bar menus is saying something. But we didn’t care. We were excited to grab a crazy drink and maybe some food and some music. One of the drinks we ordered was called the Kantin 21 Level 17— 17 alcohols mixed together. We figured, why not, right? I’m not sure the bartender even knew they made that— but they mixed one up for us and we drank it down– bright green, really funky, not sure I recommend it :). We both ended up ordering pizzas [they had an outdoor brick oven]– although I got their special pizza which ended up being a square pizza dough covered in greens and veggies [delicious]. The live music turned out to be a main singer and some back up band. The main singer was apparently a massive America fan– as he kept giving us shout outs and yelling “Obama” and “I love your movies”. Needless to say, we had a great time- as always everyone is super friendly. By the time we left, a few other couples had joined us– representing France, Australia, and Germany. Our driver met us as promised, by the dolphin statue. All in all, a great day and night!

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Summary of Day:
Route: Pekutatan to Lovina [Southwest to North-central]
Breakfast: Puri Dajuma Hotel [included with room]- delicious and fresh, fruit and hot, cooked food
Lunch: Jasmine Kitchen [Thai Food], Lovina Beach; Cash Only; Fresh and Delicious; 5 Stars
Dinner: Kantin 21 [Open Air Bar], Lovina Beach; Small Food Menu/Huge Drink Menu; 3.5 Stars
Hotel: Puri Mangga Sea View Resort and Spa, Lovina; House with Private Pool; 5 Stars

Categories: Indonesia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Balinese Food

Balinese food is delicious… especially if you like rice! Our experiences in Bali showed that it is very possible to vacation in Bali and never eat Balinese food; but why would you want to do that? Sure Balinese pizza is delicious too, but if you haven’t tried the signature nasi goreng [fried rice] or mie gorging [fried noodles], with some homemade sambal [sauce, typically spicy], in my opinion, you haven’t lived. During our travels I made sure to eat as much Balinese food as possible. The typical and traditional nasi goreng is a simple fried rice with vegetables, some egg, and typically a meat. Chicken was prevalent, most likely for multiple reasons including Indonesian Religions; one of which holds cows sacred and the other does not eat pork [2 of the 4 major religions as described in a previous post]. My other belief of the prevalence of chicken is that it is relatively inexpensive and chickens can be found EVERYWHERE. In fact, just take a cruise down the road and you are likely to see two chicken-related items: 1) large woven basket cages- each with a rooster in it for sale and 2) a motor bike with about 100 dozen eggs stacked on the back.

One fairly large difference between Balinese fried rice and typical American/Western Fried Rice [and I would assume this is also different from other countries that serve fried rice] is the oil that is used for cooking. In Bali, it is most frequently palm oil. This oil is a slightly different taste if you are used to eating food cooked with a different type of oil [ie, olive]. The nasi goreng that I ate typically consisted of rice, spinach or leafy greens of some sort, capsicum [pepper- usually red of a fairly mild variety], and shredded carrot. I often ordered my nasi goreng with chicken or just vegetables. Traditionally, nasi goreng is also served with a fried egg on top of the rice pile. The fried noodle dishes typically had Ramen-style [quick-cooking] noodles and the same list of veggies above along with cabbage. Both the fried rice and fried noodle dishes typically have their own flavor as well.

Sambal is type of secret sauce that is prevalent in Bali. While you can purchase bottled Sambal in a variety of flavors from the larger stores [ie more touristy] in Bali, real Sambal varies from family to family. Families develop their own recipe which may range from sweet and sour to extremely spicy. I loved every Sambal that my meals were cooked with! In addition to these two dishes, Bali also cooks a good deal of satay as wells as Ayam Betutu; a dish that consisted of slow cooked spiced chicken, rice and vegetables. One restaurant in particular comes to mind where I ordered this dish in Ubud—the hostess/manager told me that it is very traditional and she makes it almost every day.

Fruit is also very common throughout Bali and many night markets sell a large range of fruits from snake fruit [shaped like a small pear, it’s peel looks like snake skin, but it tastes like an apple] to pineapples [a smaller, lighter and less sweet variety than what you might find in say, Hawaii or Costa Rica, but still extremely delicious], to A TON of Watermelon [both red and yellow] to dragon fruit to mango to papaya to strawberries [there is a large strawberry portion of the island located near the mountains in the north-central region]. Fruit juices are common [crushed ice and fruit, usually some sugar].

Desserts typically consisted of fried or grilled banana and/or pineapple to fresh fruit to more typically-western dishes like cheesecake, depending on the area or restaurant where you were eating. While restaurants are found throughout Bali, more common are “Warungs” or small café-type places. Warungs range from tiny, dimly lit, hole-in-the-wall feed stops to extravagant, large, exquisitely decorated getaways. Don’t be fooled by appearance- just because a place looks a little off the beaten track, doesn’t mean the food won’t be just as if not more delicious than its larger competitor. Ice cream can also be found in Bali, however it tastes more like ice mixed with a bit of milk, if you are used to the sugary, fattening, western-counterpart.

Another important question revolves around drinks in Bali! You shouldn’t drink the tap water [not even the locals do!] Bottled water is prevalent and although it is a large waste of plastic and creation of trash, it is better than getting a water-borne illness or bacteria. In an effort to curb plastic bottle use and trash, many places will allow you to fill up your own water bottle or canteen from their large jugs of water. Alternatively, you could ask for a glass of water from their large jug rather than a bottle of water. Coffee and Tea are both found in abundance in Bali; the major difference between Western Coffee and Bali Coffee is that in Bali they do not do “drip coffee”. Instead, they simple finely ground the coffee beans and mix them into a cup of hot water and serve it. If you are not used to this type of coffee, it can take some getting used to—you will find grit at the bottom of your cup and the last few sips will be rich and thick.

The main beer found in Bali is Bintang. It’s tasty, refreshing, and found all over the place. Mixed drinks can be found in more touristy areas—look for more exotic drinks like passion fruit crushes [passion fruit, club soda, simple syrup, and ice] or even the Lovina Special “Level 15”: 15 different liquor mixed in a glass including dry vermouth, crème de menthe, gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, and bourbon] along with some ice, grenadine, lime juice, and topped off with soda water. It comes out bright green, tastes like cough medicine, and is one hell of a strong drink. The other direction to go with hard alcohol is to try the “Arak”; a liquor made from rice. It is potent and tastes a bit like whiskey. Traditional drinks using Arak include the Arak Attack [orange juice, grenadine, and Arak] or the Arak Honey [Arak, honey, and lime juice]. It’s definitely worth a try as the flavor changes greatly depending on the mixers you choose. Because not many Balinese people drink you may find that your bartender makes your drinks a bit strong so just be careful!

If you are a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or carnivore- not to worry. You will find something to meet your needs. Vegetarian dishes are almost as prevalent as meat dishes and tofu and tempeh are huge. Be sure you try out the fried tempeh, it’s delicious! Depending on the warung or restaurant that you choose, you will also be able to custom order your meals. Tourism is a major industry in Bali and so they aim to please.

My last piece of advice is to relax when eating. As I think back to our trip, it’s hard to think of a meal when Andrew and I didn’t spend about 2 hours sitting, talking, enjoying each other’s company, and tasting the foods. There were even a handful of meals that lasted more than 3 hours. If a place says it has free wifi, don’t trust that it will work and/or that it will be a fast connection. Instead of searching for wifi, how about you turn off your phone, put away your ipad, and sleeve your laptop. Ask the locals for ideas of things to do, stop caring what time it is exactly [use the sun as your guide instead], actually enjoy the food in front of you including the multitude of flavors [a lot of curry spice is used], and take in your surroundings. Many of our meals lasted so long simply because of the scenery—rice fields, organic farms, busy streets, night markets, temples… Bali is a wondrous place. Immerse yourself in it; the rest of the world will still be there in the morning.

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Categories: Indonesia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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