Food and Drink in Bali
A classic Balinese dish is babi guling (suckling pig), and devotees love to argue about which restaurant makes the best version. A meal of babi guling consists of slices of spit-roasted pig on a bed of rice, served with pork crackling, long beans and sambal (spicy chili sauce).
Seminyak, the 'village' a couple of kilometres north of Kuta, has morphed into Bali's 'foodie central' and is said to have the lion's share of tasty (and trendy) restaurants, many of which are manned by Australian expats.
On an island with so many choices, it can often be a case of going where the 'in' crowds are dining or striking out and wandering until you find a little place that appeals. Prices tend to be cheap, although a top-notch meal in a swanky restaurant in Seminyak can cost as much as a meal in Australia but with that exotic touch of a balmy night.
Yogi's Paradise & Grill: This place in Kuta has a big fan club that has followed the affable Yogi and wife Nexus from one venue to the next -- the latest being on popular Jalan Legian, just near the junction with Jalan Padma. Cold hand towels and extra frosty beer await patrons. Dishes include the usual Balinese specials such as sates along with snapper cooked in coconut and ginger and wrapped in a banana leaf; the ribs are said to be legendary. (Near the corner of Jalan Legian and Jalan Padma, Kuta; +62 813 3827 6781)
Cafe Degan: Some of the upmarket restaurants and resort dining rooms have a celebrity chef rattling the pans. Some are overseas chefs, and others are local culinary heroes, such as Degan Septoadiji Suprijadi, who was a judge on "Masterchef Indonesia" and runs Cafe Degan. It opened five years ago with an array of Balinese, Javanese (where Degan was born) and Thai dishes. Located in Kerobokan on the fringe of stylish Seminyak, it's a casual relaxed cafe, where patrons rave about the steamed whole fish, the papaya salad and the gulai kabing (lamb curry). (Jalan Petitenget No. 9, Kerobokan; +62 813 3728 1281)
Warung Pak Dobiel: Often crowded with locals and visitors from other parts of Indonesia, Warung Pak Dobiel is said to be one of the best places for babi guling (spit-roast pork) on the island. There's nothing else on the menu and they also do takeaways. Located just near the gate to Nusa Dua, it's an easy walk from the hotels in that five-star enclave. (Jalan Srikandi No. 9, Nusa Dua; +62 361 771633)
Merah Putih: When you're after stunning good looks and fine food, it's hard to go past Merah Putih in trendy Seminyak. Diners sit under an enormous illuminated cathedral ceiling, so high that the indoor palm trees seem to brush against it, supported by eight translucent columns. Clever design features allow light into the 110-seat dining space to sustain the lovely indoor trees but keep the heat out. Seen by day or night, the restaurant, with separate split-level areas for cocktails and pre-dinner drinks, is stunning. The menu is classic Indonesian, with small and large plates designed to be shared, such as softshell crab, grilled tiger prawns and rendang duck curry. (Jalan Petitenget No. 100x, Seminyak; +62 361 8465950)
Potato Head Beach Club: Beach clubs are all the rage in Bali, and Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak is the place to chill out with cool music by the pool on a rented sun lounge. If you've done the temple visits and shopping, then lie back or sit at the bar, watch the beautiful people (and average tourists), and try dishes from one of the three restaurants. The architecture alone is worth a look especially the hundreds of 18th century teak shutter windows that have been hammered together to form a circular wall. The sunsets are as famous as the client list, which has, of course, included Paris Hilton. (Jalan Petitenget No. 51B, Kerobokan; +62 361 4737979)