It’s no wonder, with all the pristine beaches on Bali, that tourism makes up 80% of its economy. And one thing they do really well is food. Of any kind!
Traditional Bali food, fast-food, fancy dining, small local restaurants (warungs), beach bars, BBQ’s and international favorites! They’ve got it all!
Most of the countries in South East Asia offer a similar selection of rice and noodle dishes. It gets a bit monotonous, eating the same thing over and over again.
Dull, bland food is not the case in Bali.
Bali contributes to South East Asian cuisine with plenty of flare.
We’ve put together this comprehensive all-you-need-to-know guide on Bali Food. With details on what traditional Bali food is, food and drink prices, where to eat out, what to avoid, and how to order in.
We’ve also detailed some of the best restaurants trending on the island right now. So what are you waiting for? Dive right in!
1. Is The Food In Bali Good?
Yes, yes, and yes! The food in Bali is fantastic, and some of the best you’ll have in South East Asia.
Bali has a longstanding reputation for food. Its cuisine is full of flavor and delicious.
You can find almost every kind of cuisine in Bali.
Bali runs on tourism and is home to many well-known chefs and restaurants. For this reason, most of the Western and European meals are done exceptionally well. You’ll have no problem finding a tasty burger, pasta or pizzas wherever you go or stay.
Health-food lovers also flock to Bali for organic, vegetarian, and raw food eating.
2. Is Bali Expensive To Eat And Drink?
If you’re looking to splurge, fine dining is also very popular in Bali.
3. Bali Food prices 2020
These figures come from Numbeo, a cost-of-living site (1). It’s a great sight to use a reference for food, transport, accommodation and other costs you might be interested in seeing.
- Water (12 oz small bottle): 12,527.78 IDR
- Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle): 17,998.35 IDR
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: 25,000.00 IDR
- Cappuccino: 30,759.66 IDR
- Domestic Beer (1-pint draught): 35,000.00 IDR
- Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle): 50,000.00 IDR
- McDonald’s Meal or similar fast-food chain: 70,000.00 IDR
- Mid-range Restaurant (Three-course meal for 2 People): 400,000.00 IDR
4. What Is Traditional Bali Food?
- The locals eat rice with almost every meal and usually pair it with vegetables, meats, or seafood.
- Make sure you visit the Tegalalang Rice Terrace if you’re near Ubud. Visiting the rice fields is spectacular and will make you appreciate a simple rice dish. See link. below for Tegalalang Article.
- You’ll have no problem finding pork, chicken, fruit, vegetables, and seafood in Bali.
- Spices are very important in the Bali tradition. They’re used in almost every dish and add loads of flavor to anything you eat.
- Bali spices include shallots, garlic, turmeric, and ginger.
- Other trademark ingredients used in Bali include:
Palm sugar– sweetener made from the sap of a coconut palm tree. It has a molasses taste to it.
fish paste– or commonly known as shrimp paste, is used to basting for Ikan Bakar and other Balinese dishes.
kaffir limes– the leaves are fragrant and used in dishes like Soto Ayam and other chicken/fish dishes.
Basa Gede– a Bali spice paste with nuts, ginger, turmeric, and chilies, mixed with shrimp paste and palm sugar.
kecap manis– soy sauce made sweet with honey.
Bumbu Spice paste– shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, candlenuts, chili peppers, shrimp paste, and peanuts all finely ground together.
5. Bali Food List
- Nasi Goreng / Mie Goreng– Full explanation below
- Gado Gado– Full explanation below
- Sate (Satay) Lilit Ikan– Full explanation below
- Urab– Full explanation below
- Ikan Bakar– Full explanation below
- Babi Guling– Full explanation below
- Bebek and Ayam Betutu– Full explanation below
- Lawar– Full explanation below
- Nasi Campur– Full explanation below
- Cap Cay– Full explanation below
- Nasi Ayam– Full explanation below
- Mini Rijsttafel– Full explanation below
- Sambal Matah– Full explanation below
- Lumpia– Indonesian spring rolls
- Tahu / Tempeh– Cooked and fermenting soybeans, has a nutty taste.
- Pepes and Tum– This cooking method uses banana leaves as food wrappings. it’s used to prepare fish as pepes ikan. Chicken, tofu, and vegetables are other common ingredients. Tum commonly contains minced pork mixed with spiced paste.
- Freshly squeezed juice and smoothies– available in every fruit (and veg) flavor and at every restaurant and corner stand in Bali. They cost around 50,000 IDR in fancy spots and 35,000 IDR at local places and roadside vendors.
- Es Kelapa Muda (coconut water)- usually served straight from the young coconut shell. Average price is 20,000- 35,000 IDR.
- Kopi Luwak– Consists of coffee cherries that have been eaten and excreted out by the Asian civets. This partially digested coffee ferments as it passes through the civets’ intestines. It’s then collected after defecation. The average price per cup is 30,000 ID. Places serving it include Revolver Expresso, Seminyak, and Anomali Coffee, Ubud.
- Bintang– Bintang is by far the most popular beer in Bali. Its flavor is like a Heineken. Cost per bottle starts from Rp 15,000 and can sell for as much as 80,000 IDR in fancier restaurants.
- Arak Bali– A clear alcohol made locally from rice or palm flowers. Arak is not safe to drink. It can lead to blindness, organ failure, coma, and death due to methanol poisoning.
- Is ice safe in Bali? – When in Bali, stick to canned drinks or bottled water. The ice in Bali is safe – the island’s ice supply is quality-controlled by the local government. Don’t drink too many cocktails in one go, just to be safe.
Fruit & Vegetables In Bali
In Bali, you’ll find the usual suspects when it comes to tropical fruit. Things like mangoes, coconut, papaya, pineapple, bananas, passion fruit, oranges, and melon.
If you’re going to Bali it’ a good opportunity to taste the unusual fruits too, including:
- Mangosteens– Once you peel off the inedible, reddish-purple rind, the fruit inside is white and looks like fluid-filled vesicles. It’s sweet and tangy, juicy, and somewhat fibrous.
- Rambutan– its outer shell is covered in hairy protuberances. Once peeled, it closely relates to lychees, in both appearance and taste.
- Jackfruit– This is a large fruit grown on trees, weighing as much as 55kg each. They’re used in both savory and sweet dishes and are often used as a meat substitute. the flesh of ripe fruits is sweet and very chewy.
- Salak (snake fruit)– the shell of the fruit looks like snakeskin. Once peeled, the fruit resembles lychee. It tastes sweet and acidic, with an apple-like texture can vary from very dry and crumbly to moist and crunchy.
Duku /Langsat- This fruit tastes a lot like a grape. It’s tangy, sour, and sweet. It grows on trees in bunches, like grapes.
- Kelengkeng or Longan– also similar to lychees with a fresh and very sweet taste like caramel or bubblegum flavor. They’re quite watery and chewy.
- Wani- Balinese White Mango. Sometimes resembling a normal mango or an avocado in size and color. The taste is somewhat of a mango and jackfruit combined.
- Custard-apples– When ripe, the fruit is brown or yellowish, with red highlights. It tastes sweet and pleasant, similar to custard.
- Durian– The king of fruits. Banned in certain supermarkets and on public transport for its pungent smell. Trying to describe the taste of durian is nearly impossible. You’ll have to try it for yourself to decide. You either love it or hate it, as they say!
Cakes and Dessert
- Pisang Goreng– Full explanation below
- laklak– Balinese pancakes (like crumpets). They’re made with rice flour, coconut milk and sugar on top. laklak are usually green thanks to the addition of the suji leaf.
- Dadar Gulung– It’s an Indonesian rolled coconut pancake.
- Bubur Sumsum – Coconut rice porridge made by cooking rice flour in coconut milk and serving it with palm sugar syrup.
Nasi and Mie Goreng- The Most Common Bali Food Options
- Ingredients: Soy sauce, garlic-chili paste, sesame oil, carrots, cabbage, dark greens, green onions, tomatoes, fried egg noodles (or rice) and protein of choice (chicken, meat, fish or tofu).
- Description: Without a doubt, Bali’s best-known dish served for breakfast lunch and dinner. Spice-fried rice is served with chopped vegetables and usually topped with a fried egg. The sweet soy sauce caramelizes the rice turning it into a golden brown color, making this dish far from dry and ever so tasty. Served vegetarian or with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, or seafood.
- Mie Goreng is the second most popular food choice in Bali. The only difference being noodles instead of rice. The plate differs slightly from place to place with the type of noodles changing, as well as the addition of an egg on top, prawn crackers on the side, pickled vegetables, and a hearty helping of thick peanut sauce.
- Average Price: 20,000 IDR- 35,000 IDR
Gado Gado. Best Bali Food Option For Vegans
- Ingredients: Tofu, eggs, green beans, cabbage, cucumber, bean sprouts, carrot, coriander, crispy onions, prawn crackers (optional). All covered in peanut sauce.
- Description: A popular vegetarian choice, in just about any local restaurants in Bali, as well as most western eateries.
- The dish is considered a salad and will often be on the menu in the starters section.
- Gado Gado is a meal of vegetables, including lettuce, cabbage, steamed carrots, potatoes, and often includes tofu/tempeh and bean sprouts.
- It differs a little from place to place but usually always consists of a thick and delicious peanut sauce.
- Gado Gado is one of my favorite Bali food options. However, it was also the most disappointing, depending on the restaurant. I would recommend finding the restaurant reviews on Google Maps/Trip Advisors first and searching for pictures of their Gado Gado before ordering.
- Keep in mind some restaurants serve this dish topped with a boiled egg and prawn crackers and still refer to it as a vegan meal, so make sure beforehand and ask them to leave it off if that’s the case.
- Average Price: 20,000 IDR- 35,000 IDR
Bali Satay and Sate Lilit
- Ingredients: minced meat (duck/chicken/meat), shredded coconut, fresh herbs and spices, chili paste, and lemongrass.
- Description: Satay, or sate in Indonesian, are grilled slices of chicken, goat, beef, or pork skewered on sticks.
- Sate Lilit is a uniquely Balinese dish with minced meat blended with bumbu Bali (Balinese spice paste). It’s then twisted around a wooden skewer or lemongrass stalk and grilled.
- If you’d like to try making it yourself, the recipe is at the end of the article.
- Average Price: 5,000 IDR- 20,000 IDR
Urab. Best Bali Salad
- Ingredients: Green beans, lentil sprouts, spinach, garlic, shallots, red chili, grated fresh coconut, lime, and seasoning.
- Description: This one is great for vegetarians and plant-based food lovers. Also called urap, is a traditional vegetable salad with coconut dressing. It consists of a wide array of steamed or raw vegetables, including green beans, cabbage, bean sprouts, spinach, and cassava leaves.
- You can enjoy urab on its own or as a side dish. For health-conscious types, this Bali food option is rich in both flavor and nutrients.
- Average Price: 20,000 IDR- 35,000 IDR
Ikan Bakar. The Best Bali Food Experience
- Ingredients: fish (Snapper, Sea-bass, Yellowtail), lime juice squeezed over. Marinade with candlenuts, shallots, garlic, turmeric, coriander powder, salt, and oil. Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce) for basting.
- Description: Meaning ‘grilled fish’ is often done using Kakap Merah (red snapper) over wood charcoal and paired with a signature hot sauce, rice, and vegetables. While not a particularly authentic Balinese dish, this is a dining experience worth trying.
- Picture sitting at candle-lit tables with your toes in the sand, watching the sunset over the ocean, and listening to locals sing as they tend to BBQ fish. You’ll find Ikan Bakar at laid-back beaches in Jimbaran and the Bukit Peninsula. We had this wonderful Bali food experience at Lucky Fish restaurant on the shores of Bintin Beach. Check out the details on Bali’s Best Beaches for more.
- Average Price: 200,000- 300,000 IDR (price is by fish weight).
Bali Babi Guling ‘Suckling Pig’. Food For Special Occasions
- Ingredients: pork belly, skin on, kaffir lime leaves, and a spice paste. Paste made from turmeric, chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, coriander seeds, ginger, and pepper.
- Description: For true food lovers, Balinese roasted pork is one of the indulgences to try in Bali. Spices rubbed over the meat, is then rolled (guling) over a fire and roasted. The melt-in-your-mouth tender pork is a communal dish, traditionally served during cultural performances or ceremonies. Now Babi guling is served at most restaurants, including a well-known restaurant chain called Ibu Oka.
- Average Price: At a local restaurant you’ll pay around 35,000 IDR. At a fancy place, you’ll pay double that.
Betutu. Slow-Cooked Bali Food
- Ingredients: steamed or roasted chicken/ duck in rich bumbu betutu spice paste (see notes on that above).
- Description: A whole chicken or duck (bebek) stuffed with an array of herbs and spices is wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked. This ceremonial dish needs to be cooked for so long (approximately eight hours) that some eateries require one day’s notice to prepare. The taste is well worth the wait, with rich flavors filling every bite.
- Average Price: 40,000 IDR
Lawar. Adventurous Bali Food
- Ingredients: green beans, eggs, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, palm sugar, freshly grated coconut, fried shallots, coconut oil, herbs, and spices. Minced chicken, pork, and animal blood are optional.
- Description: A crunch-tender mix of vegetables, grated coconut meat, and minced meat mixed with herbs and spices.
- Making this dish more interesting is the addition of pigs’ blood for both color and flavor. This dish is usually prepared for ceremonies and produced in large quantities. However, most warungs and restaurants will have them. Our food adventures stopped at this one, we couldn’t get our head around the blood addition.
- Variations of lawar include: lawar ayam is with chicken, lawar babi is with pork, and lawar nangka is with jackfruit. lawar merah (red lawar) because of the blood, and lawar putih (white lawar) is with coconut milk and no blood.
- Average Price: 20,000 IDR
Nasi Campur (mixed rice) and Mini Rijsttafel
- Ingredients: Rice with egg rolls, sambals, satay/sate lilit, fish, meat, spicy tempeh, fruit, vegetables, pickles, and nuts.
- Description: Nasi Campur is a Bali food feast! This dish consists of rice surrounded by several side dishes, sometimes up to forty!
- At some warungs, you pick which sides you want. The more prominent restaurants usually choose the sides for you.
- Rijsttafel means “rice table,” and is usually a shared meal comprising of many small dishes. The signature piece being the rice cones (nasi tumpeng). Small portions of betutu, sates, croquettes, urap, tempeh, tofu, and sambals pair with the rice.
- Average Price: 60,000 IDR. 300,000 IDR for fine dining and upmarket places.
Cap Cay. A Bali/Chinese Fusion
- Ingredients: Chicken stock, sugar snap peas, broccoli/cauliflower florets, cremini mushrooms, carrots, yu choy/chinese broccoli, tomato, garlic, ginger, green onion oyster sauce, palm sugar, salt, and white pepper, corn starch (as a thickening agent).
- The addition of chicken, prawns, tofu, or fish balls gives the dish more protein.
- Description: A Chinese-style Indonesian stir-fry or stew made with cabbage and other vegetables. The dish usually comes with carrot, Napa cabbage, leek, and soy sauce.
- Average Price: 15,000 IDR
Opor Ayam (Chicken Curry). The Ultimate Comfort Food
- Ingredients: Chicken cubes, bumbu Bali or base gede paste, lemongrass, salam leaf, brown sugar, kaffir limes, salt, pepper, coconut milk, water and mixed vegetables- carrots, potatoes, long beans.
- Description: This is a warming combination of chicken, carrots, and potatoes in a spicy curry sauce (basai gede) and coconut milk. This dish is delicious and creamy.
- Average Price: 35,000 IDR
Sambal Matah. Bali Relish
- Ingredients: lemongrass stalks, shallots, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger buds, shrimp paste, and cooking oil.
- Usually, chilis are involved when it comes to sambal.
- Description: Technically speaking, not a dish but very popular and paired with most meals ordered. Best described as a tasty Balinese hot sauce (sambal).
- Each culture has its creation of a chili-based condiment, but sambal matah is better than most with its fresh sensation. Balinese hot sauce goes well with just about anything. It’s ideal with fresh fish or chicken.
- Average Price: 5,000 IDR. Usually comes free with your mains.
Bali Dessert- Pisang Goreng and Banana Pancakes
- Ingredients: Bananas covered in a batter made from flour, water, and salt. Oil is used for deep frying.
- Description: Most Balinese desserts comprise of fried fruit, with Pisang Goreng and banana pancakes being the most popular. For Banana Goereng the banana is usually battered and deep-fried in oil.
- Before serving either dessert, it’s sweetened with palm sugar, decorated with flaked coconut, and paired with vanilla ice cream.
- Banana pancakes are made and sold at street vendors, restaurants, and most homestays. Most countries in Asia make their own version of banana pancakes, Bali was our favorite.
- Average Price: 40,000 IDR
6. What Food Should You Avoid In Bali?
‘Bali belly‘ is the term for an upset stomach while traveling in Bali. Symptoms include bloating, cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and sweating.
To avoid Bali belly, only drink bottled water and order drinks without ice. Don’t ingest water while you are taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Avoid food that is sitting out at room temperature, and wash your hands before you eat.
Often people want to know if it’s safe to eat street food in Bali. The answer, for the most part, is yes! Keeps these tips in mind when searching for good street food.
- Watch out for vendors and stalls selling dog meat satay on the streets. If you see the abbreviation “RW” (short for rintek wuuk, or “soft fur”), it’s possible that stall is serving dog meat. Eating dog meat is not illegal and considered a typical Bali food in certain areas. To avoid accidentally eating our beloved fur buddies eat from trustworthy locations.
7. Vegan And Vegetarian Food In Bali
You might be wondering how difficult it is to find vegan food in Bali. Unlike some of the other Asian countries we’ve been to, Bali has plenty of options.
There are just as many vegetarian and vegan restaurants as there are normal ones. Most yoga-practicing vegans levitate to Bali.
Ubud, in particular, for inspiring yoga sessions, spiritual awakenings, and unbeatable plant-based food.
8. Indian Food In Bali
Indian food is available everywhere in Bali.
You’ll have no problem finding Indian food takeaway and cheap eats all the way fine-dining Indian cuisine.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, try one of these special and more up-market Indian restaurants:
For everyday indian eating, there are plenty restaurants in the moderate price category.
RotiDaal (in Ubud, Canggu and Kuta) offer new and different meals ever day. These meals are at a set price of around 105,000 IDR and include 3 choices of daily specials with rice, roti and condimets.
There are also some cheaper Indian eats on the island. Some of our favorites are listed below:
9. Best Restaurants in Bali
Best Restaurant in Ubud:
This is what they have to say: ‘Guests can anticipate an unforgettable culinary adventure. Led by classically trained chefs Ray and Eelke, the passionate and dedicated kitchen team create unique, contemporary European fare from the finest of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Artfully presented, meticulously prepared, and utterly delicious, the cuisine of Locavore promises an exhilarating fine dining experience’.
Best Restaurant in Seminyak:
Mama San Bali
This is what Mama Sn has to say: ‘At Mama San, you can step into colonial Britain in Shanghai during the 1920s, with marble top mah-jong tables and oversized tan leather chesterﬁelds, in a purpose-designed industrial high ceiling warehouse.
On Mama San’s second level a redesign of space introduces interactive dining that includes dialogue with chefs who prepare food in the style of the bartender, engaging diners on their preferences and offering suggestions’.
Best Restaurant in Kuta:
Definitely worth a visit as it lives up to the word of mouth praised by others. The dimly lit space is covered in fancy decor and comfortable seating. Meals were amazing and full of flavor, using local fresh ingredients.
Best Restaurant in Sanur:
What they have to say: ‘Establish on mei 2012, run by local Family from keramas Kadek and Ayu. This warung offers you Homestyle cooking Balinese and Indonesian foods, wood fire pizza, and barbeque. Fresh and MSG-free foods, wines, beers, cocktail, and freshly made juices. We provide a free shuttle service for those staying around the area’.
Best Restaurant in Uluwatu/ Jimbaran Area:
Expect a casual experience both in feel and pricing and totally focused on food. They save on luxurious tableware to make sure they don’t compromise on quality. The meals are in small portions (tapas) so you can try more and share an assortment of dishes with others.
10. Bali Food Delivery- Apps & Restaurants
Food Delivery Apps In Bali
Whatever your reasons are for staying in and ordering takeout, we’re not judging! these are the best apps to consider when doing so:
- Go Jek’s Go-Food App is fairly new to Bali. It’s the same as Uber Eats. Watch how easy it is to order food in this video.
- Grab Food App. Go Jek is definitely more popular in Bali but grab food is also available. The same principals apply.
Food prices on both apps are slightly higher when compared to sitting at the restaurant. Also, keep in mind there’s a delivery fee.
It’s not a big deal considering you usually pay for parking when you go out anyway!
You pay using cash. But you can load with prepaid credit. Top up by using your credit/debit card or by bank transfer. Make sure you have a cash tip for the driver, though.
Restaurants Currently Delivering Food In Bali
Pizza Burger Liquor
Juice Ja Café
Kin Seminyak Bali
TEMPTED Restaurant and Lounge
Balkan BBQ and Cocktail Bar
Basil Kitchen Bali
The Koop Roaster and Café
Spice Mantraa Seminyak
Flat Stanley California Pizza
Wild Habit Pizza.
Made’s Banana Flour Company
Ji Restaurant Bali
Da Romeo Restaurant
BB52 Burgers Canggu
Grass Terrace Café
Spice Mantraa Kuta
In Pecatu & Uluwatu area:
Gooseberry Café and Boutique
He’enalu Cafe & Resto
Nau Tapioca House
Black Rosa Resto
Land’s End Café
Sushi Ulu Wasabi
Rolling Fork Padang Padang
Pizzeria Italia Uluwatu
12. Bali Food Safari- An Experience To Remember
Bali is one of the most vibrant dining destinations. It has a perfect mix of local and international flavors
With all the information we’ve thrown at you you might be feeling a little overwhelmed to start. We highly recommend taking part in a food safari tour, lead by locals that are passionate about food.
Your guided dinner tour begins with a private car collection from your hotel. You’ll be taken to the first venue for sundowners and some tasting dishes.
You’ll be tasting up to 12 gourmet dishes, in four progressive eateries, so make sure you come hungry!
The mystery destinations are carefully selected and finer details are taken care of.
This is your chance to visit some of the best culinary venues across Bali. It’s a great opportunity to meet people and have Bali food dishes explained to you, first hand!
13. Balinese Food Recipes
Balinese 8-spice mixture:
Sate Lilit Recipe:
1 1/2 lbs minced duck or chicken meat
grated unsweetened coconut
candlenuts (or macadamias)
kaffir lime leaves – Cut off the tough vein in the middle
1/2 lemongrass stalk – cut into 1-inch piece
Thai red chilis
- You’ll also need: cooking oil and lemongrass stalks or bamboo skewers
- Blend everything together and press firmly around the lemon stalks or bamboo skewers.
- Cook over an open flame or bbq grill, turning every so often.
Sauce to serve with:
- Mix together:
Chopped red chili, Indonesian sweet soy sauce (soy sauce with honey)
and fried shallot crisps.