What To Eat When You’re In…Benoa,Bali

Xth August 2019

As a destination, Bali offers so many things. Fantastic scenery, exotic wildlife, glorious beaches and, as you’ll see below, delicious local food. Using variations on a core group of staples, the cuisine here is similar to other Asian flavours but also unique in so many ways. Meat plays a big part, as does rice, but some of the vegetable dishes are just as exciting.

When you’re not enjoying the fantastic food offered on the ship, here are some great local dishes to search out in Benoa Bay.

Flame-Grilled Flavours

Chicken Sate

Babi Guling

There are a few different types of ‘guling’ available in Bali (some featuring duck or chicken), but babi guleng is an Indonesian take on suckling pig. The animal is smothered in spices and stuffed with a fragrant spice mixture, before being cooked whole on a spit and slowly turned over the open fire. It started off as a ceremonial dish shared with dignitaries during feasts and festivals but is now commonly seen in restaurants. As the entire pig is roasted, the serving could include some unusual cuts of meat.


Although similar, this is a dish is not the same as that which many Brits will be aware of, and there’s no peanut sauce. Again, the meat used can vary. Although chicken is probably most common, you’ll find pork, goat, fish, tofu and even turtle variations. For Bali’s ‘sate lilit’, the meat is marinated in a mix of spices and coconut milk and then wrapped around the bamboo stick rather than being skewered onto it. It’s then cooked over open flames to create that beautiful charcoaled flavour.


The name of this popular menu option refers to the spice paste that is created using a long list of ingredients. Shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, galangal, chilli peppers, peanuts and more are all used to create a mixture that is then placed inside either a whole chicken (ayam betutu) or duck (bebek betutu). The bird is then traditionally sealed inside the bark of a banana tree or, these days, wrapped in banana leaves and placed on a BBQ to be slowly cooked for around eight hours. Because of the effort and time involved in cooking this delicacy, many restaurants require you to order it in advance.

Nutritious Nasi

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Because rice is grown everywhere on the island, it’s used abundantly in cooking and is a great way to make scant ingredients go further. The most widely known rice dish is nasi goreng (fried rice) and you’re likely to see this on menus morning, noon and night. Flavoured with chilli, soy sauce and spices, it’s a simple plate that’s often topped with a fried egg or served with some pork or chicken sate.

Nasi Jinggo

If you’re only looking for a small snack, the modest portion size of nasi jinggo will satiate your appetite perfectly. Said to fit in the palm of your hand, this morsel consists of rice, vegetables and noodles all wrapped up in a banana leaf. Typically sold from stalls on the side of the road, the name comes from a word which means 1,500 in the Hokkien dialect. This number refers to the price it was sold for (in Indonesian Rupiahs) before the financial crisis in 1997.

Nasi Campur

Meaning ‘mixed rice’, nasi campur is unlikely to be the same in any two restaurants. The central element, a pile of steamed rice, is pretty much universal, but what surrounds it is open to change. Usually, you’ll find some vegetables, fish, chicken sate, tempeh (a loaf made from soybeans) and much more around the outside of the plate, but the specific dishes will vary.

If You Can’t Decide



If you’re one of those people that just can’t decide what to order when faced with a menu full of delicious options, the Indonesians have a dish for you. Rijsttafel has been around since Dutch colonial times, hence the name, and basically allows you to try a mixture of different things at once.

Often served on a large banana leaf, the restaurant will bring you small portions of many of the dishes mentioned above, including Bebek betutu, chicken sate and nasi goreng. Exactly what you’re served will depend on the dining venue, but usually it’s a selection of Indonesian favourites that are perfect for sharing with the rest of the table.

If you would like to know more about our South-East Asia cruises and, in particular, our sailings to Bali, call the team on 0845 200 6145. You can also get in touch using our online chat.

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