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Porky is Best

A Look Behind the Scene of Bali's Booming Roast Suckling Pig Industry.

(3/19/2011) Recent reports in Bisnis Bali provide some insights into the ins and outs of the "Babi Guling" or "roast suckling pig business in Bali.

A local dish known the world over, "Babi Guling" production in Bali is a very competitive business dependent on the supply of the main ingredient and the quality of spices used in the cooking process. The much-preferred black-skinned Bali pigs are roasted in either wooden ovens or steel roasting ovens, usually over a fired fueled by coconut husks.

Local producers who purchase live pigs and butcher them before the roasting process, must also deal with waste disposal issues which have become a source of complaints from neighbors of Bali roasting centers.

The least expensive and smaller babi guling can sell for as little as Rp. 300,000 (US$34) with most people purchasing a roasted pig selling for Rp. 400,000 (US$44) to Rp. 500,000 (US$55). Meanwhile, a large suckling pig sold during peak periods can go for Rp. 900,000 (US$100) to Rp. 1.2 million (US$133).

One leading "babi guling" producer said that on an average day he can sell five suckling pigs with his largest order in a single day reaching 150 pigs. To keep up with the strong demand from the market, the "babi guling" producer must often source pigs from as far away as north Bali and hire additional labor to physically help "spin" the pig at a cost of Rp. 25,000 (US$2.75) per pig.

Another producer revealed that his turnover per month from selling suckling pigs averages Rp. 150 million (US$16,700).

For visitors in search of a genuine Balinese culinary experience, a visit to one of the many "babi guling" stands serving up this delicious specialty every day is a "must do" on any holiday list.