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5 Must Try Signature Dishes of Bali

A recent article in spotlighted five signature culinary delights that should be on the “must try list” for many domestic and international visitors to the Island of Bali.

Here’s the list:


Bali Guling, or roast suckling pig, is a dish easily found in every corner of Bali, although seldom encountered on other islands of Indonesia where Islamic food taboos operate. In Bali, the dominant religious faith of Hinduism paves the way for the pervasive popularity of this roasted pork dish. Before being pit-roasted, the pig’s skin is carefully cleaned and basted in the Balinese spice mixture of Bumbu Base Gede . Base Gede comes from pulverizing and combining several spices, including turmeric, coriander, lemon grass, scallions, garlic, chili peppers, laos, galanga, and shrimp paste. The pig is mounted on a spit and slow-roasted over an open fire. The resulting cuts of pork are juicy and succulent. The crispy cracklin’ skin and a sausage (uratan) made from the pig’s intestines are prized by-products of this traditional dish.

Babi Guling is traditionally served with white rice, steamed vegetables, and the traditional Balinese Sambal – Sambal Mata.


Betutu describes the spices used to roast duck (Bebek betutu) or chicken (ayam betutu). The spice mixture (Bumbu Base Genep) is spread across the ducks or chicken’s skins comprised of turmeric, ginger, pepper, chilis, and shrimp paste before roasting poultry to perfection.


Bali’s version of satay is markedly different from the rest of Indonesia. This is particularly the case with Sate Lilit, where, instead of threading small chunks of meat onto bamboo sticks, the meat is ground before being generously folded around stalks of lemon grass that are then roasted over coals of coconut husks. The ground meat of chicken or beef is spiced with several spices, including Laos, chilis, and lime juice. Sate Lilit can be savored as a “finger food” or form a part of a meal complemented with white rice and spicy sambal matah.

AYam Pelalah


Ayam Pelalah is made with shredded strips of chicken cooked in a hot mixture of spices. Before cooking, the chicken is marinated in chilis, garlic, scallions, turmeric, shrimp paste, and oil. Roasted, the shredded chicken meat is sauteed in shrimp paste. Ayam Pelalah is often served as part of a meal accompanied by the juice of freshly sliced limes, sliced cucumber and tomatoes, and white rice.  



A signature dish usually found only in Bali, Lawar is made from ground meats and vegetables. The protein (meat) component can be pork, beef, chicken, or duck cooked with shredded coconut, chili paste, shrimp paste, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and turmeric. Lawar is served with white rice and often accompanies Babi Guling. The traditional pork version of Lawar served in Bali will often include pig’s blood in the preparation process.

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