When you think of Bali, you think sun, sand and surfing. That’s what I thought as well until I heard that Bali is a haven for Pork lovers. This post serves as a beginners guide to Babi Guling and other Pork dishes based on my recent trip to Bali.
Babi Guling(Babi/B2 = Pork), the legendary pork dish once reserved for special occasions like weddings and religious festivals, can now be easily found at a number of warungs around Bali. The pig is stuffed and infused with a concoction of traditional spice paste and spit-roasted.
A quick search on the internet, gives you a list of few fabled ones that you can try. But I wanted some local and personal opinions and so I asked for recommendations on an internal slack channel and made a to-do list
from all those replies.
Since I was based in Jimbaran, a lot of those restos were > 10kms away. But luckily, there’s GO-FOOD.
Babi Guling Pak Candra
The menu on GO-FOOD was difficult to decipher but after a few google searches I settled on ordering the ‘Babi Guling Spesial Kotak’. The internet tells me that this resto’s prices are high compared to elsewhere. This box cost me 50k rupiah plus go-food’s delivery fee made the final price to 81k rupiah.
The food arrived in a delightful meal box with everything neatly packed into their own sections. I could identify Babi Guling, Crispy pork skin, Pork Soup, Pork & Chicken Satay and of course Sambal. Everything in this meal box was super tasty. This meal was to set the benchmark for all the other Babi Guling’s I would try, in my attempt to find a favourite.
Babi Guling Karya Rebo
To appease midweek cravings, I opened up GO-FOOD to look for something close by and Babi Guling Karya Rebo with its 4.6star rating intrigued me into ordering it. The Nasi Babi special box was priced at Rp58k, higher than Pak Candra’s with no visible rational to its pricing.
The box sadly did not contain any soup. The Babi did not live up to the flavour of Pak Candra’s. The overall quantity was less as well. However the redeeming factor was the Crackling. It was way better and melt in your mouth compared to Pak Candra’s.
Babi Guling Ibu Oka
I traveled on the weekend to Ubud with my main agenda being to try out the Babi Guling Ibu Oka. Ibu Oka got famous thanks to Anthony Bourdain and has now opened 3 outlets around Ubud. I was directed towards Ibu Oka 3, the restaurant off the main road with a view of the forest. The interiors had an excess of pig related architecture. Their menu is limited, but thankfully in English, with a brief explanation so that you know what you want to order.
I ordered the Spesial which comes with Rice, fresh vegetable, pork sausage, fried meat, and a piece of crackling. There was a light coconut based curry which was added on top and I believe that is what made Ibu Oka’s Babi Guling’s one of the contenders for the Bali’s best Babi Guling. The meat was delicious and this was the best(I dare say, perfect) Crackling I’ve tasted. If you visit Ibu Oka, try the more expensive Pisah where they serve the soup as well.
Warung Babi Guling Pak Dobil Nusa Dua
With the weekend gone by and other Babi Guling places far away, I decided to do some internet research and found ‘Warung Babi Guling Pak Dobil Nusa Dua’. Thankfully, it was on GO-FOOD, however it had Nasi Campur Babi Guling(Campur = Mix) and Nasi Kotak listed with no apparent explanation to why the price differed by Rp50k. So I just decided to order the Rp50k priced Nasi Kotak to see what I would get for Rp50k.
The kotak contained a box of meat plus rice. Not as nicely packed as Pak Candra’s and was underwhelming when you’ve paid Rp5ok for it. However the Babi was excellent. Everything was just brilliant. The crackling was different and flavoured unlike the others before it and there were 2 pieces of it as well. This for me was the best of all the Babi Guling’s I’ve had thus far.
I did order the Nasi Campur Babi Guling on my last day in Bali just because I was curious to see what was different. The quantity and quality was heavily reduced in this tightly packed meal. I would recommend everyone to stick to the Nasi Kotak.
This is all the Babi Guling that I was able to try out during my stay there.
Sate Babi Bawah Pohon
Sate Babi Bawah Pohon is famous for its Satay. Do try it. They serve the sweet barbequed satay with Chilli and Salt. The prices for 8 pieces of Satay was just Rp34k.
The Nasi Campur Babi Bali had a light lemongrass flavour which supplemented the pork well. It came with soup as well.
The Nasi Campur here had a sweet and spicy flavour and the meat portions were pretty generous. This was one of our favourite places to order from.
I am back in India now and deeply missing all the tasty pork. I hope this post helps introduce you to some of the islands’ best pork places.
Happy eating 🐷 !