Flavors of Bali: 10 Must-Try Balinese Foods!

Illustration of Balinese Foods

Illustration of Balinese Foods, photo by Pixabay on Pexels

After spending your time exploring the best hidden gems in Bali,  you’ll probably want to look for something delish to eat. Bali has lists of foods that come with various spices, ranging from cumin, turmeric, and even cloves. Those spices will create blends of taste and make your taste buds begging for more!

Influenced by Chinese and Indian cuisine, the Balinese can integrate the two to present a delightful combination of dishes. So, without further ado, here are ten must-try Balinese foods for you!

1. Must-Try Balinese Foods: Ayam Betutu

Illustration of Ayam Betutu

Illustration of Ayam Betutu, photo by Detik

Ayam Betutu is one of the must-try Balinese foods that’s originating from Gilimanuk. Ayam betutu itself refers to a slow-cooked chicken (ayam), the dish itself is known for being delightfully aromatic. Ayam betutu is a perfect substitute for those who don’t eat pork. 

This food consists of a whole chicken stuffed and seasoned with various spices and herbs. The chicken is then wrapped in banana leaves and tree bark before being cooked for 6 hours. After cooking, the chicken meat becomes juicy and tender, separating effortlessly from the bone. 

2. Taste of Indonesia: Sate Lilit

Illustration of Sate Lilit, photo by Wikipedia

Sate also known as satay, is one of the staple dishes in Indonesia and Balinese cuisine. This kind of skewer is one of the must-try Balinese foods. Sate lilit itself refers to meat that is finely diced marinated in coconut milk, and various spices. The ingredients are mixed with coconut, coconut milk, and various vegetables. 

Once mixed thoroughly, the sate is wrapped in bamboo, sugarcane, or lemongrass sticks before it’s grilled over fire or charcoal. However, unlike traditional sate, the sate lilit isn’t served with peanut sauce; it’s served with sambal matah.

3. Unique-Tasting Balinese Food: Lawar

Illustration of Lawar, photo by Tribunnews Wiki

Lawar is one of the unique-tasting Balinese foods. This typical Balinese food is a mixture of ground meat, sliced green vegetables, and grated coconut. Some types of lawar are made with animal blood to strengthen their flavor, which is known as red lawar and tends to have a strong umami and savory taste. If you prefer a vegetarian option, then you might pick the white version of lawar that’s made from jackfruit and doesn’t contain meat or blood at all.

4. Good Smelling Balinese Foods: Pepes Ikan

Illustration of Pepes Ikan, photo by TripAdvisor

Pepes Ikan is one of the must-try Balinese food that has a fantastic smell. Pepes Ikan is a dish of fish wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed until fully cooked. Cooked banana leaves will leave a distinctive smell and taste on the fish, making it more appealing. 

Any kind of fish can be used to make pepes ikan; however, it’s most commonly made with mackerel, sardines, or even snapper. This delicious pepes ikan dish will give you an authentic taste of Balinese culinary.

5. Best-Tasting Balinese Foods: Babi Guling

Illustration of Babi Guling, photo by BBC Travel

Babi guling, or also known as roasted suckling pig, is a traditional and must-try Balinese food that breaks the norm of most Indonesian cuisine. As in other parts of the Muslim Indonesian region, pork is quite difficult to find, but you will find no such difficulties of finding one in Bali.

Babi guling is usually a celebratory dish served only at religious ceremonies or large celebrations. With the growth of tourism and strong interest in babi guling, this norm has changed, and the dish is now regularly served, even at common warungs.

The pig is marinated in various spices and herbs and slowly roasted on a rolling spit over an open fire fueled by wood or nice coconut charcoal. Once the pig is fully cooked and their skin becomes crispy, it will be served with steamed rice, vegetables, and sambal.

6. Delicacy of Balinese Foods: Tum Ayam

Illustration of Tum Ayam, photo by Media Nasional

Tum is one of the delicacies of Balinese foods. Tum ayam uses the technique of wrapping in banana leaves. While pepes is the most common method, tum is a slightly different form with the leaf stitched at one end. 

Tum ayam contains a mix of minced chicken flavored with various herbs and spices. After being wrapped in banana leaves, the tum is then steamed until thoroughly cooked, and the flavors start to permeate the dish.

7. Perfect for Everyone: Nasi Campur

Illustration of Nasi Campur, photo by PegiPegi

Nasi campur is a staple of Balinese cuisine. It’s a rice meal consisting of steamed rice served with various side dishes like shredded chicken, fried tofu and tempeh, boiled eggs, bean sprouts, and sambal. It’s basically a Balinese tasting platter with each restaurant or warungs serving it quite differently. While nasi campur is easily available throughout the archipelago, the unique blend of Balinese spices makes this dish one of the must-try Balinese foods.

8. Herbs and Spices: Ayam Pelalah

Illustration of Ayam Pelalah, photo by Okezone Lifestyle

Ayam pelalah is a traditional Balinese dish made with a combination of chicken, spicy bell peppers, shallots, various aromatic herbs and spices, shrimp paste, and oil. The herbs such as bay leaves, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves will give ayam pelalah a distinct smell.

The chicken is grilled, shredded into small pieces, then mixed with the spice paste and stir-fried until fully cooked and thoroughly mixed. Once done, the chicken is served with lime wedges, tomato slices, a bit of cucumber slices, sambal, and white rice on the side.

9. Fresh and Tasty Balinese Foods: Tipat Cantok

Illustration of Tipat Cantok, photo by TripAdvisor

Tipat cantok is one of the Balinese popular local dishes that’s made from various boiled and blanched vegetables. Tipat cantok is usually served with ketupat rice cake and topped with spicy peanut sauce. Tipat is a Balinese language that means ketupat, while cantok means that ingredients are ground using mortar and pestle. 

For some people, the peanut sauce might be too spicy. Ask the sellers not to put too much chilli pepper. You can ask the sellers to add sweet soy sauce to add a sweet taste and diminish the peanut sauce’s spiciness. Additionally, fried shallots are sprinkled on the dish to add a more robust flavor. 

10. Best Sweet Balinese Snack: Lak Lak

Illustration of Lak Lak, photo by IDN Times

Lak Lak might surprise you if you ever had a sweet rice cake before. Lak Lak is a traditional Balinese pancake sometimes known as the best sweet Balinese snack. This snack is made from rice flour and usually comes in green or white colors that naturally come from the pandan leaves. To top it off, this snack is served with a topping of grated coconut and melted palm sugar. Lak lak is typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack. It’s also common for you to find it at many street food stalls.

10 Best Hidden Gems in Bali That’s Worth to Visit! (Update 2023)

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali

Illustration of Hidden Gems in Bali, photo by Kimberly McNeilus on Pexels

Bali unquestionably stands out as one of the most sought-after destinations in Southeast Asia. Its reputation is built on a foundation of breathtaking beaches, instagrammable rice terraces, and rich cultural heritage.

Yet, amidst the widely acclaimed tourist spots lies a trove of hidden gems in Bali, patiently awaiting exploration.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best hidden gems in Bali that are simply a must-see for any traveler! These lesser-known wonders promise a unique and unforgettable experience, far from the bustling crowds of the more popular sites. What are you waiting for? Read more down below!

1. Best Hidden Gems in Bali: Balian Beach

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Balian Beach

Balian Beach, photo by The Bali Bible

Balian Beach is one of the best hidden gems in Bali. It’s not crowded with visitors, there’s no traffic jam, and no people are blasting loud music from their portable speakers. If you’ve been to Bali or other tourist-packed destinations before, you’ll understand the feeling and desperation of travelers wanting to escape from the crowd and tourist hotspots.

Balian Beach is situated in the Southwest of Tabanan, Bali. It’s around 60km-ish West of Ubud. To reach Balian Beach, you can either rent and ride your scooter or get an online taxi. Like most of Bali’s coastline, Balian Beach has great waves for everyone who loves surfing. You can also rent a surfing board and get a lesson from one of the few surf instructors.

2. Hidden Gems in Bali for Remote Stay: Sidemen Region

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Sidemen Region

Sidemen Region, photo by Geio Tischler on Unsplash

Sidemen Region is situated on the Eastern side of Bali. It’s one of the hidden gems in Bali that’s popular for everyone who wants to have and enjoy remote living. Sidemen Region has some accommodations for you to choose from. 

There are many things to do in the Sidemen Region; for example, you can just ride your scooter through the villages around the region, which will give you a fantastic view of the rice fields around the area. You can relax in the infinity pool at Gembleng Falls, which has a spectacular view. Additionally, there are selections of local warungs (or food stalls) with affordable prices to stop and grab something to eat on your adventures. 

3. Best Nature Hidden Gems in Bali: Munduk

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Munduk

Munduk Region, photo by Une fille en vadrouille on Unsplash

Munduk is a region located in the Northern part of Bali; it’s well known for its amazing spectacles of natural beauty. Green and beautiful hills characterize the Munduk region, vast coffee plantations, and lush forests, making it one of the best nature hidden gems in Bali.

One of the best ways to experience the true beauty of the Munduk region is to stay at one of the many cottages or villas in the region. These cottages offer an unforgettable view of the region and will provide you with the perfect opportunity to relax.

4. Hidden Gem Beach for Canoeing: Gunung Payung Beach

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Gunung Payung Beach

Gunung Payung Beach, photo by StarWORKS Global

Gunung Payung Beach is situated near Nusa Dua, just around 30km from Denpasar. It’s one of the best hidden gem beaches that’s perfect for you to try canoeing, especially for those who want a vacation to a secluded beach. It’s quite easy to reach, as the road is properly maintained all the way in. 

Take a walk of stairs, and you will find yourself on a tunnel that leads into the amphitheater with a wonderful ocean view as the place sits right on top of the cliff! This amphitheater is reminiscent of a place where you might see the Kecak Dance at other places, and in the past, this place also once hosted Kecak Dance as well. Another thing you can try here is Kayaking (or canoeing) around the reef of Guyung Payung. For only IDR 50.000, you can borrow the boat and paddle around the still waters inside the reef.

5. Beautiful and Tranquil Hidden Gems in Bali: Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, photo by Reena Yadav on Unsplash

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is one of the beautiful and tranquil hidden gems in Bali that’s situated only twelve kilometers from Ubud. This beautiful 11th-century temple contains 10 shrines carved into the cliff face. It also has towering structures and statues and clean bathing pools fed directly by the mountain spring water. Pristine gardens and lush green hills surround the temple as a beautiful backdrop. 

6. The Gorgeous Sangeh Monkey Forest

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Sangeh Monkey Forest

Sangeh Monkey Forest, photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Ubud Monkey Forest, Sangeh Monkey Forest is one of the most gorgeous and best hidden gems in Bali you should visit. Compared to the one in Ubud, Sangeh Monkey Forest is less crowded, much quieter and a bit cheaper. It’s also quite big in comparison, with 14 hectares of jungle!

This place has become a favourite spot for locals and tourists to do their pre-wedding photoshoots. Additionally, the monkeys at Sangeh have a lot better manners than those at Ubud.

7.  Breathtaking Hidden Gem: Pasut Beach

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Pasut Beach

Pasut Beach, photo by Charlie Pauly

Now, moving up the west coast, you can find Pasut Beach. This beach has big waves, it might not be perfect for swimming, but it’s excellent for surfing. Pasut Beach is situated in the village of Tibubiyu, around 34km from Denpasar. 

The beach has fine-grained black sand and stretches for kilometers, with towering palm trees that cover one side and the beautiful Indian Ocean on the other side. Additionally, there has no entrance fee for Pasut Beach, making it a fantastic option for someone who wants to enjoy a calming beach without worrying about paying an expensive entrance fee.

8. Secluded Hidden Gem in Bali: Jagasatru Waterfall

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Jagasatru Waterfall

Jagasatru Waterfall, photo by Tripadvisor

Jagasatru waterfall is a secluded hidden gem in Bali that’s worth a visit. Situated in the eastern region of Bali, this waterfall will charm every visitor into staying at the waterfall for a long time. This waterfall is quite hidden and not easily accessible, which is why not many people have heard about it yet. This waterfall is suitable for those who enjoy an adventure because you must trek through around 1km of steep hills to get to the waterfall! However, the effort will all pay off once you arrive at the waterfall.

9. Laid-Back Hidden Gem: Candidasa Beach

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Candidasa Beach

Candidasa Beach, photo by Tripadvisor

Candidasa is a laid-back hidden gem tourist spot that’s situated around 40km from Ubud. It’s one of the beaches that provide an excellent diving opportunity, especially for those who are just new and want to learn more about diving. An important note for you is that, unfortunately, due to beach erosion, there are no decent beaches with beautiful sands around Candidasa. However, all of the upmarket resorts offer large beachside swimming pools!

10. Best Hidden Gem for Exploration: Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon

Illustration of Hidden Gem in Bali: Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon

Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon, photo by Conde Nast Traveler

Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon is the best hidden gem for exploration that is situated in Sukawati, Gianyar Province. The place is hidden in plain sight, and you will need to scale your way through a rocky landscape that’s not a walk in the park. However, you will be quickly greeted by the beautiful view of the canyon, sculpted by the erosion stone walls that are more magnificent once the sun starts to set.

However, depending on the rainfall cycle, you might find yourself chest-deep in water and prepare to get wet! Someone under 160cm might find it difficult to transverse the strong currents of water flows.

Explore Bali Without Breaking the Bank! Here 7 Best Budget-friendly Activities Around Seminyak

7 budget-friendly activities around Seminyak, photo by Em Gan on Unsplash

When it comes to exploring Bali, you don’t need to empty your wallet. Seminyak, a vibrant coastal town, offers a plethora of wallet-friendly experiences that promise both fun and frugality. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a budget-conscious family, or a group of friends, these seven activities will let you make the most of your Bali adventure without breaking the bank. From stunning beaches to cultural gems, get ready to explore Bali and get on the budget-friendly activities around Seminyak.

1. Explore and Enjoy Contemporary Art at BIASA ArtSpace

Illustration of Contemporary Art, photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash

BIASA ArtSpace was founded by Susanna Perini back in 2005. Susanna’s objective in hosting the gallery’s initial inauguration exhibition was to present innovative Indonesian and international artists to both visitors and residents of Bali at a time when there was little knowledge or support for the island’s current arts.

For art enthusiasts and those with a penchant for creativity, BIASA ArtSpace in Seminyak is a haven waiting to be discovered. This dynamic gallery showcases a diverse array of contemporary artworks, each piece a testament to the ever-evolving world of visual expression.

Upon entering BIASA ArtSpace, you’ll find yourself enveloped in an atmosphere of artistic innovation. The gallery’s carefully curated exhibitions feature works by both emerging and established artists, providing a platform for the exploration of cutting-edge concepts and techniques.

2. Watch an Epic Sunset View on Petitenget Beach

Sunset on Petitenget Beach, photo by StarWORKS Global

When it comes to witnessing breathtaking sunsets in Seminyak, Petitenget Beach is the ultimate destination. This serene stretch of coastline offers a front-row seat to one of Bali’s most spectacular natural displays and is about a 20-minute walk from Seminyak. As the sun begins its descent, the sky transforms into a canvas of warm hues, casting a mesmerizing glow over the horizon.

Vast selections of local vendors offer an array of delectable treats, from crispy fried lumpia to perfectly grilled corn on the cob, it’s all starting from just Rp5.000! Just like surrounding beaches like Kuta and Seminyak. etitenget charges no entrance fee except for the parking fee. Visitors will be charged Rp2.000 for a scooter and Rp5.000 for a car.

3. Budget-friendly Activities around Seminyak: Stay in the Best Affordable Villas in Seminyak

Budget-friendly Activities around Seminyak: Stay in the Best Affordable Villas in Seminyak

Best Villas in Seminyak, photo by Bali Island Villas and Spa

When it comes to accommodation in Seminyak, luxury doesn’t have to come with an exorbitant price tag. The town is home to a range of affordable villas that offer a perfect blend of comfort, style, and value for money.

Choosing to stay in one of Seminyak’s best affordable villas means immersing yourself in a world of modern amenities and tasteful design. These villas are thoughtfully appointed, with spacious living areas, well-equipped kitchens, and private pools for your exclusive use. The attention to detail in every corner ensures that your stay is nothing short of exceptional.

4. Visit The Oberoi Flea Market 

Illustration of Flea Market Oberoi, photo by Thiebaud Faix on Unsplash

Another budget-friendly activities around Seminyak you can try is to visit the Oberoi Flea Market. Choosing the flea market from the many buying possibilities in Bali is a bit of gamble, but it is worth spending time before returning home. As you move about, you will notice various selections of clothing and other objects. The shops are well laid up so that you may explore them all at once. Most importantly, you are allowed to haggle and buy the top summer and beach apparel selections from here!

5. Surfing in Seminyak Beach

Illustration of Surfing, photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

The majority of people think that Kuta beach, which is located further along Bali’s south coast, continues into Seminyak. This is not totally accurate, though. What connects Seminyak beach with Kuta is that both are primarily beginner and intermediate surfing locations. Most of the time, the waves are quite forgiving for beginners.

What kind of wave is in Seminyak Beach?

Seminyak distinguishes itself as a beach break although Bali is more well known for its lengthy lines of perfection breaking over areas of sharp shallow reef. Because of this, Seminyak is anticipated to be significantly more condition-dependent than other breaks in the region. Size, swell direction, and currents will all have a greater impact on the break than you might think.

6. Visit and Pray with Locals at Pura Petitenget

Praying at Pura, photo by Aditya Nara on Unsplash

Next budget-friendly activities around Seminyak that you should visit is the Pura Petitenget. If you never heard about the name of Pura Petitenget, it’s situated in Petitenget beach, just 5 minutes walk from the Mexicola. According to the locals, Petitenget comes from two different words. Crate and Tenget, Crate means a place to store something, where Tenget means that it’s haunted. This name emerged from the origin of temples that were built by the locals in the past.

Things Your Should Know Before Visiting Pura Petitenget

Visiting Pura or other places of worship is a popular activity for tourists from around the world. However, as holy sites, there are several rules and etiquettes you must follow when visiting.

  • Wear a sarong that cover your legs below the knee.
  • Cover your shoulders and back, avoid wearing tanktops and singlets.
  • Avoid pointing your feet at the altar, because feet are generally viewed as unclean in Balinese culture.
  • Respect areas of worship. Please be mindful of unintentionally blocking entrances to the prayer spaces and avoid being loud, where others may be trying to pray.
  • Women who are menstruating at the time of their visit are not permitted to enter the temple. This tradition has its origins in their belief that menstruation women were ‘impure’ and that unsanctified blood should not be present on holy ground.

7. Double Six Street

Illustration of Double Six Street, photo by Nuh Rizqi on Pexels

Last budget-friendly activities around Seminyak is to visit Double Six Street. Double Six Beach, Jalan Arjuna, and Nakula are located in this Seminyak neighborhood, which begins where Legian ends. The Double Six neighborhood has a calm, laid-back vibe. In contrast to Oberoi and Petitenget, this neighborhood is vibrant, active, and welcoming without being overly upscale.

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants that showcase amazing sea views. You can sit back and relax while enjoying some of your favorite foods and snacks. In the evening, the food stalls and restaurants will turn on their light, to add a hint of romance and calmness in the environment.