Eating At Your Friendly Neighborhood Balinese Warung

Thursday, December 24, 2009

There are people who like to eat local and then there are people who like to eat local. It’s quite a difference. Eating street side vendors is often an experience, a lesson in culture, and a deliciously cheap meal all wrapped up into one juicy, roasted, suckling pig.

Ibo Oka is what the Balinese locals call a warung, the kind of vendors scattered all around the island, and Asia for that matter. The NY Times shares four of these prime spots, easily sitting me down in a wobbly plastic chair, with an absurdly good martini, under a weathered CocaCola umbrella. Besides Ibo Oka’s pig roasts, check out Merta Sari’s fish patay, Ayam Taliwang’s whole chicken rotiseries, and Naughty Nuri’s popular sushi Thursdays (and vodka martinis- just tell them Anthony Bourdain sent you).

Street side vendors are kind of an anomaly, really. Guidebooks and hotels scream warnings about places like this, but “if you heed their warnings, you’ll miss some of the best food the island has to offer, from melt-in-your-mouth roast pig and fish satays to just-caught sashimi and spicy fried rice served with chicken prepared three ways.”

Ah… I know where I’m eating.

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