We reached Bali Asli after an approximately 30-45 minute drive by car from our Puri Bagus Hotel in Candidasa. The journey to the restaurant is quite scenic as we passed the arid but gorgeous, mountainous area of eastern Bali. There are many beautiful terraced rice fields and small rocky hills that we encountered along the way. At times you can also view the sea, which is not very far away. However, once you make your way to the smaller roads, keep an eye out for a building with Bali Asli written on it. The restaurant is easy to miss.
Bali Asli is situated on the distant slopes of Gunung Agung and its unique selling points (besides the cooking) are the picturesque views of the mountain from the patio of the restaurant. There are many beautiful green rice fields on the slopes of the mountain that add to the striking view. The panoramic views are truly stunning and it all adds up to a place where you can have an amazing lunch.
Bali Asli’s menu is limited to Balinese specialties. There are only a handful of choices (about 6), and one sampling collection dish that had a bit of everything. We choose to go with the sampling dish so we could try all the food that is on offer.
Jukut kelur meliklik: a soup of sweet corn, young coconut, and leaves from the kelur tree.
1. Pelecing kangkung: steamed water spinach from Wayan’s garden, shredded and mixed with a fragrant tomato sambal and fried peanuts.
2. Be siap me panggang sambal nyuh dan klangkang: grilled chicken marinated in garlic, turmeric, and coconut oil, dressed in coconut sauce, and served with wing beans.
3. Tipat santek: steamed vegetables from the market with rice cooked in palm baskets and a rich peanut sauce.
4. Sate asem be celeng: pork in a spicy marinade, grilled on bamboo sticks.
5. Pesan tetengis: grilled banana leaf parcels filled with coconut curd, Balinese spices, and ocean fish or bean sprout.
6. Bali Asli megibung: dish unique to Karangasem. Designed for two or more people to share. This is similar to a testing plate, with six dishes on a traditional platter. Steamed rice, soup, sambal, rice crackers. Followed by Balinese sweet and fruits.
As a sort of appetizer, we received a bowl of krupuk (rice crackers) and various interesting looking sambal (Indonesian spicy sauces). Unfortunately, none of the sambal was spicy at all, which made it clear to us that this restaurant specifically caters to Western guests. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I do feel the food lacked overall spiciness. Make no mistake, I enjoyed the food, but I think the overall quality and taste would have improved by having more kick to it. The dishes we cooked a day earlier during Little Wayan’s traditional Balinese cooking class were spicier and packed a lot more punch and were much more memorable.
Still, the various dishes tasted quite yummy and combined with the view this made for a great lunch. And also, somewhat importantly, I thought the prices were very reasonable. We splurged and I think we spend about IDR 400,000 for two persons.
Brochure of the Bali Asli restaurant.
Business card of the Bali Asli restaurant.
Keep in mind when visiting the Bali Asli restaurant that they do not open for dinner. They are strictly open for lunch from 11am to 6pm. There are also cooking classes available at the restaurant if you want to learn how to cook the authentic Balinese way. Anyway, if you are nearby eastern Bali you should definitely make some room in your schedule to have lunch at Bali Asli. It’s worth it.