Article

Local Flavor: Bali

An occasional column tracking our favorite post-surf meals

| posted on September 25, 2011

It's easy to work up an appetite in almost perpetually perfect Indonesian surf. Rizal Tanjung, keeping up his metabolism. Photo: Childs

Nasi Campur (nahg-SEE cham-POUR)
Bali, Indonesia

Living on an Indonesian swell magnet, Balinese surfers can feast unremittingly on the island’s waves and cuisine. Rizal Tanjung explains, “Locals eat nasi campur like three times a day. Everything is freshly prepared in the morning. For five bucks you could eat so much that you can barely walk afterward.”

Since the dish is traditionally served at room temperature, it presents a bacterial nightmare to tourists who firmly adhere to only eating hot food while abroad. Tanjung advises visitors to “look for somewhere that’s packed with a lot of locals” since it’s a good sign that the food is high quality and freshly prepared. “Usually the place looks run down and you eat with your hands but the taste of the food is amazing.”

Ingredients: Nasi campur literally means “mixed rice.” What’s served over the rice depends on who’s cooking. Curry, vegetables, fried tofu, eggs, tempe, meat, and fish are all common sides in Bali. Most places set out an assortment of dishes to choose from, all served at room temperature. Sweet and spicy “sambals,” chili-based sauces, are usually available to add flavor.

Price: 25,000-50,000 IDR (3-5 USD)

Tipping: Not expected

Wet Your Whistle: Bintang, Pocari Sweat, or Bali coffee

Order Like a Local: “Saya mau makan nasi campur.”

The Place to Eat: There are countless good restaurants on Bali. But the ones that focus on making one signature dish tend to be outstanding. “The best restaurants in Indonesia have a specialty dish,” says Rizal. For seafood close to the surf, he recommends Mak Bemg. “It’s a special fish place in Sanur, right in front of Sanur Rights. It’s packed during lunchtime.”

—Kyle DeNuccio

Previous Local Flavor: Puerto Escondido