Thursday, 17 December 2009

Street Flavors of Bali: Warungs

Photo © Basil Childers/The New York Times -All Rights Reserved

The New York Times' Travel section brings us a welcome feature (especially to those of us living in the frigid North-East) titled Street Flavors of Bali describing some of the island's street food vendors, known locally as warungs.

The slideshow starts off with Naughty Nuri's, a Ubud institution, which occupies a modest shack and where tourists flock to sample its typical menu. During my photo~expedition in 2007, we were supposed to dine there but the wait was too long and we went elsewhere. Another well known spot is Ibu Oka, in the center of Ubud, which only offers roasted pork for a pittance. Naturally, it's a magnet for tourists and locals who sit shoulder to shoulder at its wobbly tables. Despite having an aversion for pork, I ate there once just for the experience and can vouch that its clients walked off with satisfaction.

However the real warungs are those I frequented when traveling on my own in Bali. The no-name roadside stalls and shacks that offer skewers of chicken sate (or satay) grilled to perfection on a few embers of wood coal, and accompanied by pungent tiny red onions. The New York Times article by Gisela Williams mentions Immodium, but I have never had any problems in Bali.

The third warung mentioned in the article is Merta Sari, known island-wide for its sate lilit ikan, a minced fish satay. I've never been, but it will certainly be on my list for my forthcoming Bali: Island of Odalan Photo~Expedition&trade at the end of July 2010. (It's sold out but a wait-list available).