Bali is one of my favorite places to travel in Asia. It is easy to get to from any of the regional hubs and is a perfect place to kick back with any combination of friends and family. It is also a great place to get away by yourself for some me time. Bali is a microcosm of all the different people and cuisines of Indonesia. There is a wide range of options to suit an omnivore, vegan or pescatarian at nearly any hour of the day.
Today we're at Bale Udang. A Balinese restaurant famous for recreating rural Bali in the middle of busy Kuta. Once you pass the entrance way, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by water. The restaurant has regular restaurant seating but most visitors fight to get seated at the several Indonesian bales (thatched platforms) that are situated right over the basketball court-sized pond in the middle of the restaurant.
The pond is filled with carp. They are not shy about fighting over the fish food that the restaurant provides guests. Toss a handful in and you see a seething mass of carp right beside your table. Not quite Sharknado 3D but you get the picture.
Your feet do dangle over the water. There are bamboo poles to rest your feet provided you are tall enough. I'm six feet and my feet don't even touch it. I should warn you, nearly every trip I've been to a warung (restaurant) built over water. I always have at least one friend accidentally drop their phone into the pond. Perhaps they want to upgrade their phone or unconsciously disconnect from the world
Located 15 mins from the airport (when there isn't traffic), the restaurant is a easy place to grab a dinner when getting off an afternoon flight coming out of Singapore.
I recommend you have their grilled shrimp and chicken wings. Bali is famous for their grilled food. Bale Udang's grilled shrimp and chicken wings are no exception. Both dishes are sweet, savory, and satisfying. And yes, I eat the shells because I love the sauce. It is a good source of dietary fiber. Water spinach or morning glory should always be ordered. It is the perfect compliment to rice and a salad of Sayur Urab, a mixed vegetable salad. In this case, it's fragrant pickled cabbage, peanuts, long beans, baitfish and shrimp chips to scoop it up with.
What else should you order? DEEP FRIED GUARME BEKAR. Gurame is a local fresh-water fish. Think of it as an Indonesian style rillette. Every part of the fish is edible. It's crunchy, savory and fun to eat. The fish above disappeared in less than 15 mins.
By the way, there are a few added benefits of going to Bale Udang's Kuta branch. There are sinks everywhere to wash your hands. There is always one outside a bale. They also have a playground for antsy kids who won't hang out at the dinner table. Personally I think it is great, I can relax and have dinner while the kids play.
That's it for today's post. Enjoy the rest of your week. I'm gonna find a place to take nap under the Bali sun!
Kent is a management consultant who has spent years traveling for work. His refuge is looking for the perfect meal so that he can reproduce it at home with his wife and friends.