The dishes are prepared to Western standards but still retain Balinese flavours of dishes such as sate, banquet-style rijsttafel and even a range of vegetarian options. This is the place to come for Balinese food if you are worried about hygiene standards in the warungs. Because of its popularity, bookings are recommended. You can go quite a while in Bali without stumbling across true Balinese dishes on a menu: your nasi goreng, cap cay, mie goreng and even most sate are imports from China and Java. Yet Bali’s is a delicious, rich cuisine and it’s not only worth tracking down babi guling and ayam betutu while you’re here — why not learn how to cook a few dishes as well? Imagine a combination of the following minced, simmered then smeared over your favourite meat or veggies: chillies, garlic, shallots, fresh turmeric, ginger, coriander seeds, tamarind, shrimp paste, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf, salam leaf, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, etc.
A Balinese bumbu, or spice paste, features a combination of those ingredients and is the key to many of Bali’s home-grown dishes. It’s among the first recipes covered in the one-day cooking course at Bumbu Bali, one of the few restaurants serving only real-deal local cuisine. Opened in 1997, Bumbu Bali is run by Heinz von Holzen, author of several cookbooks on Balinese and Indonesian cuisine. The Swiss chef originally came to the region to work with Hyatt and Hilton in Singapore, before moving to Bali to open the Grand Hyatt as executive chef; he later opened the Ritz Carlton (now the Ayana) as executive chef.
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