Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Getting To Know Ubud, Bali's mountain side


The last time we went to Taipei, we spent most of the time to take care of business so I thought with the Muslim holiday is approaching, I want to take the kids for a vacation somewhere local, like Bali.

Soon enough when I sat inside my regular Bali travel agent I found out that maybe I should go before the rest of Indonesian will attack Bali. Not only cheaper but with Bali streets always jammed even during low season, during high season, I advise you to just walk instead of taking taxi because no matter how slow you walk, you are definitely will be faster than by car.

So quickly I took care of my travel plan. Within a week we were off to Bali for just a short visit. We left on Friday early morning and returned to Surabaya by Sunday night.

This time we want to try something different so instead of staying near the beach, we stayed up in the mountain area, Ubud. I want to get away from the heat wave that is attacking Surabaya even right now.

THE FAMOUS BEBEK BENGIL THE DIRTY DUCKS DINNER

When ever we went to Bali, friends and family always asked me "Have you go to eat at Bebek Bengil yet? ". That question has haunted me in the past 3 years, so I make up my mind that no matter what we have to eat there ! Rain or shine, here we come!

How glad I am to find that Bebek Bengil is as good or maybe better than what people can describe it to me.

Yes, the food is delicious, yes the place is gorgeous. But what I did not expect is the peaceful and relax atmosphere is truly..... divine !

We went there after the normal lunch hour because in the morning we had a late and very fulfilling breakfast at our villa. This time we stayed at Furama Villas & Spas, in Ubud. Not that far from Bebek Bengil.


So when we arrived, it was around 3 - 4 PM. Most of the lunch crowd has left and the place become quieter. So we can get the nice spot that is the nearest to the rice field where we can enjoy the view of rice paddies and the hundreds of ducks that tried to find their food in the paddy.

Imagine how happy my 2 angels to see so many ducks !

And because the sun is not at the hottest anymore, the air is much much cooler. And the constant nice cool breeze really drove everybody sleepy even before the food arrived.

This is the heart of Balinese lifestyle at it's best!

This place really makes us don't mind at all to wait for the food, but soon enough the food came. They are delivered by 2 young girls wearing Balinese traditional clothes bringing delicious food one after another..... sigh..... life is soooo goood....


And now look at the food they brought to us .....


Pic: Sweet salty tangy and fell of the bones barbecue pork ribs...


Pic: The food comes with some sauces that you may want to eat or not depending on your taste. I prefer not because the food is already very tasty and they don't need any help even though the sauce is good too. The vegetables is traditional recipe. Vegetables cooked with shredded coconut.

Pic: This is their signature dish, crispy duck !

Pic: sweet and tangy chicken wings, grilled to perfection...

Pic: Ground meat mixed with spices then barbecued them. The waiter explained it to me that this type of satay used to be dedicated only for the high priest. But off course, now become a common food. I think the name is Sate Lilit. Unlike most sate that is made with beef, chicken, and pork, this one is a mixture of seafood. I posted the recipe at the bottom.

Under normal circumstances, when people placed delicious food in front of our face, we will automatically attack the food like a starving bunch that actually we are. But all this relaxing atmosphere really makes us become sloowww.....

Look at the picture below, see how relax we are? Richard is still busy with his Blackberry, and Kai Kai just laid down and day dreaming. La La is the same. She was busy playing with all the pillows there.


But soon enough we start enjoying our food. Who can resist all this food for too long? We are only human after all .....

So we eat... and eat.... and eat... and during eating we chat and laugh and joke and still manage to laid down to stretch and then back to eat again....

No wonder so many foreigners who come to Bali never want to leave Bali ...

At the end of the meal normally we will be rush to go home. But not this time also. We just sit there and yawn....

Then after half an hour. A thought come to my mind .... "Hey, how about dessert? ".....

So I asked the waiter what is the dessert that people like to order the most. He said I should try their Russian Chocolate Tart. He promised me that the tart will be spiked so much with liquer that I might as well drink a straight vodka, hahaha.

He wasn't kidding !!! Since I forgot to mention ( oops ) about the liquor in the tart. Richard got quite a jolt with his first spoonful of the tart, hahaha ...

This tart is best enjoyed with a cup of cappuccino or espresso .



So now, what should we do after we finish our dessert? Go back to our nap off course ....


Pic : I want this sink too.......

Pic: the gazebo
Pic: Balinese love affairs with flower petals ....




BALINESE ROASTED SUCKLING PIG





As long as your religion allow you to eat pork. If you go to Bali, don't ever miss out eating Balinese Roasted Suckling Pig.



It is one of their specialty food.

This time because we are in Ubud, we went to eat at Bu Oka Babi Guling Restaurant.

At that time I did not take a good shot, maybe because the shiny suckling pig skin is too tempting to eat that I forgot anything else.

What can I say when you see this crackling beauty right in front of you? I bet you will just start eating right away just like we did...


To read more about this Suckling Pig, you can also visit this Food Editor's blog at Eating Asia.


CATCHING OUR OWN FISH FOR LUNCH

At one time when we were in Bird Park I picked up a brochure that tells me about a place where we can go fishing and eating too.

This quest to keep the kids happy so they can eat well is really getting tougher after Bebek Bengil because that place is so good. But I welcome the challenge.

To be honest I kind of taking a chance because I have never heard about this place. And the kids has never been to a fishing trip before so I do not know weather they will like to fish or not.

But soon after we arrived in this place I can tell the kids will have a great time. That partly because in this place, we can rent a gazebo that rested above the water and it is private. Only us will use this place. Not only that when we rented the gazebo, it automatically comes with an fishing assistant. He will take care of everything for us regarding the fishing part. So if I don't want to dirty my hands or worry that Kai Kai may hurt his fingers touching the hook than we just let the assistant take care all of that for us. But I have to admit, getting dirty while fishing is part of the fun.



To cut the story short, at that time the wind blows nonstop so none of us are sweating. And that's good, but on the other hand, it is difficult to cast the fishing line far when the wind keep blowing it back to the shore. So we only cought 4 fishes. 3 Milkfish and 1 Snapper.

Kai Kai that lucky boy caught the snapper. He is so proud that he get the best fish for his first catch ever !

Pic: The waiter suggest me to use the heads of the milkfish to make this yummy clear soup that I wish I know how to make it. It looks simple though, all I see in this soup is the fish head, a lot of ginger, green onion and tomatoes and a sprinkle of celery leaves. Maybe it taste great because the fishes are so fresh.




Pic: Kai Kai proudly showing off the sweet and sour snapper that he caught himself.

Pic: Totally fried until too hard to eat .... what a waste ...


Sate Lilit

Minced Seafood Satay




This is probably the most delicious satay you'll ever encounter.
The delicate flavours of the prawn and fish are greatly improved,
if you can find spears of fresh lemon grass to use as skewers,
and if you can cook them over a fire of coconut husks rather than charcoal.

Nonetheless, even when using wooden skewers and a normal charcoal grill
you'll have people coming back for more.

Ingredients:

300 g (10 oz) skinned boneless snapper fillet
300 g (10 oz) raw prawns, peeled
2 cups freshly grated coconut, or 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut, moistened
1/2 cup spice paste for seafood
5 fragrant lime leaves, cut in hair-like shreds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, finely crushed
2 teaspoons salt
3-5 green bird's-eye chillies, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
lemon grass, cut in 15 cm (6 in) length, or satay skewers

Combine snapper fillet (or other firm white fish) with prawns and mince very finely in a food processor or with a chopper. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Mould a heaped tablespoon of this mixture around over trimmed stalks of lemon grass or around a wooden skewer and grill over charcoal until golden brown.

Helpful hint:
It is important to use fresh prawns and fish for this dish as thawed frozen seafood exudes too much moisture. The brown sugar not only adds a touch of sweetness but helps give the slightly charred exterior typical of Balinese satay.

Selamat makan!


Celeng Guling (Babi Guling)

Balinese Suckling Pig




If there is just one dish people remember after a visit to Bali,
it's this famous delicacy, usually known by its Indonesian name, Babi Guling.

Ingredients:

1 suckling pig, weighing about 6-8 kg (13-17 lb)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
10 shallots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 cm (2 in) ginger, peeled and chopped
15 candlenuts, chopped
10 cm (4 in) fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
5 cm (2 in) laosfinely chopped
25-30 bird's-eye chillies
10 stalks lemon grass, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste, roasted
5 fragrant lime leaves, finely shredded
2 salamleaves
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons turmeric water

Ensure the inside of the suckling pig is completely cleaned out. Season inside and outside with salt.

Combine all other ingredients, except turmeric water, and mix thoroughly. Fill the inside of the suckling pig with this mixture, close the belly with string or thin satay skewers. Rub the outside of the pig with turmeric water until the skin is shiny yellow. Place the suckling pig on a roasting rack and roast in hot oven (220°C/425°F) for approximately one hour. Rest for 10 minutes in warm place before serving.

When serving, first remove the crisp skin with a strong carving knife, then loosen meat from the bones and cut into even dice or slices. Place a heaped tablespoon of stuffing on each serving plate, then top with meat and skin. Traditionally this dish is eaten with Jukut Nangka Mekuah and steamed rice.

Helpful hint:
If you have a large barbecue with a rotisserie or constantly turning spit, you can cook the pig over charcoal for an authentic Balinese flavour.

Selamat makan!


MORE PHOTOS:


Pic: Somebody sells this pure honey on the street. Interesting ....

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