Travelling abroad and eating quality food is hard enough when you have to think about budget, let alone when you’re a backpacker. Bali is the perfect destination to allow you to indulge your taste buds and eat quality food, whether you are on backpacker’s budget, or a billionaire’s.
Bali is sensory overload in the best possible way. Every corner has a street food vendor, and there is always the odd chicken running around. Don’t be afraid to eat street food in Indonesia, it’s often fresher than some restaurants. Use the rule of thumb; ‘if there’s a queue it’s for you’, and you can’t go wrong.
Not only does Bali offer local food at affordable prices, it also has a surprisingly wonderful range of vegan and vegetarian options, which exceeds the quality of most Western eateries. In fact most of the big towns have several vegan cafes to delight you with tropical smoothie bowls, fermented food, and a multitude of extra superfood toppings.
Follow our food and drink guide to Bali and have a lazy tropical brunch after yoga, indulge in dinner after a day on the beach, and have a drink underneath the stars at the coolest bars on the island.
This chic marble topped eatery with brightly painted wire chairs is jam packed most of the time. Get there for an early brunch of acai bowls, potato rosti with ricotta, or a freshly made juice.
Crate Café, Cenggu
Cute surfers with sea washed hair flock to this beach café that has no walls, serves smoothie bowls with a smile, and has the best servers who remember your name if you pop in more than twice. Choose between fresh sourdough and eggs with avocado (a classic yet still amazing!), crate breakfast plate with all the trimmings, or simply a fresh coconut cut open for you to enjoy. Leave your Polaroid on the wall to be part of the Crate Café family.
Yoga Barn Kafe, Ubud
Nestled in the mountains Yoga Barn is exactly what is says on the tin. A favorite to yogis who literally flock here in the hundreds their ‘kafé’ is constantly full. At this no plastic cafe, even the straws made of plant stems. Everything is freshly made on site from gluten free breakfast cakes, to my personal favourite raw granola with cashew milk, as well as a range of Ayurvedic dishes this is the healthiest of brunch places on the island!
Bisma Eight, Ubud
Treat yourself to eating in this gorgeous hotel where you can sit on the roof with stars above you and listen the monkeys swing in the trees in the valley below. Sustainability and local produce is a part of the hotel’s ethos; they grow their fresh produce from their very own community gardens, and their menus infuse local flavours and techniques with modern cuisine.
Motel Mexicola, Seminyak
I know Mexican food in Indonesia seems strange, but this hotspot is run by Mexicans, and having lived in Mexico for 5 years I can vouch that it is truly authentic. Ask your wait staff for their top choices; we were given freshly fried fish tacos with coriander and avocado salsa, chorizo and cheese tortillas, plus some extra spicy empanadas. All washed down with the odd margarita. Make sure you come here for a drink even if you don’t eat!
This nighttime hotspot is as famous for it’s motorbike workshop as it is for its food. With a regular outdoor movie night you can order a stone baked pizza, an amazingly juicy burger, or a bowl of pasta; all of which are fabulous. The bartender will even make you a cocktail to go with your dish, just ask!
Down to Earth, Ubud
Follow your vegan instincts to this café and sit on it’s terrace overlooking the paddy fields that sit just outside of the town. The Mediterranean plate is delicious as well as the nutrient nourisher smoothie and earth platter…all of which make great dinner food.
The Onion Collective, Ubud
This hostel is super duper friendly with owners Mark and Kadek helping residents and non residents alike with top tips around town. They have open mike nights, a local band playing, and a pool to hang out in whilst you sip your drinks. These guys make fab cocktails, cold beers and offer great company.
Potato Head, Seminyak
Whilst dinner here may be out of budget at Potato Head, drinks here are a must. Take the time to visit this hotel that sits on the beach, has an infinity pool, and has a decor that will blow your mind.
Jungle Fish, Ubud
Day drinking is most definitely allowed when in the sunshine, so take a moped and go visit this in the middle of the jungle resort. Infinity pool, monkeys and cocktails await, all whilst soaking up the sun.
Single Fin Bar, Blue Point Beach
This one is way out of town on the southern tip of the island, but well worth a visit for a night or so. Watch the sunset as you sip a cocktail and look down onto the ocean and listen to the waves rolling to the sound of the Dj’s. Great cocktails, good fun and a great location!
Jette Virdi is a Dublin-based food stylist and creative entrepreneur. With a portfolio including clients such as Rozanna Purcell, Rachel Allen and Bord Bia, she’s your girl if you need an evocative image or event. Well known within the food industry, she consults with Irish brands to create and style recipes, to design and manage product launches and and hosts creative corporate workshops that boost productivity and team performance in the workplace. For more information and to contact Jette for a project go to jettevirdi.com.
For recipes and more visit her blog.