Mar 17 2011

Eating at Sanur night market

Published by at 7:24 am under Food,Sanur


Sanur’s night market recently underwent a refurbishment of sorts, and the outcome is a much more spacious and even organised affair. But the same old warungs in the food section continue to plate their specialties from around the Indonesian archipelago.

Chef encourages flames to cook sate ayam

Chef encourages flames to cook sate ayam

This is a good market to eat at as a tourist. Firstly, it’s “authentic” (freshly hung and quartered goat, anyone?), and popular with locals, many of whom park their motorbikes and dash in for takeaway. And secondly, the stallholders are used to foreigners, so even if they don’t speak too much English and your Indonesian is limited to “nasi goreng”, they’ll be patient.

If you’ve spent all your time being fine-dined at your hotel in Sanur, this market makes for a fine counterpoint. Your usual market standards are on offer here: all kinds of fried food, sate, fried rice, fried noodles, a range of curries and stir fries, goat soup, and for dessert, martabak and ices. Last night I went for old-fashioned chicken sate with rice.

Chef rapidly turns chicken sate sticks

Chef rapidly turns chicken sate sticks

While I can speak enough Indonesian to order, I heard a few foreigners come up and order “20 sticks” and be easily understood. My fast food Indonesian-style took about 10 minutes to be plated — there was a bit of a queue. The meat was doused in a totally unchillified sauce, squirted with extra kecap manis, and spread out over the fiery coals.

While I was waiting I wandered over to a drink stall and ordered a pineapple shake. Actually, to be honest, at first I tried to order a coconut one and was pointed toward another stall. But there was a coconut, right there… wasn’t there? Alas, it was a little watermelon. Aduh! So I went with pineapple and was offered it with either sweetened milk or lemon. I took lemon, it was blended up with ice and set me back 7,000 rupiah.

Selection of fruits to be whipped into a juice or shake

Selection of fruits to be whipped into a juice or shake, including a watermelon disguised as a coconut

Still filling in time, I watched Mr Fried Rice at work behind the stall below. The menu shown here is quite typical of any Indonesian market: fried rice, noodles, stir-fried vegetables.

Chef fries huge wok of rice for waiting diners

Chef fries wok of rice for waiting empty tummies

The chef filled a HUGE wok with rice and veggies, stir-frying the lot while shaking in chilli sauce and kecap manis. Eventually mounds were dumped onto squares of waiting brown paper before being neatly wrapped and handed to salivating takeaway customers.

Typical menu at wok stall

Typical menu at wok stall

My sate was ready and pretty delicious. The meat easily came off the serving of 10 sticks and wasn’t too fatty or tough. The rich sauce was plenty to flavour the white rice served on the side. I ordered a second lot to take away, and the total came in at 24,000 rupiah.

Muslim warung at Sanur night market

Muslim warung at Sanur night market

Next I popped around to another stall for a point and pick takeaway. A few pieces of meat (chicken curry, prawn patty, fried chicken and what turned out to be pork tongue, we think) and veggies (a crunchy green bean and chilli concoction) came in at 19,000 rupiah. This time, I skipped the fried foods, though there were certainly enough to go around…

Man peruses fried delectables

Man peruses fried delectables

All in all, if you’re staying in the Sanur area, definitely consider a wander through the market for a meal for a typical local eating experience. Pull up a plastic chair, grab a Teh Botol and enjoy watching the passing crowd.

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