Oct 28 2011
We did a part 1 to our waist-busting series on Bali’s babi guling some time ago, and though I only have two restaurants to add at the moment thought it worth jotting them down, though only the first was memorable.
First up: Babi Guling Negari. You’ll find this spotlessly clean joint specialising in our favourite dish in Gianyar, on the left side of the road heading toward Ubud via the Tohpati turnoff in Sanur (the one that goes via the Bird Park).
I’ve tried this place twice now and each time was similarly good. The crackling was served as a generous portion and was truly exquisite, shattering in the mouth at once to melt to nothing. Yummo — if you’re big on crackling, this place should make you ecstatic. The serving of meat was on the smallish side, but it was tender and juicey, if slightly salty, but no more so than Ibu Oka’s (the saltiness is our main complaint about the most famed place to tuck into babi guling in Bali). Two chunks of sausage served on the side were tasty (I am really growing to love babi sausage) and the broth-in-a-bowl was a little on the watery side. A few chunks of offal-y bits completed the offerings — I should know what these bits are, I know, I know, but I think I prefer not to. Some orangey fluffy balls of something very fatty were melt-in-the-mouth delicious — definitely don’t want to know what they were, thanks.
The dish alas came sans sambal — the lemongrass-style one that they at least serve at Sanur, my regular spot, is really a huge part of my love for babi, so that was a bit disappointing.
I only noted the price properly the second time and it seemed like we may have suffered bule price inflation — 40,000 rupiah for eat in, 20,000 rupiah for takeaway when questioned on it? Though to be fair something may have been lost in translation, and with crackling that good, I’m not going to quibble over an extra buck or two.
On the Travelfish.org Bali Babgul Scale, this spot comes in at 3/5.
(PS. I recommend a stop at Gaya Gelato, 20 minutes’ or so drive to the north, for dessert.)
Second stop: I had read about a spot near Petitenget temple in Seminyak that serves good babi, but I only had that much information to go on. Duwipayana Babi Guling is tucked away in a cluster of warungs just behind the temple, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m pretty game when it comes to eating anywhere on the street or at holes in the wall — and this, really, is a hole in the wall. But this spot was a bit too grotty even for me.
Still in the name of research, I ordered a plate of campur babi guling (25,000 rupiah) — and let’s just say my expectations had been appropriately set by the look of the joint.
I must say I loved the unintentionally retro-cool plates (chips and all!), but the dish itself was on the shabby side, with just a few tiny chunks of meat, a tiny piece of crackling, a lot of offal-y bits and a scoopful of what I presume was lawar (and via that linked post, here’s a video of lawar being made). Lawar’s special ingredient is raw pig’s blood. I couldn’t try it, folks, knowing that, which may disqualify me from being an appropriate reviewer, but there you have it. I would have asked but I had a cranky, squirming, eventually screaming three-year-old with me so it was too tricky. The side-broth was okay. On the Travelfish.org Bali Babgul Scale: 1.5/5.
The staff were friendly though, and my stomach was quite happy with what I put into it, so if you’re on a mission to try all the babi you can, don’t be too put off. This spot has the added benefit of being just a five-minute walk away from La Lucciola, so you can always go there for a splurge-y scoop of ice cream. (You heard already that, uh, babi goes well with an ice cream chaser?)
I know we had some good suggestions from people last time for places to try, and I’ll be doing those, but if anyone has any additional suggestions, please do let me know in the comments.
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