Warung Murah

Tasty food at low prices

What we say: 3.5 stars

I kicked off a series on cheap Indonesian food in Seminyak a while back and am continuing with a little post on Warung Murah, which translates, literally, as cheap roadside restaurant. Located on busy Jalan Laksmana/Oberoi/Eat Street, it’s actually better than roadside, being a proper three-walled restaurant, but the food mentality here is the same: fast and fresh, as it says right here on the can.

What they say.

What they say.

Decor is old school, with absolutely no frills, but it’s clean and spacious, and set back far enough that the traffic noise recedes (at least a little). Choose between ordering from the menu or you can simply point and pick at dishes in the window and mini-bainmaries — don’t be shy, lift those lids to see what’s on offer underneath.

On the menu is a range of Asian food, with an emphasis on local — Balinese, Indonesian, Chinese and plain old local. Kick off with something like a tuna or avocado/shrimp salad ( 20,000/18,000 rupiah) or spring rolls (12,000 for veggie ones). Move on to mains like Balinese dishes ayam betutu (chicken with Balinese spices, 29,000 rupiah) and plain old plecing kangkung (greens with chilli sauce, 9,000), Chinese/Indonesian dishes like a few sweet and sours and fried rice (12,000 vegie, 27,000 special) or Indonesian dishes such as satay or gado-gado (15,000 rupiah). There are a few Thai dishes plus blander international fare such as tuna steak with garlic sauce (33,000).

Like the food, drinks are a little higher than real warung prices but still affordable — 20,000/31,000 for a small/large Bintang, 12,000 for a coconut and 35,000 for Hatten wine by the glass — they also do fresh juices. This is local food made foreigner-friendly without too big a markup in price, and without going too easy on the spice either. My sambal really hit the spot and tear ducts.

Just eat it.

Just eat it.

On my last visit I went for point and pick and got what’s pictured above. We paid 22,000 rupiah for a plate of nasi campur: red rice, mixed veggies, beef rendang, chilli chicken, fried tempeh, chicken egg, and sweet and sour tofu, plus a whack of fiery sambal on the side. It was a hearty serving, service was prompt and turnover here is indeed fast so I wasn’t worried about the food sitting around for too long prior to my arrival.

The dessert menu is short and sweet (boom tish!) — try black rice pudding (7,000 rupiah), fried banana with ice cream (17,000 rupiah) or if you really want to get into Asian desserts, you’ve got to try the avocado with ice cream and chocolate (15,000 rupiah). I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m convinced avocado works well with chocolate having tried smoothies.

Local but foreigner-friendly.

Local but foreigner-friendly.

Warung Murah is popular with locals — and visiting Indonesians from outside Bali — as well as expats in the know, and there’s a fair amount of foot traffic as well; if you’re staying in a Seminyak hotel and shopping along this street, it’s a good stop-in for a quick and cheap lunch. If you want to go even more local — no English menu that we’re aware of, anyway — try Warung Aneka just up the road a little, or if you want to go a bit more upmarket, Cafe Bali is right next door (you can actually pick up Cafe Bali’s free WiFi from Warung Murah if you already know the password, but shhhh I didn’t tell you that).

Contact details
Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak (next door to Cafe Bali)
About the author
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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