Exotic Food in Bali

Last month in April I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful archipelago of Indonesia, spending the majority of my time on the striking and colorful island of Bali. Everywhere you turn in Bali you see a rainbow of colors and flavors. From the fields of lush green rice paddies, the aromatic orange offerings being burnt at every house, and the beautiful ocean, filled with green waves and pro surfers filming their best moves for the next great surf film, Bali is a place seemingly designed to delight all of your senses.

The day starts in Bali with a rainbow assortment of freshly blended fruit juices. Fruits that start with a “P” seem to take center stage: passion fruit, pineapple and papaya all make appearances in the daily fruit blends being offered at every restaurant or beach shack along Canggu beach. Unlike other tropical destinations in South East Asia, you won’t find the oreo cookie smoothies and fried dough delights in Bali. Instead, Bali is full of mostly healthy food offerings to appease it’s crowd of health conscious yogis and surfers.

One of the most memorable meals we had was at a beach front shack on Crystal Beach on the island of Nusa Penida, about a 40 minute boat ride from Bali. The fishermen there take their spider boats into the crystal waters, expertly navigating past the young Indonesian surfers to catch fresh fish; anything ranging from Wahoo, Mahi – Mahi, Spanish Mackerel, Tuna and even Barracuda. The freshly caught fish is then distributed to the various beach front shacks and grilled right on the beach. It is served simply with a side of rice and hot sauce, and tastes equal parts comfort food and delicacy. The shacks on Crystal Beach have some of the most delicious grilled fish I have ever experienced on any tropical island, and the setting truly couldn’t be any more beautiful.

Back on Bali for dinner, two spectacular places to eat dinner and watch the sunset near Seminyak are at the Potato Head Beach club and Finn’s Beach club’s. Both offer creative menus, expansive infinity pools overlooking the ocean, and great DJ’s that play throughout the night. The shrimp rolls at Potato Head were great finger food and easy to manage while soaking up the sunset in the massive infinity pool. And the most memorable item at Finn’s was by far the Passion Fruit Panna Cotta, made with coconut cream and served with a fresh and nutty biscotti on the side. It’s good enough to keep coming back for day after day.

But lastly, no trip to Bali would truly be complete without befriending some of the macaque monkeys that rule the island. Come with the expectation that any snacks you bring will get quickly stolen from you by the mischievous primates and enjoy this little slice of paradise with it’s most wayward residents for an afternoon. ?


Joan Cooper – A native of Florida, Joan has lived in the mid Atlantic for the past 8 years. She has traveled extensively across Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, learning about the cuisines of each region along the way. She thinks that the mid Atlantic region has an amazing variety of dining options and offers a unique flavor that no other part of the country can offer!


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