Remember about the idea of me exploring more Indonesian local foods and write a series of blog post about Taste of Indonesia? Well, the first one went really well nearly a month ago. I wrote about BPK, the famous Karo-styled roast pig from North Sumatra, Indonesia. And everyone was like : “Look at that! You make me hungry.” or “God! It does look really good. It’s been ages since the last time I had BPK”. Well, you know, things like that.
And for now, since I just got back from Bali, I’m gonna write a brief review about the famous Nasi Ayam Bali (Balinese Chicken Rice). I know.. I know.. People might be expecting that I write about Balinese Suckling Pig instead since that’s the only thing people would probably think about Balinese dish. But I found it to be overrated. And besides, I like this Nasi Ayam even better!
So… what exactly is Nasi Ayam Bali?
Well… I found it to be a set of meal consisting of steam rice, Balinese shredded chicken, some vegetables, sate lilit (minced fish satay), peanuts, chicken skin, and a slice of boiled egg. Yes, it might not look tempting for some people. And without the veggies, it’ll be too dry.
I didn’t even think I’ll finish mine at the first time. But then, I found myself enjoying every bite of it.
It tasted exactly like any other Balinese cooking – sweet, kinda spicy but not so much, and so rich in flavor of traditional herbs. And the taste of each ingredients somehow blend with each other really well. There are no part of the dish tasted stronger and more dominant than the other – that’s what I call by The Taste of Bali. And the more important thing is… they use fresh ingredients! So it tasted just like what local dish should be. Fresh and authentic.
A part of Balinese cuisine you should never forget is the delicious sambal matah. I love it! It’s some kind of Balinese style raw sambal with Lombok chilli, onions, oils, and many other things.
Believe it or not? I never found nor heard about sambal matah else where. My first impression about sambal matah wasn’t very great. It didn’t look tasty at all for me. Instead, it looks really raw and oily. And it’s a kind of complement you would want to put away. Not a kind of chili sauce you’ll dip your chicken into. But later I found it to be a perfect sambal for both grilled chicken or fish.
I even asked my friend who’s been living in Bali for years about how to make sambal matah at home. The basic ingredients are only Lombok chilies (it’s small and fat), garlic, onions, lemon grass, and virgin coconut oil. But you can also use olive oil if you like the smell of it. And just like any other Indonesians, Balinese also loves to use grated terasi (dried shrimp paste) as one of the ingredients for making sambal matah. Just to build up a stronger flavor and smell.
Got a sense of what it tasted like?
Well, herbs and spices are very essential in Indonesian cooking – Balinese is no exception. So you might find a complicated ingredients in Indonesian dish recipe. And each island does have their own local taste. Balinese cuisine usually has a rich flavor of herbs and a spicier taste than the one in Java island. While the local foods in Sumatra tend to be hot and spicy and rich of coconut milk.
Ah, Indonesia does offer so many kind of foods I can’t refuse. I really can’t wait for my next local food tasting experience!