The tropical View Cafe is located next to the Monkey Forest on the Monkey Forest Road, and like the name says, it has a tropical view of rice fields.
We had been reluctant to go here as it seemed like it is made to cater for the hoards of tourists that visit the neighbouring Monkey Forest. However, we were surprised to find that the food’s not that bad and the prices reasonable.
I believe you can make a judgement about a restaurant by their burger, and they made a decent effort at this, by Bali standards.
Need to Know: Located a short walk east along from the main Monkey Forest entrance on the Ubud side. Free WIFI is available.
Uma Mandi is a very small coffee shop on Jalan Penestanan, a little out the back of the main village of Penestanan, next to Zest Cantika spa.
This place is nestled neatly between rice paddies and is away from the busy streets of Ubud town centre. They claim to have the best coffee, and I would have to agree! The coffee is fantastic for Bali standards. Plus you just can’t beat the relaxing spot they are in, it makes all your worries vanish. They also serve a variety of drinks, from hot and cold coffee to milkshakes and juices.
It is situated out the front of some villas (Mandi Villlas), and the building itself is small and stands alone, but the set up is really cute, and quirky! It is worth a stop, to relax before getting a massage next door.
A simple but lovely recipe for a popular green vegetable in Bali called kangkung, or water spinach. Totally overused in Bali as it grows so well. It is not an overly exciting green, so you could use something different if you like, or if you can’t find it.
large bunch of water spinach (or other green veg)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
salt to taste
Fry up the onion, garlic and chili until soft
Add the tomato and sauces for 2 minutes
Add in the water spinach on high heat, and toss to cook and cover with the sauce.
Eat on its own or serve with the ayam sambal matah
Another splendid Indonesian dish, that smacks you in the mouth with flavour galore. This has to be one of our favourite meals eaten during our time in Bali. So simple to prepare, with minimal cooking, and delicious. Technically this is actually sambal matah sereh (lemongrass), as the original recipe uses torch ginger flowers instead of the lemongrass, which is equally ‘smack in the mouth’ delicious.
2 sticks of lemongrass ,
5 shallots, finely sliced
juice of 1 kafir lime (regular lime would be OK)
2 small chili (hot ones)
1/4 large red chili (not-so-hot one)
150g chicken (ayam) marinated in Tbs kecap manis and a little salt
Smash and finely slice the lemongrass, finely slice the shallots and both chilies.
Mix all these together with the lime juice, massage together with your fingers (this is where the love comes in to the dish) then let it all rest while you…
Chop the chicken into large squares, and fry with oil on high heat until dark golden brown and close to crispy. Let it cool a little before shredding the chicken apart.
Lightly mix the pulled chicken with the spicy sambal mix, and serve with some vegetables (recipes to come)
My mouth is salivating just writing this recipe up, OMG. YOu will love this flavour if you love spicy food. Enjoy.
This dish I made at a cooking class at one of my fave restaurants, D’Warung with Kadek! It tasted absolutely delicious, at first I was hoping I could share the taste but in the end I was glad to eat it all myself – ahh so selfish but yummy.
300ml coconut milk (fresh is so good, but tinned versions are fine if you’re not in the tropics)
Any type of meat or vegetable can be used (I used chicken and lots of different vegetables)
3 garlic cloves
3 candlenut (or macadamia nut)
1 lemongrass stick
fresh chilli (number depends on desired spice level)
4-5 bay leaves (again fresh is best, but dried can work too)
finger size ginger root
finger size aromatic ginger root (kuncir)
finger size tumeric root (kunyit)
Finely chop, dice, cut up all the spice ingredients. Do this until all are very finely ground. By hand this took a very long time (although I enjoyed some nice conversation with my mentor). If you are in more of a hurry you could throw them all in a spice blender to save time.
Fry the spice mix in a little oil until fragrant
Add the coconut milk
Add the chicken cook for a few minutes, then add pre-cooked potato, then the other vegetables in reverse order of cooking time, with green beans added on high heat for the last 2-3 minutes to preserve the bright green colour.
Serve with steamed white rice and enjoy!
This spice mix can also be the base for soups or spicy meat dishes. It has a great all round robust flavour.
Babi Kecap, which means pork in sweet sauce, is another of our favourite Balinese meals. Pork is common in Bali, but not in Indonesia being a muslim country who don’t eat pork. The flavour is based on the famous Indonesian sauce Kecap Manis – sweet soy sauce, which gives a lovely sticky sweet but savoury dish. This is a modified recipe of my own liking. Try it and see if you like it too.
500g pork (the fatty cuts are often used but I like to use a trim version)
5 shallots, finely sliced
2-4 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
3cm fresh ginger root, finley chopped
30g dark sugar (palm sugar if you can source it) (less if you don’t want it too sweet or if using regular white sugar as this is more sweet)
1/2 cup kecap manis
2 cups of water
Vegetables like mushroom, capsicum, and green beans all go well with this dish.
Coat the diced pork with the flour. Fry in a little oil in a shallow fry pan until browned. Remove from pan on paper towel
Fry onions, garlic and ginger in a little oil until soft, then add back the cooked pork meat.
Add in the Kecap Manis, sugar and water, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer.
If adding vegetables it depends on the individual vegetables cooking time. I add mushroom at the beginning as they hold well on cooking, and capsicum in the last 5-7 minutes, green beans in the last 2-3 minutes. Or to your liking.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened
Add lemon juice and pepper right at the end
Serve with steamed white, red or brown rice
Some recipes add in grated nutmeg, the locals do this too. I find it hard to source, although if you had nutmeg powder this might do the trick, however I hardly notice the difference with or without!
The Warung Bakso Jamur is another new restaurant, located in Nyuh Kuning, on Jln Raya Nyuh Kuning not far from the Bali Cultural Centre (BCC).
As the restaurant name implies, their speciality is mushroom soup, and that is pretty much all you can get. The food is very delicious, and the place clean and cheap. If you are after a bowl of bakso, this is a good option rather than the roadside setups that may not have as good a hygiene standard.
The restaurant is run by some local disabled people, and you eating here helps to support their group. They also have some products available to purchase which can also help support them.
As the name suggests, the Ayam Ayam restaurant in Ubud specialises in chicken dishes. It is located at Jl. Hanoman No.73, just opposite Cocos Supermarket.
The restaurant opened in 2014, and I visited just after it had opened. The dish that stood out to me was the fried rice with zucchini and pineapple. It was great to see a variation from the standard Nasi Goreng from most menus.
The potato wedges were also the most impressive we have seen in Bali
Here is a banner from the front of the store which gives you an idea of some of the other dishes they have have on the menu.
This restaurant has been talked up for its quality food, and it didn’t disappoint. The dish above was a corn polenta with mushrooms, and it was amazing. Not quite what I was expecting, but much better! It was a baked dish, so it took some time to serve, but was absolutely worth it in the end, the texture was creamy, and the flavours even better.
The empanadas, were also really tasty. Deep fried with a fabulous flavourful filling. It was served with a lovely salsa which matched the flavours nicely. From memory I also think we got some complimentary bread on arrival, home baked and tasty verde salsa and butter as sides.
Ceviche, a classic south american raw fish dish. The flavours in this really hit you at first. It came as a cold soup, served with nice bread to soak it all up. Some tender fish (I forget the type), crunchy corn and red onion) and a super tangy (its made with lime juice) soup. You won’t forget this flavour any time soon, it works so well.
The setting is nice, it is located on Jalan Dewi Sita opening onto the busy street. There are only a few tables, so get in early or book a table to reserve your spot. The night we went it was very busy, and that was early days. The owner/chef was also very hospitable coming out to the tables to greet and talk to customers, a very nice touch.
Tempe Manis is one of our favourite meals from Bali. It can be part of a meal, or good enough to simply eat as a snack, delicious. This recipe is so simple and easy to make, you’ll be licking your fingers in no time!
250g tempe, cut into small cubes or rectangles
2 garlic cloves
1 long red chili
1.5cm ginger root
3 Tbs kecap manis
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
40g of palm sugar (can use brown sugar)
other ingredients that you can add in include:
kafir lime leaf, finely sliced
lemongrass, a whole bashed stick to release the flavour
galangal (possibly instead of the ginger, but it is not a common to find in some places)
a squeeze of lime juice
1. heat some oil and fry the tempe pieces until golden brown, set them aside on a paper towel
2. fry the onion, garlic, chili, ginger and coriander until soft
3. add the water, kecap manis, and sugar to taste, simmer until reduced by half
4. add the tempe back, mix together till the tempe is nicely glazed