ONE of the main roads in Canggu is Jalan Batu Bolong, and possibly the busiest. The Batu Bolong Beach, one of the popular surfing spots in Bali, at the end of the road accounts for the traffic.
Where the tourists go, commercialism follows. Villas are quick to take over the scenic rice paddies, and restaurants and boutiques open shop along the beaten paths to capture a share of the market.
Being a newbie in the area, I tagged along the surfers, friends who frequent the area, to their restaurants, also known as “warungs,” of choice along Jalan Batu Bolong.
Most of the warungs, I believe, are the equivalent to the Pinoy’s “turo-turo,” although menus are also available for a la carte orders. Diners would point at the dishes they want and the servers would top the rice with these choices. Voila! rice toppings! Only it is served on wax paper for dine in (with a plate under) or take out (folded in conical shape).
For the sake of “cultural immersion,” I broke my no meat diet on my first Bali meal, no less. I took a bite of Bali’s famous dish, the Babi guling aka roasted suckling pig aka lechon. The pig is stuffed and infused with a spicy mixture that includes turmeric, which makes “extra rice, please” in order. Like I keep saying, If I have to eat meat, it better be good.
This one didn’t disappoint.
The pork dish went well with my vegetable picks from Warung Bu Mi (on No. 52). With so many choices, I managed to pick by the most attractive color and the vegetables familiar to me. Trying to narrow down my pickings to a few was strenuous, as everything looked delicious.
The price depends on what and how many you pick. The four choices I made that came with rice amounted to 15K or Php 51.
Betelnut Café (on No. 60) is a two-storey structure with an alfresco dining on the upper level with a view overlooking the road and the rice paddy across. It’s a favorite with the locals however we were the only brown skinned diners in the full house dining area.
This café offerings will make vegetarians and pollo-pescetarians smile, but they do serve beef so as not to drive away the red meat lovers.
From rolls to salads, wraps to sandwiches, wheat grass shots to vegetable juices, the healthy choices dominate the menu. The Tofu Summer Roll is rice paper roll with marinated tofu and crispy Asian salad (25K) and the Chicken Avo wrap is marinated chicken breast, avocado, sundried tomatoes, mayo and mixed greens (50K) are two.
From the five burgers, I opted for the Fish Bumbu Burger- minced fish with lemongrass, crispy slaw, fresh tomato, mixed greens and lime mayo in a toasted whole wheat bun (55k or Php 187.50). It was tasty as it was filling.
Dandelion Café (No. 10) is a fancier joint. It’s small yet charming like a Balinese home with an open plan converted into a restaurant with a relaxing view of the rice field beyond the small backyard garden. It serves Indonesian cuisine which are cooked the traditional way using only fresh ingredients, which makes the dishes tastier and richer in flavor.
With that considered, I ordered the Nasi Goreng with chicken and skewer of vegetables (45K), which is prepared with a secret family recipe. The secret you can probably kill for, the dish was delicious. I paired it with an iced cooler o Jahoda- fresh strawberry, mint and honey (25K).
The are several more restaurant along Jalan Botu Bolong and around Canggu I would love to try but given the limited time, I cannot. But that’s something to look forward to.
[For more photos about this story, & other travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/]