If you are an adventurous traveler and downing worms and scorpions is something on your bucket list, then Bali can certainly be challenging. Crazily spicy, wiggly, weird… You have truly sunk into Bali culture once you tried dishes below. And this is just the first part of our guide!
Lawar Merah — Exotic Balinese Salad
The word for this iconic dish literally means ‘thinly sliced’ in Balinese. It’s basically the Balinese version of coleslaw, but instead of cabbage and carrots, you throw in tropical ingredients, such as young unripe jackfruit, coconut, string beans spiced with shrimp paste, turmeric, galangal, and other exotic spices. You can find various versions of the dish pretty much everywhere in Bali, from the humble roadside shacks to the fancy fine dining restaurants.
So what’s so bizarre about it? Another key ingredient used in lawar is raw pig’s blood – that’s how the dish got its reddish colour. So the next time someone asks you: “Bani ngajeng lawar?” (Are you brave enough to eat lawar?), you know what you are getting into.
Lawar Nyawan — Crunchy Bee Larvae Salad
In another twist to the Balinese salad, instead of pig’s blood, this one uses bee larvae. The crunchy larvae are extracted from the honeycomb by boiling the hive, and the usual lawar spices and young unripe papaya are then added to the mixture, resulting in a spicy sweet light crunchy salad. Beehives are not commonly found in the produce market and are getting increasingly difficult to source for. The result? The surprisingly tasty dish has thus become a rare delicacy. And do you know, eating the larvae is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure too?
Sate or satay is a word used to describe any food item prepared and served with a skewer. Susu means milk. So does satay susu mean skewered milk? Not really. It’s actually skewered cow udders. At a glance, it may look like any other satay made from white meat, but you’ll recognize this by its chewy texture. Considered a delicacy, Sate Susu can only be found during the holy month of Ramadhan.This is actually a dish commonly eaten by migrant Javanese, since Balinese are Hindu. You can look out for them at the food market along Jalan Ahmad Yani, and be fast to grab them as it will all be snatched up after breaking the fast!■