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Travel: Trip to Bali (Part 4 - LOVELY Ambiance, COSTLY Food)

>> Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We spent almost a full day 2 in Ubud/Tegal Lalang during our trip to Bali that we had quite some time to enjoy the view & some of their famous eateries. In this post, I'll be sharing 2 more eateries that we've experienced & my thoughts about the food & ambiance at each place.

We actually made our reservations for lunch at Teras Padi Café, Tegal Lalang, all for the ambiance (request for gazebo area)! Our cousin, Kris, told us to experience lunch amidst the paddy terrace at this place, something that you'll definitely not find in Peninsular Malaysia.

There are several cafes & restaurants over-looking the paddy terrace here at Tegal Lalang, but I reckon this cafe may be one of the better ones (else my cousin wouldn't have recommended it!). The one thing about such "touristy" area is that you'll have to pay an 'entrance fee' to get into/pass through the area. We had to pay Rp5,000 per vehicle, I think (1 time entry fees).

Paddy Terrace
It's not the season for paddy while we're there, but the load of grass & grenery sure made it look evergreen & lovely!

Panoramic View of the Café + Paddy Terrace

Frankly speaking, the taste of food at this café is nothing to boast. They have a limited menu as well, great for those who are simple, indecisive & plain hungry. You'll know what you want/don't want at a quick glance!

Without much trouble to decide, we quickly ordered our food & drinks before spending some time snapping photos :P

Whole Young Coconut (Rp20,000/ ~RM5.70)

Be Pasih Sambal Matah (Rp50,000/ ~RM14.15/serving)
This is a very simple version of a spicy fish dish. It's like compacted fish flakes into a 'cake', pan-fried & topped with some pickled chilies & onions. We found this 'fish cake' too dry for our liking as we're too used to having dishes with gravy since young, so this certainly was a one-time-off dish that we'll ever order if we come back again.

Nasi Kuning (Rp60,000/ ~RM16.98/serving)
Surprisingly, their nasi kuning is the best among the 3 dishes that we ordered that day. You'll find fluffy coconut-flavored rice dyed with the yellow turmeric & served with fried chicken, prawn crackers, chicken floss & egg rolls. Very simple, but tastes much better than the Be Pasih Sambal Matah. It's also dry (no gravy), so eating the rice with the spicy sambal does help a little.

Sate Lilit (Rp40,000/ ~RM11.30/serving)
Also another dry dish! Aiseh, I think Balinese cuisine is dry & the people here just enjoy the simplicity of food with a heap load of spicy sambal! The sate lilit are actually minced chicken, chillies, herbs & spices on sticks of lemongrass. Nothing very fantastic, really, but the minced chicken is quite fragrant.

Happiness at the paddy terrace!

Some craftwork sold near the restaurant - really pretty!!!

Will I make another trip here the next time? Hmm...maybe not so soon. I need to visit other places in Bali since Bali is actually such a large 'city'/state!

Teras Padi Cafe, Tegal Lalang
Jalan Raya Tegallalang (Tegallalang - Desa Cekingan)
Ubud, Bali
Tel: (+62) 361 7425789
FB: Teras Padi Cafe (I messaged them to make my reservation

On that same day, we had dinner at the renowned Dirty Duck Diner, Ubud. It's called Bebek Bengil or Dirty Duck in Indonesian because the restaurant's "first guests" were ducks that walked into the place on a rainy day with their muddy webbed feet (if I remember the story correctly). That name became the restaurant's name since it started in 1990, serving the original crispy duck.

One of the many ducky decos

Our gazebo/dining area
The thing about this place is that it's dark (very dark!) at night with minimal lighting & the place can be quite mozzie-filled :S Best to eat earlier & get back to your comfortable hotel room!

Nasi Bebek Bengil (Rp125,000/ ~RM35.37/serving)
Without much consideration, ordering the bebek bengil is a must when you're dining here for the 1st time. It was quite funny as we didn't have a clue on how the crispy duck would look like. My mum had the imagination of a 'peking roast duck', large duck with crispy roasted skin. I had similar imaginations as well, 'til the dish was served & we had to stare at it for a while in surprise! What a small duck!! But it's oh-so-crispy; even the bones are crunchy & edible...hahaha. Once again, it's dryyyyy....yummy duck, but too dry for our liking when we have plain white rice with the crispy fried duck.

Pickled beans: side dish that came with the rice

Assortment of chilies & pickles to go with the rice: SUPER SPICY!

Spaghetti Carbonara (Rp78,000/ ~RM22.07/serving)
Since we've had so many rice/local dishes in Bali already, we decided for a classic favorite of ours, the spaghetti carbonara. Well, not too bad considering it's a place for crispy duck with rice. It's a tad dry yet oily, but I love the pieces of pork bacon served with the pasta. Once again, nothing beats Vary Pasta back in PJ - value for money + tastes good + generous portion!

This side of a salad came with the pasta...nothing special.

I guess overall the food here is alright. The crispy duck is certainly delicious, but I don't think anything else is 'wow'. It's somewhat too pricey for the portion served as well. I need to look for another place with bebek goreng!

Bebek Bengil – Ubud
Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal

Ubud, Bali 80571
Telephone: +62 361 975489 / 977675
Fax: +62 361 975489

Business hours: Mon - Sun 10:00 a.m. - 23:00 p.m.
URL: http://bebekbengil.com
FB: Bebek Bengil - Official
Email: info@bebekbengil.com

Bebek Bengil – Nusa Dua Branch
BTDC Complex, Nusa Dua Beach

Bali, Indonesia.

Bebek Bengil – Jakarta Branch
The Ubud Building – Jalan H. Agus Salim

No: 132 Menteng
Jakarta 10310
Tel: +62 21 3918016 / 3917965 / 3918091
Fax: +62 21 3917721

Bebek Bengil – The Breeze BSD City
Unit Waterfront L#01
Jl. Grand Boulevard, BSD Green City
BSD City, Tangerang

Tel: 021-50386630

Paying touristy prices for 'tourist-famous' food,


Recipe: Moist & Fluffy Banana Cake

>> Tuesday, July 8, 2014

For the FIRST time in my life, I baked a banana cake & a successfully, nicely-browned cake! This little oven in my rented house hasn't been extremely cooperative, so it's a rare opportunity to get nicely browned cakes. I'm SO PROUD & happy to see this cake looking AND TASTING SO DELICIOUS!

Special thanks to myfoodtrail.com for the recipe :D

1 ½ cups self raising flour, sifted [I used 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour + 2 tsp baking powder + a pinch of salt]
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
¾ cup castor sugar, sifted
3 (or 2 large) very ripe bananas, mashed [I think I used approximately 1/2 cup full of mashed bananas?]
½ cup oil [I used corn oil]
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence [not in original recipe; I added for the additional fragrance]
2 tsp milk [I felt the original recipe was slightly dry when I began mixing, so I added approximately 2 tsp of milk]

1. Preheat oven to 150C and grease your baking tin. I used a round tin (not sure of the width)
2. Sift flour, sugar and bicarb soda into a bowl and mix together.
3. Make a well in the center and add bananas, eggs, vanilla essence and oil.
4. Using a large spoon, stir gently until mixture is smooth. IF the batter seems slightly dry, add the 2 tsp of milk, little by little, mixing the batter to test the consistency/liquidity. It shouldn't be too thick & lumpy nor should it be 'watery'.
5. Pour into cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
6. Turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool before icing (or leave it plain).

Enjoy!! :D

Love the success!!


Travel: Trip to Bali (Part 3 - LOCAL Food)

>> Monday, July 7, 2014

Bali, alike any Asian countries, is a land abundant in food options. More often than not, if you're keen to try their local dishes, it's very similar to the Malay food that we get back in Malaysia i.e. rice, rice, & rice! Of course, being a very tourist-driven land, Bali has tonnes of westernized food to offer, some of which are really recommended.

During our trip to Bali, the one place that we actually went TWICE is this unplanned restaurant near our 1st hotel (Sun Royal Hotel, Jln Sunset), Nasi Tempong Indra. If you're familiar with ayam penyet with rice back in Malaysia (it's an Indonesian dish by the way), this is very similar. This is a MUST try if you're staying around Seminyak, Legian or Kuta area & it's PerutBesi's top recommended place to eat for a local meal in Bali!

The Nasi Tempong Indra restaurant near Jln Sunset

So what exactly is nasi tempong?

The main characteristic that gives it its name "tempong" is the extremely spicy grounded chili paste that makes you feel 'slapped' & 'hot' on your face (meaning of 'tempong', an Osing language from Banyuwangi, East Jawa = slapped). Every nasi tempong is served with an assortment of blanched vegetables like spinach, aubergine & sweet gourd plus deep-fried tempe (fermented beans - VERY tasty!!), salted fish & a piece of fried tofu.

The high volume of orders!

Loads of vegetables :D
Your daily dose of fibre, vitamins, protein & carbohydrates

The CRAZILY explosive grounded chili paste

The variety of nasi tempong served here

Being 1st timers in experiencing the local nasi tempong, I have to say that we became instant fans to the tasty & wholesome rice dish. This restaurant is simple, spacious & clean, making the 1st dining experience at a local 'warung' a real pleasure :)

The spacious restaurant
If you're here after 7pm, this place can be quite packed, even on a weekday.

Our 1st trip there was on our FIRST night at Bali. Upon arrival around 9:00pm, we were just famished & wanted something decent to satisfy our hunger. Our driver, Komang, drove us around the hotel area & we ended up having nasi tempong at this restaurant (best decision!).

Nasi Tempong Pecel Lele Bakar (Rp29,000/ ~RM8.20/serving)
We had this for our 1st meal & we ordered the same during our 2nd time here as it was SO good! The grilled 'catfish' was very flavorful, slightly sweet, slightly spicy & savory. The charred taste was also evident & extremely aromatic. Yums! Catfish like this species have very 'sweet' meat, not many bones & very easy to eat/dissect. I loved the crispy tempe & the fried tofu as well (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside...not oily too!). The blanched vegetables are very 'al naturale' - fresh, texture that's just-right & well, without any salt/sugar taste added to it! Loved the fluffy rice as well & oh, the crazily explosive chili paste was something that we couldn't take. It was SPICY!!! But it was also SO GOOD! Gives a kick to the simple dish. We added some kicap manis to balance out the taste as well. It was just yummy!

Nasi Tempong Tempe Penyet (Rp20,000/ ~RM5.70/serving)
If you're not a fan of meat & just prefer something simple, healthy yet tasty, go for the tempe penyet. You'll have 1-2 LARGE pieces of flattened tempe, deep-fried 'til crispy to accompany your assortment of blanched vegetables. What a symphony of textures! :D I LOVED IT.

If you prefer chicken, we tried that too during our 1st night, but I forgot to bring my camera out of the hotel room, so I ended up using the handphone for photo-taking. Color isn't great, but taste of the dish wasn't compromised.

Nasi Tempong Ayam Goreng (Rp38,000/ ~RM10.75/serving)
You'll get a 1/4 chicken, deep-fried 'til it's slightly dry & crispy to accompany the blanched vegetables & rice. We prefer crispy & juicy fried chicken, but I know my cousin will surely love this!

Don't miss out trying the Nasi Tempong while you're at Bali!

Nasi Tempong Indra
Jln Dewi Sri, No. 788
Tel: 081 734 4949/ 081 2345 83033
Email: indra_is_pcman@yahoo.com 
URL: www.nasitempongindra.com/

Other outlets in Denpasar:
i. Jalan Imam Bonjol 253, Ruko Ganesha No. 12
ii. Jalan Marlboro (Teuku Umar Barat) no. 23D
iii. Jln Cok Agung Krisna 51C Renon
iv. Jln Teuku Umar 174C

The other local delicacy that's a must-try when you're in Bali is Babi Guling. Out of 10 persons who have been to Bali, at least 9/10 would say "Babi guling is a MUST try!".
Unfortunately, this is a non-halal rice dish, so to all my Muslim readers, just go & enjoy the nasi tempong 'til your heart's satisfied :) It's worth every mouthful.

Our itinerary was quite packed for the 5d4n trip, so babi guling wasn't exactly part of the plan. We wanted to have it, but our appetites weren't great (considerably small eaters although ruthless ones). We ended up packing nasi babi guling from a warung on our way to the airport before we left Bali so that we can enjoy a local delicacy at the airport while waiting for our flight! This was one decision that we never regretted! We've our driver for that day, Putu, to thank, for stopping us at this warung (he thinks this place has good babi guling at non-tourist prices) to get our dose of babi guling.

Babi guling is actually just roast/suckling pig. It makes me wonder why people are so crazy about this when we've much roast pig & roast pork available in Malaysia.

Each serving of nasi babi guling comes with an assortment of other piggy-condiments/lawar (mixture of vegetables, coconut and minced meat mixed with rich herbs and spices [wikipedia]). There's also pig's blood & "I've no idea what else" in this rice dish. It felt like a 'discovery channel' experience when we dug into our lunch before we flew off. Hahaha. What an experience with nasi babi guling. I don't think I'm a great fan of it although I've to say that the roast pig's skin is nice & crispy! :P

Nasi Babi Guling Biasa (Rp20,000/ ~RM5.70/serving)
If you want a "special" pack with more meat, it's Rp10,000 more. Since we just wanted to try & weren't very hungry, we decided to have the usual portion of meat instead of 'more meat' before we board the flight :S Oh, there were tonnes of 'hidden explosive mines' in the rice as well. Balinese just LOVE hiding chili padi in every rice dish!!

The more tourist-famous place for babi guling rice is at Ubud i.e. Babi Guling Ibu Oka. According to our driver, Putu, taste of the babi guling there isn't a far cry from the usual babi guling rice that you find everywhere else. In fact, you'll end up paying at least Rp10,000 - Rp30,000 more at the popular places like Ibu Oka's. So, I guess we didn't miss THAT much, or did we?

I'll have to make a trip to Babi Guling Ibu Oka some other time. But for now, I can at least say that I've tried nasi babi guling once in my lifetime!

More food posts to come! I've 2 more food post, each with 2-3 restaurants to share with all of you :D  
Stay tuned with The Ruthless Eater!

Local, non-tourist eateries are the way to go!


Travel: Trip to Bali (Part 2 - Hotel & Places)

>> Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our last 2 nights at Bali were spent at the established Diwangkara Holiday Villa, Sanur. It's on a different side of the beach at Bali, one where it's less crowded compared to the famous Kuta beach (I actually didn't get to visit Kuta beach during this trip!).

Diwangkara Holiday Villa has been around for quite some time & it features an authentic Balinese atmosphere in single-storey villas. Our superior room had 2 single beds in a very spacious room, 2.5 times the size of our room at Sun Royal Hotel in Legian! It was just the perfect accommodation after a LONG day of sight-seeing at Bali albeit being a much older accommodation :)

We had our 'welcome drink', a fruit-punch, which I felt was too sweet, before calling it a night. There was still day 4 to be excited about!

Day 4 featured a trip up north to the Uluwatu Temple, a quiet temple area over-looking the mighty waves crashing against the rocky cliffs. Amazing! I'm not a fan of temples, but I'm a die-hard fan of the lovely scenery that God paints - the blend of colors of the sea, the greens, the sky, the rocks...oh, I'm in awe! :)

Super-Love the Colors (of the wind...hahahaha)
I journeyed through this area alone as my mum wasn't feeling too well & my sister wasn't interested in visiting more temples. In fact, I didn't really visit the temple, but spent more time just enjoying the breeze on the cliffs!

Mighty Waves Crashing on the Rocky Cliffs

Waves Curling & Crashing
Puts me to awe at how God created such fantastic artwork for us to enjoy!

Uluwatu Temple by the Cliff (the pagoda-looking temple)

The Story of How the Temple Came About

Beware of monkeys!
According to the ticketing officers/lady who tied my 'sarong', I've to be very careful with the many monkeys roaming around the temple area. Thankfully there weren't THAT many wild monkeys around since I was walking alone. They were only at ONE specific area & not popping out from trees randomly (to scare any visitors that they want to).

View of the Temple from Another Side of the Cliffs

I think I spent approximately 1.5 hours touring the area & enjoying every single moment of the splendid view :) I also enjoyed meeting other tourists & chit-chatting with random people whom I met along the way :D

After much sunburn, we left the Uluwatu Temple area for Padang-Padang beach, which was on the way back to town. According to our driver, Komang, this beach is far better than Dreamland Beach as it's not as commercialized. The waves here are also bigger, so it's a surfers' paradise!

Way to the Beach
Everyone has to walk through a flight of stairs through a cave to get to the beach. Quite some walk on a steep, narrow path.

View of the Beach
Pretty waves...good place to sun-bath!

More Curling Waves!

My 1st Sight of a Surfer in Action
The waves were large enough for surfers to enjoy :)

We didn't spend a very long time at this beach as we had to head to our next destination/appointment i.e. 3 hours spa at Murano Spa, Seminyak. Bottom line, we were TOTALLY SATISFIED!

There are just too many massage parlours & spa centers in Bali, so going through the long list of recommended places was surely a challenge, which of course I took up. After much consideration, filtration & research, I decided on Package 4 from Murano Spa.

What we had in our 3 hours Package 4 (Rp255, 000):
-Traditional Balinese Massage (1 hour)
Enjoy a relaxing Deep Tissue massage with Sandalwood or Frangipani mint oil to relieve pain, tension and improve blood circulation.
- Facial (1 hour)
This includes: cleansing, peeling, steam treatment, a traditional Indonesian facemask and a rejuvenating face, neck & shoulder massage.
- Creambath (1 hour)
This includes: a shampoo wash , scalp massage with soothing cream, steam treatment, tonic, and a relaxing head, neck & shoulder massage.

It's a true pampering session for us ladies :) A much-deserved one after 3 days of sight-seeing & walking.

Entrance of Murano Spa

The Massage Room for 2 Persons

Creambath Session
Frankly speaking, I think this was the best among the 3 sessions! The therapeutic massage on the scalp just flows through the body & makes the entire body feel really good. I should go for such pampering session more often :D

Head, Neck & Shoulder Massage after Hair Shampoo-Wash

Steam Treatment
After applying a generous portion of 'cream'/hair mask on my scalp, I had the steam treatment to ensure that the roots of my hair absorbs all the goodness of the cream. Oolala...VERY syiok!

My Masseuse at Murano Spa
She's good! Very relaxing massage & facial treatment - part of the facial treatment was also to shape the eye-brows, which she is good at compared to my mum's & sister's masseuse :D (check out my sunburn marks!!)

Murano Spa
Jl. Dewi Saraswati III (Kunti II), Seminyak
Bali, Indonesia
Tel: (+62) 361 738 140/ (+62) 361 738 139/ (+62) 361 806 0736
Email: sales@muranospa.com/ muranospa@gmail.com

URL: http://www.muranospa.com/
* you can make your reservation through their website*

With our Driver, Komang :D

My mum & sister had such a good night's sleep after the massage & spa experience. I, on the other hand was struggling to sleep as my back & arms were quite badly sunburnt that it hurts to even lie down on my back AND my side =.=" cis. Applying the aloe vera gel on the back was supposed to help, but it felt worse as the gel + my shirt got stuck to my back & 'peeling' my shirt off my back just HURTS! :'(

Anyway, since it was our last night, I decided to sleep less & wake up early to catch the sunrise at the Sanur Beach. You'll only get to see the sunrise on Sanur beach (east coast), while you'll get to witness the sunset from Kuta beach's side (west coast). I HAD to get up for sunrise! Hahaha...

Even at 6:15am in the morning, the sky was quite bright & many people were already at the beach.

Thank God for the beautiful morning :)

*waves* at the waves :D

Sun Slowly Rising...

Mini, Mighty Waves

Good morning, Bali!! :D
Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful sunrise on my 1st time in Bali!

Love the sky on that morning as well...

Sunrise on Holiday Villa

View of the Swimming Pool in the Morning

View of our Room/Villa in the Morning

Walkway on Sanur Beach

It was indeed a good sight-seeing & pampering trip. Although most places are quite far to travel, I thank God for the experience to witness His creation in Bali. 'Til we meet again, Bali! I'll miss you!

Up next will be my post on FOOD experienced at Bali!! :D Stay tuned!

Sun, sea, sand,

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