I have just been holidaying with my baby (teenage) daughter in Bali, backpacker style, because there are still spaces in my cooking classes (please take a look and book in if you see one you like.) I am just kidding of course, we actually really do like backpacking. It makes me feel younger and mush more adventurous.
We surfed and yoga practised and window shopped until we were sore. We did a 3 day yoga immersion in Ubud which was VERY relaxing. We surfed until Jade got seasick (possibly not a natural…) and of course we bonded over Balinese food and and learnt as much about their cuisine as we could.
So, globalisation has many merits,including bringing the Yoga Barn to Ubud and for that I am grateful. Tourism has helped improve the lives of many Balinese and many of the locals we met in Ubud waxed lyrical to that.
One not so fabulous side effect is the plethora of cuisines in Bali… What! I hear you exclaim, is the problem with that? And you do know, if you are reading this blog, that I love a bit of variety in my food. BUT, for me so much of a country’s culture & history is expressed through its food - it is a sharing of the essence of a country and its people, their celebrations and hardships, their religion, the traditions that shaped them and the very fertility of their land and its abundance (or lack thereof).
We actually found it quite hard to find really authentic Balinese and or Indonesian warung/ restaurants in Bali, with many diluting their menus to the very basic Nasi and Mie Goreng to make way for chicken cordon bleu and hamburgers and chips, a sad state of affairs.
Of course, we did manage to eat some delicious Balinese food and I hope that enough of us fortunate to travel to Bali do seek out authentic Balinese food so that the locals feel proud and brave enough to start their own warungs, restaurants and cafes.
I want to share one of the gems from our travels, the Warung Dandelion in Canggu. This one is worth the flight form Sydney so definitely the road trip from Seminyak.
Locally owned and run by the charismatic and creative Gani, Dandelion exudes welcoming warmth and charm. Dandelion’s roof and wall struts were imported from Java and planted on a grassy block overlooking a rice field. The walls themselves are “made” from floating bookshelves, covered in antiques and curios and an enormous ivy covered screen. The kitchen is the third wall and there is no fourth - the warung opens to the garden and the views beyond. It’s truly delightful.
Gani's mission was to serve his guests authentic Balinese food from his childhood and to make sure he got it right, Gani uses his talented mother’s delicious recipes. You have to book as this little gem, open for just 10 months, is often booked out.
There is a local band playing Balinese music in the garden, candle light flickers playfully and the scene is pure holiday perfection.
The staff are friendly, professional and animated and the service is wonderful.
Our faves on the menu were the Ikan pepes (fish in spices, steamed in banana leaf) and the Tum Ayam (chicken in spices, cooked in banana leaf) and the Dagar guling (coconut and palm sugar rice flour pancakes.) But I have to say all of the food looked divine…if only I had a bigger tummy or another night in Canggu.
Gani is building a bar to accommodate those waiting to dine. I highly recommend you visit.
Would you like to do a Balinese cooking class in Sydney? Email me
Link to Dandelion, Canggu, Bali