Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Little Piggy is Back - with Babi Guling (Balinese Roast Pork) Ibu Oka

How does it feel to be back to work from a fantastical vacation in heaven on earth, i.e. Bali?
It sucks.
Yet exciting. I miss my earthling friends, and I can't wait to show off share my vacation experiences.
Well, that's how I am, always yin and yang, plusses and minuses. Let's get to it.

Things I won't miss from Bali...
- The scorching April heat. It drove my shopping libido from fully charged to -100. I wish there's a mini air conditioning system I can carry around with me while shopping. Tasting the saltiness of my own sweat trickling furiously down my face while engaging in a serious bargaining business is everything but delicious.
- Having to negotiate prices all the time. My haggling skills had been reduced to nothing since I moved to Hong Kong. I suck! Here's an idea: How much for this hat? Rp. 50.000? I pay you Rp.60.o00 if you could give it to me before my scalp burns. Ok, maybe not that extreme, but close enough.
- The swarm of hungry mosquitoes which find my blood as delicious as liquid chocolate. They simply couldn't get enough of it! No repellent worked, I guess I was too tasty, or were they just too hungry?
- It's not Bali, it's me. I just found that I don't like dipping myself into sand laden, sticky, salty-bitter tasting sea water. No matter how serene, how clear, how blue, how crystal-like, how beautiful, how the soft waves heat the soft white sands, how every big wave drove the crowd into a frenzy, I'd prefer staying off the water. Oppps. To those who enjoy it, I applaud you.

What am I already missing from Bali then?
- Chilling out under a huge umbrella, with a tall glass of icy cold drink on one hand and an el-cheapo celeb gossip magazine on another, legs being massaged with frangipani scented oil, watching the sun descending into the sea, turning the sky red before everything goes dark. Wow.

- Bali's breath taking, jaw dropping beauty. It never ceases to amaze me. A temple sitting proudly on top of a stone cliff standing by a crystal clear blue sea, with white fierce waves hitting the rocks at its bottom? How is that even possible?? I just couldn't believe my eyes, every single time.

- Bali's ever so rich and vibrant traditional culture alongside modern convenience. The culture is so well reserved, despite all the free WiFi connection being available practically everywhere. Everywhere I looked, I saw the locals gorgeously decked their best white Balinese outfits, riding their modern motorcycles to the temple for worship, colorful offerings being presented, prayers being said, music being played, all with total respect and submissiveness we don't get to see every day in big modern cities.

- This may sound as a cliche, but in less commercial areas, everyone's so friendly, so laid back, the exact opposite of the always-in-a-hurry metropolitan bitches (me included)

- Many more, including all the great food, including...the famous...
Ibu Oka's Babi Guling (Balinese Roast Suckling Pig)

I am never the type of person who likes going against the main stream. When something is famous, it must be famous for a reason. Most of the time, I will love it, for as long as I don't have to queue for three hours under summer 32C heat, spend 90% of my monthly salary on it, or eat it while doing jumping jacks/sit ups/push ups (Hey! Quite a good exercise idea for me, although I doubt that it's gonna be effective).

Before really listening to Tony Bourdain's sarcastic commentaries, I didn't really like the guy, but after knowing that he shares the same love for Ibu Oka's roasted suckling pig, he shouldn't be that bad, right? Don't we all love him now? Maybe a little too much?

Have a look at this. My photograph doesn't do the dish any justice.

The meat was super tender, juicy, totally flavorful from all the herbs and spices. All the other parts were every bit as tasty and the meat, if not more, it just gets better with every bite. The skin parts were pieces of crackling goodness, when you are lucky, you might get really thin skin. Sometimes you might get slightly thicker skin, and it could be quite an exercise for your jaw. But still, I used the skin pieces to scoop steam rice plus the tasty side salad and...oh gawd...that moment, I forgot everything. The heat, the itchiness from numerous mosquito bites the night before....gone. There's nothing but this plate of deliciousness before me.

Look at me, giddy with anticipation, but still did my obligatory shots of the dish. Hehe.

Did the dish cost me an arm and a leg? Nope. A package of rice with a drink costs Rp.30.000 (less than USD3! WHATTT??? But, believe me, the locals do not find this that cheap ^_^). The new location is beautifully decorated with Balinese flavors all over...and be prepared to kick off your shoes and sit on your butt, okie? Girls with mini skirts? OK, select some tables with chairs, but let's face it...not as cool.

So when you see this sign, you're in for a tasty ride.

Babi Guling Ibu Oka
Jl. Tegal Sari No.2, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Tel: +62 361 976345


Ning said...

Wow! Bali - one of our dream vacations! with the yummy roast pork to boot! But mosquitoes are making me think twice now... :)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Heaven on earth indeed! Why would you leave? I want roast pork! I want blue ocean! I wanna lay out on the beach! Lucky you!

Lidia Sianturi said...

aku pilih dipijit wae ah..

Anonymous said...

I was guessing that you followed Bourdain trying the Pork dish in Bali. You make me wanna visit Bali. Maybe sometimes end of this year, hopefully!


Tuty said...

I like Tony Bourdain and despise Andrew Zimmern (way too ignorant). I hope Zimmern never gets a chance to visit Indonesia and says utterly stupid comments.

Love your report on Babi Guling. Just curious what's the diff on Babi Guling Spesial & Babi Guling Pisah? Keep the report coming, Rita.

Cynthia said...

I wish to visit there one day.

Good to have you back!

EatTravelEat said...

You are very lucky to go! So beautiful scenery. Such great food that is so fresh and beautifully presented. What more would I want?

shelvy said...

walah enek babi gulingnya dimananya seh neh say...
btw harganya murah juga yah

Anonymous said...

OOhh fun holidayyy!! Lucky you haha! Mmmm roast pork sounds sooo good mmmmm

Rurie said...

Oh Bali :) how I miss my home.......Rita I envy you!!!!
And yes 30Rp for a plate of food is indeed expensive for us local :P

Stephanie said...

Your Bali post comes at the right time... cos' I'm going to Bali this coming JUNE!! I soooo can't wait!


ps: any news on the vintage plate?

Unknown said...

@Ning...hehe..word of wisdom in relation to mosquitoes: "bite them before they bite you" LOL. I wonder if that'd work though

@WC Hehe. I had to leave...I can't be too happy for too long...i needed to get smacked back to work (what a pervert)

@Lidia...iyo lid, tapi teler naware

@Ly you gotta visit Bali again, girl

@Tuty whoa...you despise Zimmern? He can be adorable sometimes hehe. Actually, i think it is gonna be interesting to see what he'd say about indonesia ;)

@Cynthia..hope you'll get a chance to visit bali soon :)

@EatTravelEat & FFichiban...I felt so lucky too

@Shelvy alamatnya ada tuh say, lengkap dgn no telp

@Rurie lain kali barengan dunk piginyaaaa

@Stephanie more bali posts coming up, hope i wont bore you guys :)
re: plates, sorry for not getting back to you earlier. i've checked with the shop and it's sold out! in fact those were clearance plates...oppps. i'll keep an eye in case they resurfaced again :)

Dragon said...

I'm so glad you're back! You were missed.

tigerfish said...

My dear girl is back!
Hahhaa.....I think when it comes to travel, we are almost alike in some ways. Weather and mosquito affect me a lot, I am sure. Well, but at least you had good food :)

Juliett said...

this balinese food, man...remind me also of my favourite dish from lombok "sambal plecingan", "ayam plecingan", "kangkong plecingan"..

balinese and lombok dishes are quite similar actually, but lombok dishes are so much spicier...definitely recommend these two islands of food paradizo :D