12 Must-Try Dishes in Bali, Indonesia

Strap on a bib, fellow gastronomes, as you prepare for an exquisite culinary journey in the exotic island of Bali, Indonesia! Interestingly enough, despite being part of the country with the world's highest Muslim population, Bali is an oasis of Hindu traditions.

It's a delightful twist, especially for your taste buds, as this means the island predominantly serves up scrumptious fish and mouth-watering pork dishes. Being deeply respectful of their religious sentiments, the local Hindus consider cows sacred and avoid their consumption.

Push past the tourist thrum and venture into the heart of Bali, where tradition and taste bud-tingling cuisine merge seamlessly. You'll find homely local restaurants that, appreciating the dominant Muslim population in Indonesia, refrain from serving pork. Yet, the island ensures no compromise on flavours, offering up a fascinating palette of must-try delicacies bound to make your Bali holiday all the more indulgent.

So, buckle up, as we navigate through the tempting list of 12 most popular dishes that will let you savour the true essence of Balinese cuisine!

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most popular food in bali
12 Must-Try Dishes in Bali, Indonesia

12 Must-Try Dishes in Bali, Indonesia


A mini rijsttafel is a dish made for sharing. Rijsttafel literally means “rice table” in Dutch that has been made popular during the colonial times. It is a platter of mixed selection of popular Balinese delicacies consisting of meat (typically Bebek Betutu/smoked duck or other types of grilled meat), sambal, sate, tempe, tofu, Nasi Tumpang (rice cones) and Sayur Urap (a local savoury salad).

Rijsttafel in bali
In Bali, a Rijsttafel set comes with up to 40 side dishes cooked in a variety of ways and served with rice!

Sate Lilit

Sate Lilit is just one of the many variants for the celebrated Indonesian satays. The Balinese version is typically prepared using minced pork, fish and chicken (you might also find turtle meat) combined generously with coconut milk, lemon juice, shallots, grated coconut and heaps of seasonings. The mixture is wrapped thickly around lemon grass, bamboo or sugarcane skewers before being grilled over charcoal. Lilit literally means “to wrap around”.

Sate Lilit
Sate Lilit in Bali

Babi Guling

you'll quickly discern that Babi Guling isn't just a dish; it's an exhilarating cultural experience. At its heart, Babi Guling is a sumptuous Balinese roast pig, meticulously prepared and imbued with a vibrant blend of local spices and herbs, including turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger, creating an aromatic masterpiece that delights the palate.

Traditionally served at communal gatherings and ceremonies, this exquisite delicacy symbolises celebration and community spirit, making it a must-try for any traveller eager to delve into the island's rich cultural heritage. The pig is slow-roasted to perfection, ensuring every bite is infused with flavour and the meat succulent, tender, and falling off the bone.

Babi Guling
Babi Guling is one of the most popular dishes in Bali

Balinese Coffee

Coffee lovers will instantly fall in love with this island for the abundant variants it offers. However, you should definitely stop by a cafe just for the local Kintamani Balinese coffee which is loved for its fresh, fruity note. The distinct taste can be attributed to the way they are grown - almost always in a plantation alongside citrus fruits that gives the coffee beans a sweet, memorable aftertaste.

If you are feeling adventurous, remember to give coffee Luwak a try. It consists of partially digested coffee cherries which are eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civets. FYI, Kopi Luwak is also the world's most exclusive and expensive coffee due to the rather unsual method of production.

balinese coffee
Local Balinese Coffee is a must-try when in Bali!
coffee in bali
The Kintamani Balinese coffee is a famous selection in here


These beautiful sticky glutinous rice balls are loaded with sweet caramelised coconut in the centre. It is just one Indonesia’s many Jajanan Pasar (market snacks) and can be consumed anytime of the day. The filling is made using coconut and sugary palm sugar, while the skin is perfected using glutinous rice flour with essence from the aromatic pandan (screwpine) leaves. Each bite is a delightful explosion of sweetness!

klepon bali, indonesia
Extra sweet Klepon with paln sugar filling in Bali
jajanan pasar bali, indonesia
Klepon is just one of Bali's many jajanan pasar or market/street snacks 
popular bali street food
There are plenty of choices available when it comes to street snacks in Bali


This signature Balinese dish features steamed or roasted poultry that has been smothered, rubbed and stuffed in the unbelievably rich Bumbu Betutu spices - a traditional, fragrant concoction of ginger, pepper, turmeric, shrimp paste and chili. It can be found on the streets or even in luxury hotels - making it a must-try when visiting the beautiful island of Bali.

Ayam Betutu
Ayam Betutu is a well seasoned and delicious dish in Bali

Nasi Campur

This “mixed” rice dish comes with a serving of white rice accompanied with small portions of other dishes such as meat, vegetables, eggs, and the mandatory tempe-tofu-keropok toppings. There is no fixed rule when it comes to preparing a plate of Nasi Campur, so feel free to get creative!

best nasi campur in bali
Nasi Campur makes a cheap and quick meal in Bali

Gado Gado

This traditional dish is the Indonesian take on salad. It can be enjoyed cold or warm, on its own or accompanied with rice. The dressing is made using aromatic sweet peanut sauce while the vegetables are prepared two ways: steamed (carrot, potato, beans) and raw (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber).

where to eat gado gado in bali
Gado Gado is an uniquely Indonesian salad made using blanched vegetables, eggs, rice cakes, tempeh and tofu - served drenched in sweet peanut sauce.

Ayam Penyet

This dish consists of a star component: smashed fried chicken. The meat is seasoned and first cooked in Bumbu Kuning (yellow spices) before being deep fried in hot palm oil. It is then smashed on a mortar with a stone pestle which makes the meat extra tender and moist before being coated with more spices made using tamarind, lime juice, shrimp paste, tomatoes, anchovies, chili, shallots and garlic.

best ayam penyet in bali
Ayam Penyet served with hot white rice and a variety of side dishes in Bali

Sambal Matah

There are more than 300 types of sambal in Indonesia, and sambal matah is the favourite in Bali. This extra spicy assemblage is the perfect companion for any Balinese dish and it is made using chili, lime, garlic, lemongrass and shallows pounded coarsely in a traditional stone pestle and mortar. It is further seasoned with salt, sugar, shrimp paste and oil to achieve that distinct hot and aromatic flavours.

Sambal Matah bali
The ever popular, spicy and delicious sambal matah from Bali.

Grilled BBQ Meat

Tired after spending the entire day at the beach? Cool down with an ice-cold drink and a plate of the finest Balinese BBQ meat. Bali has its own unique way of cooking up the perfect steak, with noticeable Korean and Brazilian influences. As different BBQ joints have their own approach of grilling, get ready to have your taste buds surprised!

best bbq pork in bali
Grilled BBQ Meat is the perfect wind-down meal in Bali


A quintessential Balinese concoction, Lawar is not merely food; it’s a rare glimpse into the island's soul, merging tradition, taste, and communal ethos. This vibrant delight cleverly combines finely chopped vegetables, coconut, and minced meat, artfully seasoned with a rich array of local herbs and spices, promising a burst of flavour with every mouthful.

Intriguingly, Lawar defies the one-size-fits-all approach, with variations that include pork, chicken, or even duck, each aligning with Bali's deeply rooted cultural and religious practices.

Lawar bali
Lawar is made of various vegetables and coconut, combined with herbs and spices.

As our enchanting journey through the culinary wonderland of Bali reaches its finale, it's plain to see that Bali’s cuisine is more than just sustenance. When you look closely, each dish is steeped in tradition and religious sentiment, wrapped in community joy, and generously sprinkled with distinct, vibrant flavours—a true feast for the senses!

Savouring each morsel of exotic food is akin to unravelling the rich tapestry of the island's culture and absorbing its potent spirit. From the ritualistic allure of Babi Guling to the communal celebration echoed in Lawar, it becomes evident that the true essence of Bali is captured in its culinary offerings.

These twelve must-try dishes are more than gastronomic treats, they are culinary tales spun out of every local herb, spice, and grain. So here's to venturing into a realm beyond the usual tourist hotspots, and dining like a true Balinese, wrapped in authenticity, adventure, and eye-opening revelations. Take your place at the table, open your senses to an aromatic explosion, and explore Bali—one unforgettable dish at a time.

Share your travel and dining stories with us on Instagram. Tag @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace to join the conversation. Have a fantastic trip!


  1. Would love to try the sate lilit which looks quite delicious and meaty. :D

    The Balinese coffee is a must for java lovers like me.

  2. I've been to Bali several times but I don't think I've come across Mini Rijsttafel before. Or maybe I did, without knowing its name.

  3. i went to Bali last 2y but a very short trip, never had chance to try everything u mention. maybe next trip

  4. Although I haven't been to Bali, I love sate lilit. I usually eat it a Ole Ole Bali restaurant. It's super delicious. Thank you for sharing this cool post.

  5. All the food looks tempting enough to put Bali in my wish list of next destination.

  6. The food looks good and delicious. Must cari Bali's restaurant la macam ni, since we cannot go there 😁🤩

  7. Huwaaa.. I never been to Bali yet. Jeles la tgk ramai member yang dah ke sana. Dah la pemandangan cantik, makanan pun menggoda. Tp i dengar kat Bali agak susah sikit nak cari makanan halal

  8. hahahaha~ instant noodle tu kat mana-mana negara pun wajib.. tapi tak jauh beza ya makanan Malaysia dan Bali.. menarik..

  9. Ada certain tu Sis dapat makan kerika ke Bandung dulu, ada certain tak jumpa.. memang nak kena ke Bali laaa nanti.. Gado-Gado tu sedap kann..

  10. a LOVELY tasty list shared & making me miss my Bali trips so much, miss their satayssss & Gado gado the most :D cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  11. Wow there are so many awesome food to try in Bali, i only get to try some of them when i was there 2 years ago.

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