Eat like a local in Bali; 10 authentic warungs and street-side eateries

Bali is a foodie heaven. A dream destination full of colour and flavour, where world-class chefs use ginger, chilli, lemongrass, turmeric and coconut to create the most amazing dishes in spectacular settings. But Bali has many wonderful places to try authentic local fare, in small street-side warungs, away from the tourist crowds. Balinese cuisine is sweet, sour, spicy, and salty at the same time. Keen to explore traditional Balinese cuisine?

Ready to fully immerse yourself in local life? These 10 food joints are places loved by locals. Handpicked by Diah from Bali Kuna Heritage Society, these are warungs where age-old recipes have been passed down through generations, stuffed full of fresh herbs, spices and a whole lotta other Balinese culinary secrets. This is a guide to unmissable authentic dishes in Bali and the best places to try them in the streets of Sanur, Ubud and Denpasar.

1. Babi Guling

Bali’s most famous dish

Babi Guling is a must-try dish in Bali and this stall is THE place to try it! Babi Guling is the only dish on offer here and the stall is a firm favourite among locals. The young pig - between two and six weeks old - is stuffed and infused with a spicy mixture of turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass, black pepper and garlic and then spit-roasted. Because a young pig's flesh is so rich in collagen and has yet to develop strong, robust muscle tissue, roasted suckling pig is very moist and tender. Babi Guling is also a key element in traditional offering ceremonies, like funerals. After the ceremony, the pig is divided into small portions and distributed among all relatives.

Our favourite dish:

Find the old lady opposite to Maospait Temple and order a complete meal for as little as IDR 12,000 and eat tatami style, or go across the street for slightly more upmarket experience for IDR 15,000.

2. Tipat Tahu

Cheap & cheerful

Tipat is rice steamed wrapped in woven palm leaves and tahu is the Indonesian name for tofu. Tipat tahu stalls can be found scattered all around Bali but this one in Denpasar’s Gerenceng neighbourhood has been there since 1960 and has a huge local following. The stall has been there for three generations. The Ngainah family starts each day with 10 kilograms of rice, 30 kilograms of bean sprouts, 10 kilograms of peanuts and 300 slices of tofu and they cook until the supplies run out.

My grandmother used to run this stall. Now her grandchildren are continuing the business.
— Yulianto, owner and one of Ngainah’s grandchildren

Our favourite dish:

The secret is in the sauce of ground fried peanuts, fried shallots, chili and sweet soy sauce and a splash of petis (a sauce made from sweet soy sauce and fermented prawn or fish paste). The dish is then topped off with shrimp crackers. Get a plate Tipat Tahu Gerenceng for IDR 5,000. Also great for takeaway.

Tipat Tahu Gerenceng . Jl Dr Sutomo No 9 . Kota Denpasar . Daily 10am - 9pm

3. Rujak Kuah Pindang

Snacking does not get healthier than this

Rujak is a unique fresh fruit salad with palm sugar. The Denpasar local speciality is Rujak Kuah Pindang mixed with fish broth and chillies. This warung (food stall) right next to the temple serves this fresh delight. Don’t be surprised if the lady ignores you when you come, she might be busy mixing the fruit with the bumbu (spices). She’s been there since 1978 and will proudly tell you her story while grinding the chilly. Nice to know:
Rujak Kuah Pindang is a favourite among pregnant women.

Our favourite dish:

Fish and fruit combi, not your taste? Try a plate of fruit salad with palm sugar syrup at IDR 6,000.

Depot Rujak Agung . Jl. Gunung Batur No. 34 Pemecutan . Kota Denpasar

4. Kopi Bali

Taste the legend

This shop has been the city’s premier coffee shop since 1935. With a great selection of coffee beans, traditional percolators and professional staff they have created a loyal customer following: “‘the coffee is always fresh, good taste and the atmosphere is just like in the old days’.

Our favourite drink:

Kopi Bali is a darker but slightly more robust flavour than your ordinary cup of coffee, the brew has a distinctive flavour with a hint of cacao. Arabic gold is also popular as is the infamous kopi luwak. Kopi Bali also has a great selection of organic coffees. On the wall is an impressive collection of ‘dark brew paintings’ and they even have coffee perfume.

Toko Bhineka Jaya . Jl Gajah Mada 80 . Kota Denpasar . open daily 9am-4pm . +62 361 224016

5. Pangsit Mie Ayam

South Chinese noodles

Welcome to Pangsit Mie Ayam, a Chinese noodle shop that is a firm local favourite. The shop can get very busy, so be prepared to queue! Pangsit Mie Ayam was founded by first-generation immigrants from South China. They opened a small stall selling what they knew best: hand-made home-cooked noodles and dumplings. 40 years later but nothing has changed; this is still the original shop, the same recipes and the same passion for cooking.

The key is to select the best quality ingredients and to make everything fresh every day.
— Pak Ani Agus, owner

Our favourite dish:

Mie Jamur Pangsit Bakso: noodles served with meatballs and dumplings in soup (IDR 55,000). Don’t miss your chance to try the local tea Sorso (IDR 6,000).

Pangsit Mie Ayam . Jl Veteran No. 40 . Kota Denpasar . Open daily 9am-10pm

6. Sate Ayam

Local’s choice

Just follow the smoke…. your nose will tell you when you’re in the right place for gourmet lamb satay! Warung Madura has been in the neighbourhood since 1963, with only two items on the menu: sate kambing lamb satay and gule ayam chicken curry soup. The popularity makes the second generation Kasar really proud ‘Our recipe is same as it was 50 years ago’. Pork satay is popular on Bali, but here they only serve lamb satay. It is true farm-to-table cuisine: they use all parts of the creature: meat, liver and other organs.

Our pick

Eat like a local and order the whole set Gule Ayam, Sate Kambing lamb satay, chicken curry soup and rice (IDR 6,000) or simply try the Sate Kambing lamb satay (IDR 4,000) for a lighter version. For drinks, you can’t go wrong with a local ginger ale Twmulawak (IDR 2,500).

Warung Madura . Jl Kaliasem No 14 . Kota Denpasar . Open daily 9am-6pm

7. Nasi Campur Ayam

Nasi campur ayam

People travel from far to Warung Adi for their signature - and only - dish: Nasi Campur Ayam: chicken and rice Bali style. It is much more exciting than it sounds as it comes with lots of yummy extras: chunks of tuna, urab sayur, (steamed bean salad) ayam betutu (stuffed chicken) pindang (pickled fish), a fried prawn, crispy chicken skin, a boiled egg with sambal and peanuts sprinkled on top. Ibu Desak has been running this humble warung for over 30 years is proud to have had Indonesia’s President Jokowi as a customer. Her secret is the spicy chicken broth that is served with the rice.

Our favourite dish:

The only choice you have is spicy or non-spicy. One portion is IDR 20,000, add IDR 10,000 for homemade lemonade.

Warung Adi . Jl. Danau Buyan No.15 . Sanur . Open daily 8am-until sold out . +62 361 286882

8. Ikan Bakar

Catch of the day

Mak Beng along the Sanur beach is where you come for fish: crunchy fried fish or yummy fish soup. It does not get any fresher than this; the Bengs buy the catch directly from the Sanur fisherman. Already in its 3rd generation, this warung is a perennial local favourite and always busy, so prepare to queue.

Our favourite dish:

Rice + fried fish + soup IDR 45.000,- (drink IDR 10.000).

Warung Mak Beng . Jl. Hang Tuah No. 45 . Sanur . Open daily 8am-10pm .
+62 361 282633

9. Nasi Ayam

Spicy chicken breakfast

Dozens of people queue at this small food stall early morning before going to work. They come for Men Weti’s signature nasi ayam, chicken rice. A generous portion of chicken, jukut urab (mixed vegetables), chunks of tuna, eggs poached in spicy sauce and fried onions.

Our favourite dish:

Pick up a plate for IDR 25.000, grab a plastic chair and enjoy!

Warung Nasi Ayam Men Weti . Jl. Segara Ayu . Daily 8am-11am (until sold out) . +62 813-3828-1866

10. Pasar Makan

Traditional local night market

Want to eat where the locals eat? Look no further than Sanur’s night market, Pasar Sindhu and discover foodie heaven for less than US$5; a cheap and cheerful Indonesian street food experience. Every night as the sun sets, vendors bring out their food carts with simple Indonesian fare: mie ayam (chicken noodles), nasi campur (mixed rice dishes), lalapan (hot fried chicken) and of course grilled satay.

Day and night

Come here in the morning and you will find a traditional wet market with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to clothing and ceremonial items. The market was recently received a complete make-ove, its design even winning a national award.

Pasar Shindu . Jl. Ps. Sindu No.5 . Sanur . Open daily 7am–10am

Where to find these places?

Discover these ten culinary gems and many more hidden secrets on the iDiscover walking and cycling routes through Denpasar and Sanur; digital itineraries handcrafted by the heroes of Bali Kuna Heritage Society, available as a free download here ->


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Bali Kuna Heritage Society Bali Kuna

A non-profit organisation promoting, celebrating and preserving Balinese cultural heritage, working hand in hand with local communities. Organisasi nirlaba yang bergerak dibidang promosi, perlindungan pelestarian budaya bali. Bekerja bersama-sama dengan komunitas lokal yang ada di Bali.

Indonesian Heritage Trust Badan Pelestarian Pusaka Indonesia (BPPI)

Umbrella organisation of heritage NGO’s all across the Indonesia archipelago. Lembaga swadaya masyarakat yang berpusat di Jakarta bergerak di bidang pelestarian di Indonesia.
Devi Soewono Devi Soewono

A child ruined by age. Devni is a Bali based graphic designer with a fun take on classic Balinese motives

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