Singapore Adventure

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bali Food Adventures
by venitha

"I'm not as adventurous with food as you are," Sue warned me before we departed for Bali, but in that extraordinary way that women's bodies synchronize, by the last days of our trip, we laughed at finding ourselves choosing exactly the same dishes from our Indonesian menus. Of delicious note:
  • Papaya. Served fresh with breakfast and whipped into one frothy concoction after another, Bali's papaya convinced me that I really love papaya: I'd just never been treated to good papaya... until now.

  • Pepesan. I was seduced by the name, which conjured the somehow appropriate image of a benevolent half-Mexican, half-Japanese, half- grandfather.

    Pepesan is tender tuna flavored with an exquisite Balinese spice concoction (my wild guess: tomatoes, onions, chilis, garlic, lime, lemongrass, ...), grilled in a banana leaf and served, of course, with white rice. Sue: "I feel so guilty wasting rice now that I know how much work goes into it."

  • Black rice pudding. Sludgy soupy warm black rice drenched in sweet creamy coconut milk, a shared black rice pudding added a luscious exclamation point to many an evening meal. And no guilt: we didn't waste a single grain of this scrumptious treat!

  • Shredded coconut. Strewn like fluffy snow on my breakfast laklaks (Balinese "pancakes" of rice and tapioca root) [pictured], liberally mixed with my dinner vegetables (Me: "What are these vegetables? They're delicious!" Waitress: "Green."), and deliciously filling my dessert [pictured], shredded coconut added the perfect subtle tropical island touch.

  • Banana. After the odd warm banana sandwiches whipped up by our trekking guide, the traditional Balinese breakfast served by our dolphin boat captain was a welcome surprise and left the lame breakfast packed by our hotel cowering in shame. We snarfed breaded banana, and Sue laughed as I poked with suspicion at the reddish stuffing of the adorably-packaged sticky rice. Beans? No, thank God. Banana.

    Bali's crowning banana achievement, however, was our last night's dessert, served during a Legong dance performance. Banana fritters, topped with palm sugar syrup and powdered cinnamon, provided the perfect end to a perfectly-delicious vacation.