Thursday, 6 June 2013

Bali - Porcine delights

We are visiting the countryside around Ubud today and we have had a long hot morning visiting a silver factory, a traditional Balinese home, an art gallery and the rice terraces.  My tummy starts to rumble and grumble and I know it’s time to head into Ubud for lunch.

I already know where we are heading, planned and plotted before arriving in Bali.  The one dish that was at the top of my list for Ubud is Babi Guling or suckling pig and there really is only one place to eat it at......... Ibu Oka.

Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation Indonesian episode has firmly made it even more well known with tourists than it was already is.  Rick Stein in Far East Odyssey thinks its the best roast pork he has ever eaten.  Locals have known about this gem for a very long time. and its famous for a reason. There are know 3 restaurants around town, but we head to the restaurant at the owner's home, where the kitchen houses the pits where all the pigs are cooked for all 3 restaurants.  It is close to 2pm so all the pigs have been prepared, cooked, chopped and sold  and we have the last pickings of the day (from about half a pig left).  There will be no more cooking until tomorrow morning,

During the quiet season they roast about 7 pigs a day for all 3 restaurants. In high season it is more like 21 piggies! That's a big turnover of porcine products a day. Everything from the pig is used.

We decide on the normal plate (not the special as it’s spicier).  A few minutes later baskets arrives laden with succulent pork slices, deep fried pork pieces, a slab of crackling, small bites of blood sausage, crackers and a coconut and green bean ‘sambal’.  It’s delicious, it’s juicy, it’s got the right amount of tasty pig fat. It's porcine overload (but who is complaining about that!) and the fresh green bean and coconut sambal cuts through the fatty richness of the pork.  I love the freshness of the sambal …..Yes it's delicious meal but I can’t help thinking that mum’s cracklin' is still better!

(from front clockwise - fried pork, crackling, blood sausage, slices of roast pork, green bean and coconut sambal)

We wash it down with fresh coconut water before washing our hands off at the sink with taps shaped like pigs heads.

I have mentioned to Rico that I love cooking and am a foodie, so he has arranged for me to pop down into the kitchens which is a level below the restaurant (which is purchased on the edge of cliff) I go for a peak into the kitchens. Baskets and bowls full of chili and ginger, coconut husks ready for the fire pits tomorrow and then down to another level I find 23 piggies waiting their fate.

I love how the pig is sitting on top of the other!

One jumped up and was trying to nudge my hand….he didn’t seem anxious or tense like the other pigs, perhaps he was fresh from the market and didn’t know what was awaiting over the coming days. He was panting like a puppy dog and acting like on to.  I just wanted to take him home. He is so cute.

After spending some time in Ubud town we head out to a coffee plantation to sample some of the brews.  Bali is famous for Kopi Luwak which is also known as Asian Civet Coffee (where the coffee berry has passed the the digestive system of an Asian Civet before being roasted).  This type of production has raised alot of ethical debate in relation to wild v's captivity and thus the treatment of those civets.  I will admit that I found the coffee very muddy and very strong, not to my palate.

I did however enjoy the tea, which came in lemongrass, ginger, tamarind & saffron, rosella  and a few other flavours.  Some of the flavoured coffees were questionable, like coconut and the ginger one.

I did get to give the coffee beans a good pounding using the traditional method!

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