DENPASAR STREET FOOD TOUR

Discover unique local restaurants known as “Warungs” and the famed “Grand Pasar “ or central market in the heritage area of Denpasar

Try the best of some of the legendary savory dishes, take a seat and eat with the locals. You will also discover Balinese culture, temples and the exquisite handmade offerings and learn about the significance of the many things you will see in the markets.

Your tour starts early, but not too early, we pick you up between 7 am and 7.30am depending on where you are staying, at least two hours since the Balinese have been up and preparing for the day ahead.Balinese culture has its own ‘time’ and rather than thinking about days in increments of hours ‘time’ is divided up between daily rituals, routines, temple prayers and family time.

At BABI GULING CHANDRA around 8 am you will have the opportunity to try two of the island’s traditional celebration dishes, Babi Guling and Betutu, both served with the full complement of side dishes, soups and spicy sambals. After which you will enter the world of the BALINESE HOME. There is nothing remotely familiar about a traditional Balinese home, with separate buildings for specific functions and a well tended family temple it is a marvel of intricate design and practical purpose. The architecture and design of the compound is a fascinating blend of spiritual belief and pragmatic advantage.

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Snacking is a favourite Indonesian pastime and by now it’s been awhile since breakfast and time to try out some savoury treats as we enter the MARKET AREA. Located currently in JALAN COKROAMINOTO after fire destroyed the main building of the Pasar Badung in 2015, the market serves as a wholesale clearing house for much of Bali’s produce. Vendors here will have left their homes in small trucks laden with cut flowers, fruits and vegetables around 1 or 2 am in the morning to meet with the major wholesalers before the dawn breaks, and by eight they are selling to the smaller shop owners and domestic staff of the offices and homes in the leafy Renon area.

With renewed energy you will be ready to explore the secrets of Bali’s capital, DENPASAR. Relocated from the north the capital is something of a secret, intentionally so, as it was designed to repel invasion and protect the rulers from both the Dutch and the Japanese. History had its way but even today Denpasar, with all its marvels, remains a secret to many visitors to Bali.

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Wander along what was once a thriving Chinatown, the location of Bali’s very first bioscope, and discover, just off Jalan Gajah Mada, the still operating TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE SHOPS before heading into Jalan Sulewesi, where if you are not inspired by something it would be most surprising. JALAN SULEWESI is a street of colourful silks from across Asia are traded here, along with trinkets and baubles, the trimmings that adorn interior furnishings, curtain fringes and everything in between.

Witness the colourful collision of religions across the region as Balinese attend the temples, PURA DESA and PURA PUSEH, Muslim women cover their faces in brilliant scarves. All this occurs against a backdrop of colorful fruits, the cacophony of traffic, the aroma of a thousand incense sticks…and the tempting smell of coffee!

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Yes, it’s time for a true cup of Java at BHINEKA DJAJA. Established in 1935 it has been managed by three generations of Tjahjadi family and is a pioneer of the commercialization of Bali coffee which now, thanks to the popularisation of coffee as a hip beverage and the release of independent films like Filosofi Kopi, has gained recognition among coffee lovers both in Indonesia and worldwide.

WARUNG WARDANI is the next stop and a chance to rest your feet, there is a lot of walking on this tour and pavements are not what you may be used to in other capital cities! Here you will have the chance to try the famed BALINESE NASI CAMPUR, a real Indonesian style meal, that many say is why the Balinese often return home despite opportunities abroad. No one makes a dish like this one, and at Warung Wardani their reputation is so high they have never altered an ingredient from the original.

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NASI CAMPUR is a dependable, delicious and sustaining meal that allows for the flavours of the archipelago to mingle, chicken, beef and prawn are served in traditional styles with rich sauces and fresh sambals accompanied by long green beans drizzled with a kalasan dressing. Traditionally this dish is prepared and served at a long table and when individual chores are done each person will help themselves to a plateful eating quietly and contemplatively alone. The Western habit of having uproarious, shared meal times as a daily habit is unusual to traditional Indonesians, and only since the influx of Western style diners has modern Indonesia been eating ‘nuclear family style’. The style of eating too can be quite a treat to observe as hands are preferred over cutlery and the enjoyment of the food is paramount, certainly taking precedence over what other cultures might call ‘manners’. To us it is a hearty appreciation of what nature has shared.

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Now as we wind down our activities there is one last treat for you, a short post lunch walk past the famed “SATE PLECING ARJUNA” to the bakery, but it is not, as you might imagine, full of heavy cakes or slices but instead you will discover the delicate pale green and snow white “JAJE LAKLAK” made from rice flour and fragrant Pandan leaves.
These sweet mouthfuls can be parceled up and taken home to enjoy at your leisure.

The afternoon is upon us, and this is the time the stall holders take a break, catch their breath in the hottest part of the day before setting up again for the evening trade of returning villagers, office workers and family out for an evening “jalan jalan”.

We hope you will enjoy experiencing your very own “Jalan Jalan” with us and we look forward to welcoming you to the many delights of Denpasar.

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