In Indonesia, a warung (or ‘waroeng‘) is a small street-side stall or hole-in-the-wall shop that sells food (and occasionally, daily necessities). Think of it as the neighbourhood cafe where you can eat cheap local food and catch up on the latest gossip with your neighbours.
When AB and I visited Bali for the first time last year, we stayed in Ubud for five days. During this period, we ate at warungs most of the time.
Aside from booking our guesthouse accommodation, we had not planned or researched much else ahead of time. Some of the places we ate at were found online while in a cafe with free wi-fi, others were recommended by people we met in Bali.
Here are our favourite warungs:
Where: 6 Jalan Tirta Tawar Br Kutuh Kaja, Ubud-Gianyar. Made’s road-side restaurant looks out to paddy fields and is less than 10 minutes by car from Ubud centre and not far from the Ubud Botanical Gardens.
We ate: Excellent Indonesian food with a contemporary touch. The grilled dishes – especially the ribs – are a must-try.
Good to know: We walked some 4km from our guesthouse in central Ubud to Made Becik Waroeng. For the most part, we were on a dimly-lit road which had several dogs (at least 20 in total!) that would suddenly emerge from the shadows and bark at us. As we passed each and every one of them, they would growl and I could feel their eyes follow us.
It was quite a nerve-wrecking pre-dinner experience. I was afraid that one will go nuts, bite me in the a** and give me rabies! We called for a taxi to bring us back after dinner 😉
Where: Jalan Sugriwa, near Jalan Raya Ubud
We ate: Hearty Indonesian ayam kecap chicken in soya bean sauce and Indian-style badal jaam eggplant with tomato and yogurt
Good to know: Serves only dinner. Reservations strongly recommended as this is a a tiny restaurant (seats around 6 people). Small and excellent menu that changes every other day and offers Indonesian, Thai and Indian dishes. It’s a one-man show – Amier cooks everything on order, which means that the food is freshly prepared and you should be prepared to wait a while for your food (around 30-40 minutes). It will be worth it!
Where: There’s no address. If you’re walking from Ubud centre, keep left on Monkey Forest Road, it’s very near “Three Monkeys” café. Keep a lookout for it as it has a narrow frontage.
We ate: Tempeh goreng, nasi campur and babi guling (suckling pig) were excellent. The latter comes direct from Rai Pasti’s sister, Ibu Oka – which is famous for its babi guling. Be sure to go early and you can enjoy some delicious suckling pig without having to wait in line.
Good to know: Good place to go to for Balinese classics at an affordable price. Try to get a place at the back of the restaurant, looking out to the paddy fields.
Where: 28X Jalan Sugriwa
We ate: Tasty organic food served with brown rice. The spices of the nasi campur special with Balinese ayam betutu (chicken steamed in coconut) were well-balanced.
The next, and final, recommendation is not a warung. But as this will probably be my only food-related post from this Bali trip, I’m including a coffee shop that is just a few doors from our guest house:
Where: Jalan Sriwedari, Ubud
We drank: Excellent coffee served with water in a recycled glass (bottle) and a tasty kueh kueh. You just need to figure your way through the complicated flow chart-style menu (which can be mind-boggling for those who have not had their caffeine fix)!
Good to know: Seniman roasts the coffee beans on its premises (across the street from the cafe). You can buy their roasted coffee beans and grounds.
This is one trendy joint – I love their modified rocking chairs made using plastic kopi-tiam chairs! Can someone make me one?