I spent my final two days in Bali in the popular town of Ubud. Throughout my trip I had been seeking out Babi Guling as I had been told early on that this was one of Bali’s most traditional dishes. However, it proved hard to come by along my travels, as traditionally it is a dish served at religious ceremonies and celebrations, not something which the Balinese eat every day. I suppose it was a bit like coming to the UK and trying to get a roast turkey with all the trimmings in August!
Another problem was that this is a dish which is cooked in the morning and the Balinese eat lunch early! Therefore, when I did come across a warung which sold it, it had all gone by the time I got there at around 1pm. Luckily in Ubud I found a place which specialise in Babi Guling, meaning that it is available until around 3pm. I was told that Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka (next to the palace in Ubud) was that place to go, so I headed straight there and was delighted to see replenishment being carried in from the road in a big metal tray when I arrived.
Babi Guling is a whole pig which is split open, stuffed with Balinese spices including ginger, turmeric, galangal and kencur and then sown back up to spit roast. It is roasted for around three and a half hours, being carefully turned and basted in coconut oil and turmeric. The meat is then carved up and served with the stuffing and cracking.
They must get through quite a few pigs in a day as the one which was being carried in from the road when I arrived at 1pm looked like it had almost all gone by the time I left at 1:30.
There are various options to choose from, all different variations of cuts of meat, fried meat, stuffing and crackling and of course served with rice. I went for the special which had a bit of everything. You can just about see the menu at the back of this photo, there is a more extensive one a the table.
I am not usually a big fan of roast pork but it really was succulent and delicious. 8/10.
Of course it was washed down with my new friend the Bintang, all for the bargain price of around £4 per person.
I would certainly recommend Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka but be aware that it is somewhere that you come to enjoy the food and not to have a relaxing lunch. It is a very basic warung where most of the seating is at low communal tables and you sit on the floor. The food is served in a wicker basket with a piece of greaseproof paper (amazing for washing up) and the staff are busy, with queues out of the door.