Anne's platter where she sampled various Indonesian dishes at a local eatery in Seminyak. Note in the background Anne's sweet tea (which reminded her of her childhood in the South) and my beer (which reminded me of my big beer belly and how I should stop drinking beer.)
Bali = Fruit Heaven
We were impressed by the diversity and ubiquity of natural juices on the streets of Rio, but little did we know how hard Bali outjuices Brazil. We ate fruit every day. We drank fruit every day, in form of juices and smoothies. We ate fruit every day, in tarts and ice-creams. We learned of new fruit we didn't even know existed and tried every single one of them. Experiencing a certain food item for the first time can be a strange cause of joy. Not sure whether it happens only to foodies like us, but if you see food as an essential aspect of a new culture you're immersing yourself into, then it can be just as exhilarating as visiting a temple or seeing a mountain for the first time.
On the way back from the Gitgit waterfall (it was really nice having a car and being driven around the island by the awesome Sara who rocks at driving stick on the other side of the road), we stopped at a fruit market. All they sold there was fruit, both fresh and dried up. We stocked up on tons of fruit and kept snacking on it the entire car ride.
We rode our scooter up to Kintamani and Lake Batur and on the way back we stopped at a fruit stand on the side of the road where we bought a pomelo and some mangosteens. The pomelo I did not photograph (it's like a bigger and sweeter grapefruit).
mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The fruit of the mangosteen is sweet and tangy, juicy, and somewhat fibrous, with an inedible, deep reddish purple-colored rind.
On a different car ride through the island, we stopped again at a fruit stand and sampled some rambutans, durians, mangosteens and snake fruit, all of that for only 30,000 rupiahs (3 USD)
A close-up look at the outside shell of a durian. These guys are the size of a watermelon and grow high up on trees, some of which are right on the side of the road. If one of these things fell on your head you'd probably be dead.
We ate durian for the first time in our lives. Durian has a distinct smell and many people can't eat it because of the bad smell. Some say it smells like "stinky French cheese," others resemble it to "dirty socks." The fruit is mushy and to me it tasted like vanilla pudding.
Snake fruit is native to Indonesia. The fruit grow in clusters at the base of the palm, and are known as snake fruit due to the reddish-brown scaly skin. They are about the size and shape of a ripe fig, with a distinct tip. The fruit can be peeled by pinching the tip, which should cause the skin to slough off so it can be pulled away. The fruit inside consists of three lobes, each containing a large inedible seed. The lobes resemble, and have the consistency of, large peeled garlic cloves. The taste is usually sweet and acidic, but its apple-like texture can vary from very dry and crumbly to moist and crunchy. (from Wikipedia)
Dragon fruit is the white thing with black seeds. Our hotel served it up for breakfast and the first few days I did not eat it, thinking it was some weird rice pudding with poppy seeds. It turned out it's a real fruit, produced by several cactus species. It's quite flavorless, which is why I think it's not very popular. They probably serve it in hotels to appeal to tourists looking for exotic tropical fruit.
Soursop has been promoted to my "all-time favorite fruits" right next to passion fruit. The soursop is a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree native to Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Today, it is also grown in some areas of Southeast Asia. It was most likely brought from Mexico to the Philippines by way of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. Other common names include: guanábana (Spanish) and graviola (Portuguese). Its flavor has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple with sour citrus flavor notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana. (from Wikipedia)
Jackfruit is yet another fruit that we've first tried in Bali. We first ate it dried and loved it, thinking it was mango. Then we ate it deep-fried and dipped in chocolate. Finally, we ate it in its raw form (as seen above) and still loved it. Jackfruit is very lovable. It is native to parts of Southeast Asia. Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh, where it is known as "kathal." The jackfruit tree is believed to be indigenous to the southwestern rain forests of India. It is widely cultivated in tropical regions of the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia. (from Wikipedia)
That's my lap covered up in all the fruit we bought from the fruit market. The middle one is a cocoa pod that we picked up from a tree on the side of the road. The cocoa pods are ripe when they get brown. Cocoa beans eaten straight from the pod taste almost the same as raw dark chocolate. Divine, that is.
Nuri's is located right across the street from Neka art museum. Nothing better after several hours of staring at figurative Balinese paintings than a good ol' BBQ.
Our order of ribs with french fries and sambal sauce.
Boiled corn on the cob.
Anne loved her mushroom chicken so much, that she got the same dish both times we came to this restaurant.
Sushi flavored chips anyone?
Now these balls may seem boring (and that is solely due to the poor quality of the photograph), but they were actually quite interesting. The one on the left is spirulina with mint, coconut flakes, sesame seeds and granola. The one on the right is cardamom, goji berries and granola. Available for purchase at the Bali Buddha bakery. On a side note, the expat Bali does seem a lot like you're in Berkeley.