When venturing abroad on a culinary adventure, cities like Singapore and Hong Kong have long been leaders in world-class dining and food tourism. Yet, while they have been basking in the limelight, a dark horse has been gaining notoriety in the culinary destination game – Bali, Australia’s favourite holiday island.
A host of esteemed international chefs have traded big cities for beach views, morphing Bali from what was once a surf and party destination into a modern foodie mecca. With menus boasting everything from Mediterranian to Mexican, Asian fusion, modern Australian and experimental fine dining, it’s no wonder that over 20 million tourists grace Bali’s shores annually. Dedicated foodies can indulge in the spoils of a burgeoning dining scene that’s equal parts sophistication and adventurous.
Venues like Sardine, Merah Putih and Kilo are inspired daily by local flavours, serving up refined Baliense fusion amidst modern decor, while Sarong’s “street food chef” Will Meyrick has mastered the tantalizing taste of authentic Asian meets Indian cuisine. His uber-trendy sister restaurant, Mama San boasts menu items like baby lobster and chicken kung pao alongside soft-shell crab served within a colonial yet industrial setting. Mejakawi’s degustation and fine dining menu is constantly evolving, like a relaxed yet chic beach front food lab pumping out evocative tasting plates.
For flavours a little further afield, Italian Osteria Da Maria will have guests trading their Bintangs for burrata and bolognaise in an Amalfi-esque setting, while isolated beachfront bungalow La Lucciola is where classic Italian flavours come to life with Asian flair. Motel Mexicola, in the heart of Seminyak, does a mean tempura fish taco and will have you sipping spicy margaritas (and dancing on tables) late into the night. Sake No Hana, originally hailing from London, is a favourite for authentic Japanese, serving up fresh sashimi, toban and kamameshi dishes straight off a charcoal grill high on the cliffs of Uluwatu.
Melbourne’s tapas institution MoVida has brought its buzzing atmosphere to Seminyak, where the setting simply oozes Spanish flair and the menu provides a fresh and tropical take on the original. Canggu’s The Lawn boasts ocean views which pair very nicely with their international fusion dishes and famous icy frose, and no, the modern Australian palate has not been overlooked. Restaurants like Plantation Grill, Mason and Botanica combine local, organic and ethically sourced ingredients with beloved Australian simplicity.
So, pack your appetite – exploring the culinary landscape Bali is hungry work, but someone has to do it.
This is one of Flight Centre's Top 50 Travel Experiences for 2020. Read the whole list here!