Coastal Cuisine: Finding Refined Seafood in Bali
Since we are living on an island, a lot of our food comes from the sea and coastline. We are lucky to have an all-year-round fishing season, which means we have full access to the freshest catches every day at reasonable prices. With that, we are blessed with a plethora of delicious seafood in Bali.
Straight out of the sea, caught fresh from the market, cooked and prepared for your plate. Grilled, steamed, pan-seared, stir-fried, raw, you name it Bali has it. Whether you decide to dine by the sea or search for one of Bali’s finer establishments, seafood is likely to be on the menu.
Here, we highlight some of the island’s exquisite dishes that centre around seafood in Bali , focusing particularly on a main ingredient and finding a restaurant that does that particular seafood real justice.
Abalone is highly valued for its meat; it is considered as one of the most expensive seafood in the world. A kilo of abalone can cost up to $100 in Asian markets.
Abalone is one seafood in Bali that can’t be found in many restaurants. That’s what makes Awarta’s Chinese fine dining restaurant, Ru Yi, such a special destination. Traditionally braised in Awarta’s special sauce, served with Chinese mushroom and broccoli, the abalone retains its original flavour, only complimented by the simpleness of the sauce and sides. Eating this fine delicacy is actually a status symbol in Asia and is is usually widely eaten during the Lunar New Year.
Address : Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas, IDTC Complex Lot NW 2&3 Nusa Dua
Phone : +62 361 773300
Website : www.awartaresorts.com
Buttery and easy to cook, this delicious shellfish is a true seafood treasure. Their versatility is one of the best things about scallops. You can either bake, sauté or grill scallops, and serve them in a soup, in a salad, as a side, as the main course or on their own. Scallops have a sweet, uniquely rich taste, making them palatable for many diners.
In Ubud, where you may not have considered for seafood in Bali – Kubu at Mandapa mixes scallop with calamansi, avocado and a lavender flavour. The dish showcases thinly sliced Hokkaido scallop, served raw (Crudo in Italian). Its unique, soft and fleshy texture and delicately mild sweet flavour of the scallop are enhanced by the calamansi and lavender dressing (lightly marinated), accompanied with calamansi gel, avocado mousse, pickled cucumber and shallot. Sturia Caviar Oscietra will also be added to finish off the dish along with edible flowers, herbs and black radish slices. The Executive Chef, Maurizio Bombini, created this excellent dish to remind him of his hometown Apulia, in Italy. Buon appetito!
Address : Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Jalan Raya Kedewatan, Ubud, Gianyar
Phone : +62 361 4792777
Website : www.ritzcarlton.com
Whether it comes in a roll, stew, bisque or just straight from the shell, lobster is always a tasty choice! Seafood addicts are very selective when choosing fresh lobsters from the tank. Here’s a tip: the more active the lobster, the more tender the meat! They would also decide a lobster by its gender or by looking at the length of the antennae (the longer, the better the taste). However, all preferences aside, most lobsters are tender and tasty. They are also a great source of selenium and contain omega-3 fatty acids.
In Mozaic, the Lobster Cannelloni is composed of slipper lobster, cooked with Balinese ‘Basa Gede’ spice, crème fraiche, chives, shallots and lemon juice. Everything is rolled up into thin slices of zucchini and topped with Oscietra Caviar, Salmon Roe and micro coriander. For a finishing touch, this dish is served with a lobster reduction, smoked avocado and dots of lemon puree. Would you expect less from Mozaic, Bali’s only Michelin star restaurant?
Address : Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan, Ubud
Phone : +62 361 975768
Website : www.mozaic-bali.com
We are all familiar with this little shellfish; the aphrodisiac of the seafood world! Enjoyed raw and fresh by many, shucked and swallowed down quickly as if they were going out of fashion… When you think of seafood in Bali , we’re sure many of you think of oysters!
Most people prefer to consume raw oysters straight away on the half shell with plenty of lemon for squeezing and Tabasco sauce, while others opt for a fully-cooked approach. Either cooking them or serving them raw, make sure to keep them as cold as possible to keep them fresh. However, a good oyster should taste like itself. You don’t want to disguise its flavour with an abundance of sauces because you will end up with a pungent oyster odour.
Putting a twist on the traditional style, Starfish Bloo’s Oyster ‘SFB’ Kilpatrick is baked in a Balinese red-chilli sambal with smoked bacon and home-made Tabasco sauce. These Flores deep sea oysters are deliciously naughty, such a perfect treat to be enjoyed by the beachfront on a bean bag or dreamy daybed.
Starfish Bloo at W Bali Seminyak
Address : Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak
Phone : +62 361 3000106
Website : www.wretreatbali.com
Octopuses are regarded as one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep but their taste isn’t so much of a mystery. Octopus is actually something that many people eat in a lot of different cultures. The Greek have been eating octopus since ancient times. For them, this dish is a total crowd-pleaser; a wow dish coming out with an impressive presentation. Octopus has a very bland, chewy texture with a flavour closer to chicken.
Frozen octopus cooks up more tender than a fresh catch. But, since we are living on the island, the catch is always fresh. There are so many methods that chefs have figure out to keep an octopus tender. You can beat it over a rock like they do in Greece, massage it with salt like the Japanese or do the Italian style by slow-cooking it in wine. None of those methods are easily explained, but your octopus will come out super tender.
Octopus is not easy to prepare, and even some trained chefs struggle with it. Proper tools in the kitchen are necessary to cook it correctly. Be warned though, octopus typically smells odd, but just know that the smell isn’t because of your cooking skills. In Alila Uluwatu, Rock Octopus enhances the dining experience with smell, touch and visuals. Before the dish is served on the table, you will be given a seashell for close inspection and asked to put it in your hand to feel before hearing the magical sounds from the shell.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Address : Jalan Belimbing Sari, Tembiyak, Pecatu
Phone : +62 361 8482166
Website : www.alilahotels.com/uluwatu
Easy to serve as an appetiser, put it on salads or sandwiches, cooked in garlic or grilled on the barbecue for a main dish, shrimp is probably the most commonly consumed seafood (after fish) on this island. Due to it containing omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine and protein, consuming shrimp is considered healthy for your circulatory system.
When you pick out the freshest shrimp available on the market, find ones with virtually no smell and is clean looking. Avoid any shrimp that smells like ammonia because it is a sign that it has been sitting around for a while. Make sure your shrimps don’t spend too long out of the freezer before being cooked. If you look for live shrimp, either fresh from the ocean or stored in tanks at the shop, cook the shrimp as soon as possible after purchasing it for best flavour and texture. When cooking, bear in mind that heat is a shrimp’s nemesis. It loses weight and volume when cooked too long and becomes tough to chew.
Bubba Gump has long been recognised for its high-quality shrimp and seafood in Bali . Bubba Gump is the shrimp restaurant actually! Their Shrimp New Orleans is made with an insane amount of delicious butter. The shrimps are served shell-on, so you may need to eat with your hands. Since the sauce is served in the same bowl with the shrimp, you can either spoon a small pool of sauce onto your dinner plate for dipping or spoon it over your shrimp.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Bali
Address : Komplek Pertokoan Kuta Centre, Blok A1 #1, Jalan Kartika Plaza 8X, Kuta
Phone : +62 361 754028
Website : www.bubbagumpbali.com
From simple sandwiches made with cooked prawns to a party platter of crispy prawns with dipping sauces, prawns are perfectly suited to the warmer months. Physically similar to shrimp, prawn comes bigger with longer legs. However, their taste and nutrition are the same. As far as cooking them goes, they are virtually identical. In fact, it is almost impossible to identify any difference between them once cooked. Prawns are quick and easy to prepare. Either grill, steam or stir-fry, with a little know-how, you can enjoy them at their best.
At Intercontinental’s Sunset Beach Bar & Grill, their Grilled Lombok Jumbo Prawns are using locally sourced components throughout the islands. This succulently fresh seafood is served with Bedugul baby potato confit, maître d butter and Plaga farm vegetable salad. Both the presentation and the taste are an excellent experience.
Sunset Beach Bar & Grill
Address : Intercontinental Bali Resort, Jalan Uluwatu 45, Jimbaran
Phone : +62 361 701888
Website : www.bali.intercontinental.com
At Som Chai, their Thai-inspired dish ‘Gaeng Choo Chee’ is serving king prawns under Julian kaffir lime as a garnish, mixing it with Thai basil and coconut cream. King Prawns are known for their medium-firm flesh and a rich flavour. And the Som Chai culinary team make the most of their attractive appearance by leaving king prawns whole in dish, rather than chopping them. Whilst predominantly focused on Thai and Southeast Asian street food you can still come here to enjoy some of the most fragrant, aromatic seafood in Bali .
Som Chai – Street Food Kitchen
Address : Jalan Raya Kerobokan #86A, Kerobokan
Phone : +62 878 8661945
Website : www.somchaiindonesia.com
This is a fuss-free meal that won’t break your bank. We always had a few cans of tuna stored in the pantry’s cabinets. Whether sandwiched between slices of bread, stuffed into plump tomatoes or scooped onto a bed of lettuce, tuna has served us countless lunches. It is also the ultimate convenience food, low in fat, packed with protein and portable. With just a little effort, we can easily turn tuna into a salad, a sandwich, a main dish or a dip. But of course, there are ways of making this simple sought-after fish as fine as possible…
With a minimum amount of preparation, cooking tuna is best brushed with oil and lightly seasoned. Pan-frying, barbecuing and chargrilling are the best methods of cooking. Even though considered as a cheap dish, tuna can also be just as fancy as the next fish. Tonno grigliato at Bulgari’s Sangkar Restaurant is the kind of meal that will make your salivary glands go crazy. A few chops of grilled-tuna steak are marinated in fennel and orange salad, and then drizzled with olive tapenade.
Address : Bulgari Resort Bali, Jalan Goa Lempeh, Uluwatu, Pecatu
Phone : +62 361 8471000
Website : www.bulgarihotels.com