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Home / Indonesian Cuisine / Bali Eats Part 1: Ibu Oka Babi Guling In Ubud
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Bali Eats Part 1: Ibu Oka Babi Guling In Ubud
By Alfred May 26, 2009
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6.00
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Bali Eats Part 1: Ibu Oka Babi Guling In Ubud
Fast Facts
Food:
Babi Guling
Type:
Indonesian Cuisine
Setting:
Restaurant
Price Range:
S$1 - S$5
Rating Range:
8 to 8.9
Location:
Bali
Food Centre:
N/A
Recommended For:
Brunch
Reviewed by:
Alfred

When we go travelling, we all have different purposes I guess. Some must whack the local food while others must visit the museums and the women will more likely be eyeing the shopping malls. I am the kind who likes driving and eating when I’m on a trip. Driving because the freedom of movement, you can go anywhere you want. Eating because that’s your good chance to eat something that is not only authentic but also cheap. So you can see why I usually don’t like to go to cities like HongKong or Kuala Lumpur because it is difficult to rent a car and zip around town looking for ‘ho liao’ to eat without getting stuck in heavy traffic.

But places like Phuket and Bali suits me just fine because I can move around and especially to find those ‘Die Die Must Eat’ local dish. Now before I came to Bali, I told myself this place I ‘Die Die Must Go’. So many things had been said about this local delight called Babi Guling and not only eat, you must specifically go to the one at Ibu Oka at Ubud which is something like 1 and half hours drive away.

At first I thought 1 and half hours drive is like from Singapore to Malacca which is about 200 kilometres if you were to travel around 120-130km/hr. Of course in Bali, you don’t have expressway wide enough for your car to go at that speed, instead you’re going to be driving dangerously on a single lane road and needing to fight for space with motorcycles. Ok the distance from Kuta Beach(which is the most happening place in Bali) to Ubud is only maybe around 20 to 30 kilometres. The terrible road and traffic conditions made it a 1 and half hours journey which otherwise would just taken you around 10 mins on a highway.

There were recommendation on some websites that said arriving early is good as at times it might get sold out just at lunch time. That really got me worried as we started our journey only at 10 30am and would be reaching at 12pm which is infact lunch time.

We arrived at Ubud just before 12pm and were surprisingly greeted by what seems like a posh restaurant which calls itself Ibu Oka Babi Guling 2. From memory the one I saw on many websites didn’t look like that but is some kind of coffeeshop.

Now, the last thing I want is to come all the way here and go to the one that is an imitation of the original one but as I were to find out later, they actually opened this new branch only recently.

We ordered 2 sets of Nasi Babi Guling Special as recommended by the waiter. Babi Guling is basically suckling pig and so Nasi Babi Guling is technically Suckling Pig Rice served with some vegetables that is cooked in some spices and herbs.


Babi Guling Special: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

Ours arrived and it had that wonderful bud tiltillating flavour from some kind of herbal gravy covering and decorating the meat. Nasi Babi Guling Special consist of rice, sliced pork, a piece of pig skin, a piece of Gorengan(some kind of fried pork) and vegetables.

Eventhough this is a so called’ Die Die Must Eat’ food, many people after coming all the way here to eat didn’t find it extraordinary and instead asked ‘This is just rice and pork, what’s with all the hype surrounding it?’. My partner belonged to that group and can’t really see where’s the special taste in this food.

Anyway I belong to the opposite and perhaps it is my tastebuds that is easy to please but the fact is at times I can really find joy in very simple food as long it is delicious. And that is what Babi Guling is to me and I will attempt to give it a theme – Simple but yet Deliciously Good. Ok this dish is really very simple visually. There is the rice, the pork, the skin, the goreng and some vegetables. I think you can compare it to our own ‘Sio Bah Peng’ but the thing is there is something special about this version of ‘Sio Bah Peng’ that can please me a few notch higher.

First instead of ‘Sio Bah’(BBQ Pork), they used ‘Sio Ter’(BBQ Young Pig aka Suckling Pig) and we all know that Suckling Pig taste better than the normal pig any time. Second the meat taste like a piece of soft and tender chicken breast more than anything else and it’s to do with the way they slice it just like how the duck meat is being sliced is important or it can taste like a piece of cardboard. Here they’ve clearly not only got it right but perfect.


Gorengan: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

As if that is not enough, they made the effort to create something which I would call the best ‘Pork Goreng’ in the world though I suspect the pork they’re using here are something that they couldn’t finished selling the previous day and deep fried it in some kind of goreng marinate. This piece of goreng meat is seriously so damn delicious that I ordered a pack for take away(which my partner finished almost all of it leaving just 2 pieces of it while on the way back).

Then above all, they have this herbal aromatic gravy that is poured generously over the meat that made it looked like chicken breast covered with some rendang gravy.

The only thing I didn’t like about this dish is the vegetables. I can’t see where it can blend well with pork and rice though I must say I’m usually not very adventurous with vegetables cooked in exotic ways.


Packet Babi Guling

If you’re wondering, yes I can’t imagine coming here just for a plate and so I ordered another one for takeaway for dinner.

Now I can see why people are screaming that this dish is a ‘Die Die Must Eat’, it is a simple dish no doubt but one that is perfectly put together, in taste, in smell, looks and above all else in the value.

You definitely cannot eat Suckling Pig for $3 in Singapore and even if this were to be exported to Singapore by someone, it will gonna cost you something like $10 to $15.

So there you have it, the Babi Guling at Ibu Oka is something that everybody is talking about simply because this thing is not only deliciously simple but also everything that is being put together here is simply delicious.

Price: SGD$3+

Recommendation: Nasi Babi Guling Special and Gorengan(Fried Meat)

Conclusion: Fantastic Balinese flavoured meal with bit of Indonesian spices in a meal with Suckling Pig that we Chinese are so familiar with. Clearly this is an Indian-Muslim-Chinese fusion food.

Likes: Gorengan.

Dislikes: The vegetables.

Address Overall Rating


Ubud Babi Guling
Along Jl. Suweta, Opposite Ubud Palace & close to the Tourist Information Centre.


Food:
9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

Value:
9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 

Service:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Ambience:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Cleanliness:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Overall:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 


Readers' Comment(s) : 2
Lim Boon Tiong says:

wow.. the Pork Goreng looks good !!!

this place certainly live up to its name. :)

Posted May 26, 2009
Alfred says:

Certainly it did!

Posted May 26, 2009
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