Bali 2010 - Lunch at Ibu Oka's Ubud
Ibu Oka in Ubud has always been famous for its Babi Guling, and now thanks to Anthony Bourdain it is World famous. The American Celebrity Chef proclaimed Ibu Oka’s Babi Guling as the best roast suckling pig in the World. Based on what I’ve read on the blogosphere, many bloggers have made the journey over thousands of miles just to try it out for themselves. Some have been disappointed. As for me, I don’t know if it’s the best in the World - but I am darn sure it is right there at the top of the list. I never miss Ibu Oka’s when in Bali.
So what is so special about Ibu Oka’s ? They only serve one thing - roast suckling pig. Just order the Babi Guling Special - it comes with a generous serving of pork slices topped with a spicy sauce, a little piece of crackling, a blood sausage, some gado-gado, and all of this piled on top of a generous serving of rice. The meat is very tender and flavourful, it has taken on the aroma of coconut milk which is used to bask the pig during the roasting. The sauce has a subtle spicy curry taste that is aromatic without being overpowering. The blood sausage is packed with flavours - spicy, salty and savoury. The crackling immediately crackles when you put it in your mouth, and the fat under the skin just melt into delicious goodness. The gado-gado serves to balance out all that meat nicely. You wish there could be more of it, but they need to ration it carefully for every customer. All this together make a really satisfying meal in itself.
Ibu Oka’s warung used to be near the Ubud Town centre, just opposite Ubud Palace. Due to the popularity, they have moved to Ibu Oka’s house, which is much nicer then the warung. The warung is smaller and can get very crowded and often you have to queue for a place to sit. At the house, there is a lot more space as most of the dining areas are actually at the verandahs of the Balinese style residence consisting of many individual pavilions. Once you are seated, the order is taken and the food served in a matter of minutes. They have honed their service into an art.
It is quite exciting to see the roast pigs being brought out to the serving kitchen. They go through about 6 pigs every day, around 400 servings.
Once you have finished your meal, you go and pay at the cashier. A queue can build up at the checkout - there are just so many customers everyday ! The great thing is you never feel hurried, and eating there is always a very enjoyable experience - and the price ? Around RM 10.00 each including drinks. Can you believe it ? This is the cheapest piece of food heaven you can find anywhere in the World !