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Bali Food Guide

Balinese dairy are simple. Most meals are created around white rice or nasi and there is little variation. Brightly coloured rice cakes (jaja) are the ussual Balinese breakfast and other meals involve rice mixed with vegetables, peanuts and sometimes meat (beef being exception only to certain caste). Spices especially chili, are sprinkled with gay abandon.

There are no real meal time. Woman prepare and cook the food in the morning, leaving it in pots covered with palm leaves, for leisurely consumption throughout the day. Eating is one of the few activities that most Balinese choose to do alone.

Basic Food ingredients

The staple food of Bali is white, polished rice. Nowadays cooked rice (nasi) is of the fast growing "green-revolution" variety found everywhere in Asia. The traditional Balinese rice (beras Bali) tastes better, but is restricted to a few areas and is now mainly used as a ritual food. Other, less frequently grown varieties, are red rice (beras barak), black rice (ketan injin), sticky rice (ketan) and a type of dry rice (padi gaga) grown in the mountains. Rice consumption averages 0.5 kilo per day. Many local vegetables grow in a semi-wild state. These include the leaves of several trees and shrubs, varieties of beans (including soybeans), water spinach (kangkung), the bulbs and leaves of the cassava plant, sweet potatoes, maize, etc. The flower and trunk of the banana tree, young jackfruits (nangka), breadfruits (sukun, timbul) and papayas may also be cooked as vegetables. Foreign vegetables such as cabbage and tomatoes are now commonly found also.

Bali Beverages Ingredients

The usual drink served with Balinese food is water or tea. Apart from this, there are three traditional alcoholic drinks ” drops of which are sprinkled onto the earth during rituals to appease the bhuta or negative forces. Tuak is a mild beer made from the juice of palm flowers. The flower is tapped in afternoon, the juice collected overnight in a suspended container, and the next morning it is fermented and ready to drink.

Arak or sajeng rateng ("straight sajeng) is 60 to 1oo proof liquor distilled from palm or rice wine. It is basically colorless, but may have a slight tint from the addition of ginger, ginseng, turmeric or cloves. Brem is a sweet, mildly fermented wine made from red or white sticky rice. Yeast is added to the cooked rice, which is wrapped and after about a week liquid squeezed from it is ready to drink.

Everyday fare

Upon waking around 5 or 6 each morning, the typical Balinese woman goes to the kitchen to boil water for the morning coffee and cook rice and other dishes for the day. Cooking is done only once and the food is then eaten cold throughout the day. Breakfast in most cases consists only of coffee and fried bananas or rice cookies. Some will eat small portions of rice with vegetables, often bought in a nearby warung.

When the woman has finished cooking, she will prepare a number of small banana leaf mats on which she places rice and other foods. These are then offered to the gods placed in the house shrines, on the ground by the entrance gateway and in front of all buildings in the compound. Only after this has been done can the main meal of the day commence, usually at about 11 am. A smaller evening meal is had between 5 and 7 pm, just before or after dark.

It is quite unusual for a family to sit and eat together - in sharp contrast to ritual meals, which stress togetherness. Everyday meals are taken in private; one goes into the kitchen, takes what is there and retreats to a quiet Place to eat alone, more or less in a burry, with the right hand. Nothing is drunk With meals; afterward there is lukewarm tea or Plain water to rinse the mouth and hand.

Everyday meals consist of rice, one or two vegetable dishes, sambal, peanuts, grated coconut with turmeric and spices, and perhaps a Small Piece of fried fish bought in a nearby warung. Usually the same meal is eaten several times, and in general there is not much variation from day to day.

Vegetables are cooked with coconut and Spices and served dry or with plenty of broth.

Ritual feasts

Special ritual foods are prepared for each ceremony by the family or community involved. Villagers contribute materials and labor, and the dishes are prepared in the temple's own kitchen. Usually there is a strict division of labor. Men slaughter and butcher the pigs, mix the spices, grate the coconuts, and prepare the sate (meat skewers) and other dishes such as blood soup and pork tartar, usually very early in the morning (between 3 and 5 am). Women cook the rice and prepare vegetable offerings (which may be consumed after their consecration).

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