Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Basking in Bali: Where to Eat and Shop

Let me share with you some of the places we highly recommend if ever you do find yourself in the Seminyak and Kuta area. This is by no means an extensive nor definitive list, rather these are our favorites as these cafes/restaurants offer local dishes as well as comfort food (Italian and American cuisines) which are affordable but of very good quality.

We were lucky to have Yvette join us on our third day in Bali. Having lived and worked there for 5 years, she is proficient in Bahasa and knows the ins and outs of Bali itself. I can't say I'm not officially envious, I would love to immerse myself and live here as well. While I am slowly working towards that dream, anecdotes, tips, and tricks from Yvette which I found extremely helpful will have to do for now.


Made's Warung

Yvette recalls Made's Warung as a small roadside hawker place back in the day and it has now transformed into a bustling restaurant. The word "warung" means a small informal eating place that is usually family-owned.

Me, Tish, Yvette
Food here is affordable, home-cooked, and definitely satisfying. Another thing I love in Bali are the drinks, iced teas and juices are made fresh and are never from powdered sources. As someone who always requests for houseblend iced teas in Manila, I was in heaven every time I'd take a sip of let's say, freshly-squeezed beetroot juice or lemon iced tea. The former though made my sister gag xD
Beef Rendang IDR 50,000
Nasi Goreng IDR 40,000
Nasi Goreng is of course one of their specialties and this whole platter cost us only Php 137. I was told there's authentic Nasi Goreng in Manila, their small kiosk participates at the Greenfield Weekend Market and they sell theirs for Php 180. Will definitely check that out!

Bali Colada

One time, my sister and I were going around Kuta Square [window] shopping when we realized we haven't had lunch yet. Travel does that to you, sometimes your priorities are all messed up and you forget to eat. We were, as fate would have it, in front of Bali Colada and we just decided right then and there to grab something to eat.

Bali Colada serves lunch, snacks, dinner, and drinks. The staff is cheerful and very warm (all Hindus I've encountered are so nice to tourists) and it was refreshing that they are able to converse well in English.

The menu here is more varied and includes American, Italian, and Indonesian dishes. They have sandwiches, salads, steaks, pasta, the works! Now normally when abroad I wouldn't trust restos to do other cuisines well (save for their own local fare), but we've never left any Bali warung or restaurant disappointed! I guess these people really know their tourists because everything we ordered off the menu turned out to be delicious.

Chicken Steak ala Raja's IDR 79,000
I had the grilled chicken steak smothered with creamy mushroom sauce with veggies and steamed rice on the side. This cream was made from scratch (just like how my Mom makes it) and the chicken breast was so tender. I don't like chicken breast but they cook it here so well, I can't complain.

Bebek Goreng IDR 80,000
We've had Bebek Goreng previously in a high end restaurant in Ubud and the duck was small, dry, and tough. Bali Colada's version was much, much better at half the price -- the duck was juicy and tender, with bigger portions this time. This meal was so sulit and my sister loved it so much we would be more than happy to come back to Kuta just for this.

my iced tea :)
Railway Restaurant

Walk a couple of blocks from Home36 and you'll see Railway Restaurant just below Kuta Station Hotel. This is mostly where all tourists/expats eat and where the Balinese watch their favorite teams compete because -- surprise! -- it's a sports bar!

There's wifi everywhere in Bali so you won't feel disconnected. Also, during the time that we were there (3rd week of October) it was the Rugby Championships so all the restos and sports bars offered bundles (food + Bintang); something to take note of if you are an energetic sports fan. 

Tuscan Chicken IDR 80,000
Roast Duck IDR 100,000
Black Canyon Coffee

We didn't see a lot of cafes in Bali which was sad news for us night-owls. Thank god there was a Black Canyon beside our hotel which closes at 10pm (still too early!). They serve really amazing coffee (strong, flavorful, not watered down by milk and syrup) plus delish meals though a little bit more expensive, AND they charge about 15% additional for tax.

Chicken Wings
But if you're the picky type and want food that's closer to home (i.e. what we usually eat in malls when in Manila), then you'll find comfort here. The staff can converse well in English and are very accommodating. Thankfully, Black Canyon also opened in the PH in McKinley Hills because I would really suggest trying out their signature Iced Coffee.

Earth Cafe

While traversing Seminyak we spotted Earth Cafe, a wholesome concept store which serves organic vegetarian food choices and all natural skin care products (check out what I bought here).


To reiterate, Bali is the land of bikinis! There are numerous Roxy, Quicksilver, RipCurl stores just laid out everywhere and you get first dibs on new styles, or scour the racks for old releases which are on 70-80% off. Even if you do prefer the newer styles, they are still relatively cheaper here than in Manila.

Outlet stores

Bikinis, waterproof bags, sunscreen, accessories (hats, necklaces, bracelets), they're all here! If you're on a budget don't blow your money on everything, take only what you need because you can always come back anyway.

Take note, sizes do run big (obviously since a lot of the XS/S sizes will be the first to go) so if you spot something you like and it fits AND it's cheap, take it!

Art Mart

I found Paradise but #forever is in Baler :)
I spotted two: one in Kuta and one in Seminyak (though I suspect there are more outlets). It's like a pasalubong center where you can buy souvenirs (soaps, key chains, etc.), coffee, sarongs, virtually anything made in Bali.

As with our Kultura stores in the PH, some items run a little bit expensive. Like these shells which I was hoping to buy for my pet hermies -- they were IDR 35,000 each. But call me lucky as I was able to score unpainted shells (and bigger ones at that) just by walking along Kuta Beach and I only paid IDR 50,000 for both. My pet, Oedipus, was so thrilled he changed shells the moment I placed them in the crabitat. 

My Mom said I should've gotten these silver novelty items, so I shall schedule a trip to Art Mart soon.

Kuta Night Market

This part reminds me of Divisoria or Pratunam, tiangge-type stores where you can buy clothes, paintings, key chains, and other pasalubong items for cheap.

Just a word of advice: the long roads stretch endlessly and there are lot of dark alleyways so keep your guard on. Only tread places where there are a lot of tourists so you don't get yourself in trouble.

pompom shorts

Side story: While headed back to the hotel from DFS Galleria (Duty Free in Bali which is the most boring Duty Free ever, don't go there) on the Kura Kura Bus, the bus made a quick stop in Seminyak Square to alight some passengers and I grabbed my sister and said, "Tara, baba tayo!" 

IDR 20,000/pax from DFS to Legian
My sister, up to this day, will say she opposed of this spontaneity because firstly, we didn't know how to get back to the hotel, and second, the buses here follow a specific schedule and the ones going to Legian (where we alight) have their last trip at 7pm. It was already 7pm, so we were sort of stuck here indefinitely.

It's so traffic in Bali!!!
But anyway, this brainfart allowed us to "discover" and explore Seminyak Square which was originally not on the list of places we were supposed to visit. And in case you were wondering, we got home via Uber which I had to pay for since I had the brainfart. 

Seminyak Square

I bought my Aqua shoes in Bali :)
Apart from the Roxy, Quicksilver, RipCurl stores (again!) I find that Seminyak Square offers more classy indie-signers products that I'd gladly spend more money on. Case in point:

My Cup of Love

Beautiful bronze accessories, pretty and kitschy home decors, and aren't those buntings just tres cute?

My YKPA Mermaid Doll

In another store I got a YKPA Mermaid doll to add to my Morbie Collection. Each purchase helps fund the Bali Street Kids Project, a non-profit org that aims to give disadvantaged kids a loving home and keep them off the streets.

Mermaid doll IDR 65,000
I chose the handmade medium-sized Mermaid Doll which I thought was so cute! I will buy anything handmade for a good cause, though one IG follower commented that it looked a bit creepy, haha.

Cocona Natural Care

A specialty store selling natural personal care products with coconut oil as the main ingredient.

More clothing stores

I wish I took more photos! I feel that there is more to learn about Bali which is why I really want to immerse myself and live there. As a first-time traveller, I am still very much a tourist and I hope I could visit more often so that at least I can be called a local (lofty dreams, I know). That just means there will be more Bali stories next year! Stay tuned because I have one more blog post before I move on to another equally gorgeous location :)

More Bali adventures here: http://bit.ly/BaliChronicles


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