I don’t trust long-winded restaurant menus. Anything of quality requires editing and focus, or application of pure genius. That’s why my blog posts are rubbish. Short menus indicate accomplishment and forethought. Long menus indicate reheated frozen stuff. What does this unsolicited, unsupported pseudo-theory have to do with anything, you ask? Well, at Warung Adi on Jl Danau Buyan, they they don’t have a menu. By all accounts, they are focused. They do one thing and do it well: nasi ayam Bali.
What is nasi ayam Bali? For newcomers to Bali, or those who are yet to pick up basic Indonesian or venture past the strip of beachside tourist restaurants, ‘nasi ayam’ translates to ‘rice with chicken’. So nasi ayam Bali is chicken and rice Bali style. Balinese food is not really known for its subtlety of flavour. Get ready for big spices, herbs and heat. Hows about a picture:
You have sate lilit, which is minced tuna or chicken (this is chicken) mixed with spices and a bit of shredded coconut then squeezed around a fat sate stick and grilled. Meat on a stick. Tastes much better than I make it sound. You have urab sayur, a Balinese/Javanese steamed veggie salad made of green beans, beansprouts, grated coconut, and the ubiquitous bumbu Bali (Balinese spice mix). You have ayam betutu, chicken stuffed with spices and steamed. You have pindang. I think pindang is actually a style of cooking in which you pickle the meat, in this case a small mackerel- or sardine-like fish, then fry it and cover it in sambal. You also see this style of fish in Javanese nasi campur, I always call it pindang. If you know better, please let me know. Anyway, it adds a nice dimension. You get some crispy fried chicken skin, which I don’t like so order without. Finally, you get half a boiled egg which is also fermented, a single fried prawn perched on top, a healthy dollop of sambal merah (red chili sauce) and some peanuts, of course. All piled on top of a good sized portion of white rice. All yours for Rp. 15.000. In fact, I think you can order by size/price – 10k, 15k, etc.
Where is it? On Jl. Danau Buyan, across from the post office and supermarket (forgot the name). If you’re coming from the Bypass intersection, it’s past the bale banjar (Taman Sari), past KKN, on the right-hand side, about half way down towards the Intaran crossroads. If you find yourself going downhill towards a statue in the middle of the road, or around a bend onto speedbumps, you’ve gone waaay too far.
You’ll be lucky to find parking outside, but it is possible. You will find this incredibly petite young lady ready to help, for a small fee of course.
Although there’s a steady flow of business, I’ve never seen the place packed so there’s usually a place to sit and get your sambal sweat on. If you eat in, find a table with good fan action. Or bungkus it. Just don’t try to order something other than nasi ayam Bali. Having said that, you can swap your rice for tipat, which are basically rice cakes similar to lontong (but not cooked in banana leaf).
If you’re not in Sanur and you get the craving, there are a couple of other well known nasi ayam warungs you can try out. Check out Gaby’s review of Warung Mardika Ubud. She lists a few other places at the bottom of her post which are most likely worth visiting. One is Warung Ibu Oki in Jimbaran. There’s another place in Sanur worth reviewing. When I get around to it, I will update here.
Do you have any good recommendations for nasi ayam Bali? Want to correct any of the countless falsehoods I’ve presented above? Don’t be silent, comment.