Picture this – heavenly bodies marinating in the sun on the vibrating beaches of Bali…now read on to find out why life’s a beach in Bali!

Bali is a small island eight degrees south of the equator. With a population of around 3.5 million and an equal number of visitors, it survives on a staple diet of tourism. Its beaches are numerous; the stretch from The Oberoi to Kuta and up to the Discovery Mall is famed for its surfing conditions and bungee jumping tower from where brave hearts hurtle down on motorcycles. But before we lay out the menu be warned that hawkers will descend in droves the moment your presence is felt…literally, because as you lay your jetlagged torso on the warm sand masseurs will emerge from the madding crowd to gently circumnavigate your shoulders and legs with deft hands backed by smiles that would melt butter in a jiffy. Now let us move onto the Meenu as it is called here. These are the recommended delicacies if you happen to be stranded on Kuta beach and are hungry. Prices range from US$ 0.20cents to US$ 1.50 –

Manas - Pineapple

Manas (Pineapple) Skinned sweet pineapple on a stick or fork. Refreshing, clean but very sticky so a quick wash up in the sea will definitely follow.

Sele (Sweet Potato) – Slices of sweet potato with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts and topped with chopped chilli. It would be advisable to nibble a bit of the chilli as the Balinese chilli is notorious for reminding the diner of its presence the following morning.

Buah aka Rujak Manis (Mixed fruit salad)– Mango, Banana, Watermelon, Tomato, Papaya and Melon sliced and liberally sprinkled with prawn paste, garam (salt), gula mera (palm sugar). Very popular with tourists and locals.

Jagung Bakar (Grilled corn), nothing really to write home about.

Bantal – Sticky coconut rice wrapped in palm leaf. Children love it. It goes well with Buah aka Rujak Manis (sweet salad).

Sele - Sweet Potato

Ice cream vendors overrun the area so if one bites on a chilli mistaking it for a green bean there is always first aid at hand in the form of an ice candy.

Bali Kopi – The local brew that invigorates the extremities instantly. Order a cuppa at sunset before retiring for the night to the dens of iniquities dotting the throbbing by lanes of Kuta.

Drinks – Established brands of beer, soft drinks, juices and mineral water. Served chilled.

Mei Ayam Tak Tak

Mei Ayam Tak Tak – Noodle soup with ayam (chicken), water spinach, egg, whole peanuts. Tak tak because the ‘chef’ at the warung ( dhaba) knocks the spoons/chopsticks on the rim of the bowl when he/she serves the dish piping hot.

Nasi Campur Ayam – Steamed rice, fried ayam (chicken), vegetables, fried tempe, whole fried boiled egg with sambal (chilli paste) on the side. The staple meal for all self respecting inhabitants of the isle. Served at beach temperature.

Nasi Campur Ikan – Steamed rice, fried mackerel, fried ayam (chicken) optional, vegetables, fried tempe, whole fried

Nasi Campur Ikan and Ayam

boiled egg with sambal (chilli paste) on the side. Served at beach temperature.

Bantal – Sticky coconut rice wrapped in palm leaf. Children love it. It goes well with Buah aka Rujak Manis (sweet salad).
A word of advice: Don’t panic if you can’t eat the beach food, there are other options. All along the promenade that lines the beach are a host of fast food outlets and restaurants to cater to all budgets. Also, every outlet has clean rest rooms!

Nasi Campur Ayam

Essential words for the philistine –  Garam (salt), Susu (milk), Manis (sweet), Pedas (hot), Nasi (rice), Masalah (problem), Cinta (love), Ya (yes), Tidak (no), Tamu (guest), Aku cinta kamu (I love you) – and for the intrepid traveller more to follow in the next issue.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Bantal - sticky coconut rice wrapped in palm leaf