Eat, Love, Pray & Play Bali – Part 7
I went to pay homage to award-winning Ibu Oka, an Ubud institution that draws foodies from all over the world, and to see if the hype is deserving. Ibu Oka started life as a roadside shanty selling Babi Guling (Balinese roast suckling pig), and was made famous by celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain on his “No Reservations” TV program.
The Ibu Oka brand has since expanded to a few locations. We dined at a newer, cavernous outlet that was more canteen-like than restaurant, with a feeding frenzy ambience brought on by the touristy lunch crowd. Service was decent considering the busy hour.
The tasty and succulent pork, served simply on a piece of waxed paper, comes from a suckling pig stuffed with garlic, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass and chili and slow-roasted for hours, with the aroma of the herbs well-infused into the meat.
The crackling is amazingly thin and crispy, almost devoid of fat; a sinful but yummy treat. This is truly awesome.
Tip: across Ibu Oka is an interesting factory-warehouse with export-quality huge and artistic wood sculptures.
Ibu Oka’s babi guling is very good but I’m undecided if I could honestly recommend this place as a must-eat when in Bali. Certainty I’m not yet convinced to trade in my Cantonese roast pork. Perhaps the lure and hype are lessened by the modern location, missing the element of discovery, fun and excitement of eating at the roadside shanty. I would say go if you are a foodie; it earned a tick off my must-eat bucket list.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka
Jalan Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud
Kec. Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361976345