Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ibu Oka, Ubud (Bali)

Mention the words "Babi Guling" to any Balinese person and you'll see a smile break out across their face as they start licking their lips. Babi Guling, or roast suckling pig, brought a big smile to the dials of The Boy and I too!  We headed up to Ubud for a day trip - for the sole purpose of indulging in a plate or three of Babi Guling at the famous Ibu Oka.  Traveling 3 hours just to eat suckling pig seemed like the logical thing to do.

I actually thought Ibu Oka would be really flash and touristy...but it wasn't. There were HEAPS of local stopping in to grab a take-away paper coned filled with Babi Guling (as well as hoards of tourists). It's the first place I'd seen in Bali that happily served a mix of locals and tourists. I liked it. A LOT!

Most of the seating is on the floor in an open-air pavilion (no shoes allowed). I'm too old for that nonsense so we grab one of the few "proper tables" out in the front yard where I can sit on a chair with a back AND leave my shoes on too!

The tables downstairs aren't anything flash mind you - plastic picnic tables, with plastic chairs and plastic seats. Of course each table also has the ubiquitous plastic cutlery tray and a box of tissues! Love it!

The serves aren't enormous so we ended up ordering two plates each - OINK. The first was the "a bit of everything plate" that cost about $4.  It came with moist, shredded Babi Guling, a tile of crackling, blood sausage, rice and some other weird bits + pieces that may or may not have been intestines. Anything I couldn't ID went to the street dog who taken up camp near our table - bless him.

The second plate was straight up "Babi Guling" that arrives with piles of meat, crackling and rice. Street doggy got the rice because I felt rude eating in front of him...but I just couldn't give up any of the precious Babi Guling. Sorry doggy!

After lunch we wandered across the road to the Royal Palace - where the Ubud royal family live.  You're free to wander around and check things out - just don't venture into their private living areas.  We noticed a HUGE, weird looking wooden structure at the main entrance. Turns out that they'd had a BIG BIG cremation ceremony the night before.  The body of the royal family member is hoisted to the top of thing and cremated. Everybody else who's being cremated in the same ceremony does so at ground level in a mass-cremation. Being cremated is a BIG important deal in Bali - it would've been a great thing to see.

Across the road from the Royal Palace is the crazy, busy, hectic, insane Ubud Markets - a rabbit warren of trash, treasure and produce.  We'd arrived a bit late for most of the produce and it was a bit stinky in that neck of the markets! I've been to the product market before and it's pretty good.  This trip we did a bit of haggling and I walked away with a few nice silk scarves and some silver jewellery. No idea how much any of it costs as I was being haggled left, right and center.

Apart from the markets there are LOADS of shops in Ubud - catering to just about everything the cashed-up Westerner could want.  I couldn't think of anything that I wanted, other than a Gelato as it was so darn HOT!

We met our driver back at the Monkey Forest. Monkey's FREAK ME OUT (they're always rushing at you and trying to rip the earnings right out of your ears) so I'm glad that The Boy didn't want to go in and visit them. We both agreed though that we needed to try a cup of Kopi from this guys motor-bike stall - damn it was GOOD, so thick yet sweet.

Ibu Oka is on Jalan Suweta/Tegal Sari No. 2 - Ubud, Bali. There are THREE Ibu Oka's in Ubud. We went to the one opposite the Royal Palace. Get their as early as you can (ie 11am) to beat the crowds of tourist buses.


  1. Loved the post. I stayed in Ubud for a few days over Easter, right opposite the Monkey Forest and didn't venture anywhere near the little buggers or their damn forest. I smiled when I saw the picture of the leaves and flowers in the upright pond outside the shop as I have the same photo - it was impressive. I too love Babi Guling. yum yum

  2. I loved Bali and I think you've captured it really well with these great shots. This makes me want to go on another Asian adventure!

  3. my favourite place to eat!!! i ate here like 3 times last time i was in bali. you can also get a serve of just the crackling which we did :)

  4. I think you sat on the exact same table as me, next to the chopping-up-pork-station. I wonder if the locals get better cuts than the tourists, because what we got was basically kinda ordinary...I'm a huge crackling fan and pordered a side order just of the crispy skin. which wasn't so much crispy as stiff as a board. My poor molars couldn't make any headway at all! It was an experience though. A good one for the scabby dog next to us (possibly the same one??)

  5. I would go to Bali just for that... You've made me hungry now!

  6. that suckling pig looks amazing!

  7. Hi gastronomous anonymous & pommiefoodie - would you believe they were out of crackling when went to order a plate! They had an overcooked bit that I wanted to buy but they said NO! So sad!

  8. Bali is amazing.. and yes I would travel 3 hours for roast suckling pig too!

  9. Ewwww... I can't stand monkeys either! But I reckon I could go a plate of that pork and rice. Looks fantastic!

  10. Thanks for sharing, coming from the other side of the world I had no idea of what the food would look like over there.

  11. We went to ubud solely to have suckling pig too. Unfortunately seeing the street dog in the kitchen helping itself to meat straight off the bench ensured that we never had any :( I think I still would have had some...hubby was not going near it at all!

    3 weeks suffering with gastro on our return to Oz before being diagnosed with some crazy worm might have been worth it for some amazing pork!


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