Of all of the Australian vacationers who’ve travelled to Bali and been charmed by the tropical delights of the Indonesian island, what number of have truly tasted conventional Balinese delicacies?
Balinese chef Juliana Mitry explains that – regardless of good intentions – few Australian travellers get to expertise actual Balinese food, off the favored vacationer trails on the island. Balinese eating places are additionally a rarity throughout Australia, despite the fact that we’ve been holidaying there in flocks because the 1970s and round 1.14 million Australians travelled to Bali in 2016.
“I couldn’t find any restaurants in New South Wales that serve traditional Balinese food,” says Mitry, who first got here to Australia as a 17-year-old scholar. “I missed my culture and cuisine, so I decided to start my own Balinese restaurant during my maternity leave in 2014.”
Today, the four-year-old Balinese Spice Magic – located in Wollongong round two hours south of Sydney – is a thriving dairy-free restaurant with a cultural mission.
“We are trying to showcase that Balinese food is not what you get in the touristy areas,” says Mitry, head chef and proprietor of Balinese Spice Magic.
“Balinese food isn’t just fried rice and fried noodles. They are the dishes that have been newly launched when the Chinese migrated to Bali in [the 1900s].”
So what’s Balinese delicacies? “People often ask us if we similar to Vietnamese or Thai. I say ‘we are in-between’. We have the freshness of Vietnamese foods but we have curries like Thailand.”
Traditional Balinese dishes are often stewed or steamed. Fresh, not dried, spices are solely ever used. Pastes are by no means grinded too high-quality – you’re meant to taste the mixture of elements and recognise particular person spice flavours within the combine. Most importantly, Mitry says, in line with conventional methods, authentic Balinese food makes use of native produce sourced with a way of group spirit.
This food philosophy is definitely mirrored in Mitry’s menu. On a current go to, we began with sate empol, a succulent spiced pork mince wrapped on a juicy sugar cane stick, served with a heat-charged “black dipping sauce”.
“We grow our own sugar cane from our garden at our home in Port Kembla and the pork comes from a community farm in Warrawong,” she explains.
“We like to have people from the community who are growing things for us.”
Our foremost dish is a standard Balinese beef rendang, which Mitry explains is totally different to the mainland selection. As described within the Bali episode of Wonderful Indonesian Flavours (the second of two episodes screening from 6.30pm Tuesday 10 April on Food Network, then SBS On Demand), many classical Balinese dishes are ceremonial and meant to nourish the soul in addition to the physique. Herein lies the cultural essence of Balinese beef rendang. Mitry explains that the majority Balinese don’t eat beef however they do eat retired bulls for ceremonial functions.
Created utilizing her grandmother’s recipe, the Balinese Spice Magic model of the well-known dish is made with regionally grown turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, ginger, chillies and coriander. “The spices are complex and they are full of fresh organic locally grown ingredients and cooked for eight hours as a minimum.”
Both dishes are half of “combo magic nasi campur”– a ‘plate for one’ designed for restaurant first-timers. Offering a pattern of 9 Balinese dishes, it additionally consists of soto ayam (hen soup), be gerang dan kacang (fried anchovies with roasted peanuts) and be sisit wayah (shredded stir-fried hen in spices). Vegans have the choice of selecting the ‘vegan magic nasi campur’ with tahu basa barak (stir-fried tofu with chilli, garlic and coconut sugar), sambel matah (spicy coconut sambal) and soto wong (Balinese mushroom soup).
The dinner menu additionally options Balinese sweets together with vibrant pandan rolls (Balinese crepes with roasted coconut sugar filling), black sticky rice and pisang goreng (deep-fried banana), plus drinks together with jamu kunyit, a blended turmeric, tamarind and honey drink, and Indonesian ice tea.
There’s just one phrase of warning to potential diners – attempt to not fall too deeply in love with a dish’s flavour on the primary attempt.
“Because of the way we source our produce, all of the spices look and taste different all the time,” Mitry says. “So we will’t assure that the meal will taste the identical [every time you visit here].
“But everyone who regularly comes here loves that this is the way it is. If you grow something small in your backyard, you usually put a lot more love into it. That’s what makes Balinese food here taste really good – there’s a real spirit in it.”
Lunch Thursday and Friday 11am to 2.30pm; Dinners Tuesday to Thursday 5.30-9.30pm, Friday and Saturday 5.30-11pm.
130 Kiera Street Wollongong, NSW, 2500; 02 4227 1033.
Food photographs courtesy Balinese Spice Magic / Tess Godkin