Ibu Oka Babi Guling

a 'special' plate of babi guling
a 'special' plate of babi guling

Ubud. Across the street from the Royal Palace. Ibu Oka (i.e. mama oka’s place) This place is hopping. Locals and tourists rub shoulders to get a piece of this famous roast suckling pig. Open around 11AM and they close when they run out of pigs. That can be anywhere between two and five PM. Better get there early.

The pigs arrive one by one. Carried on strong men’s heads.

babi guling arriving
babi guling arriving

When I see this, I’m glad we’re not in Europe at this point; the sanitary guys in Brussels would probably close this place faster than you can blink an eye. But that’s what gives this place its charm. A little bit of this local air can add nothing but spice to life.

Then it is the ladies, maybe even Ibu Oka herself, who are in the open air/make shift ‘kitchen’ cutting up the pig, and serving the plates.

bussling kitchen
bussling kitchen

The locals eat with their right hand. But for us visitors, they’ve graciously accepted that we use forks.

perch where you can...
perch where you can...

 

The place is so packed that you might think the waitress has forgotten about you. But remember that you’re in Bali, so relax. Just soak up the ambience and relax, she will get to you.

The ‘special’ plate gets you a little bit of everything: meat, crispy skin, a little bit of sausage, a touch of blood sausage which is also spicy, rice and a little veggies. Oh and some of that spicy signature gravy!

One plate is a full meal for one person. But we met a hard-core fan who had two plates just for himself!

We wanted to try the veggie dish (sayur). Green beans and spicy sauce with enough chilies to get your eyes watering….a little too many for me. But if you have a little rice on the side to calm things down in your mouth, the flavors are electric.

spicy veggies
spicy veggies

A little bit of Bintang local beer washes everything down, and cools you off.

For a concentrated example of authentic local color, spice, and bustling exoticism, this is a must visit. 

dog waiting for a bite
dog waiting for a bite

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