Friday, June 13, 2008

Ubud, Bali

After Jatiluwih, we continued our way to the handicraft centre of Ubud. We were starving by the time we arrived – it was almost 3pm and we hadn’t had lunch. Our first stop was Ibu Oka’s babi guling which was highly recommended, but alas, they’re all sold out for the day. So we settled for lunch at one of Ubud’s famous restaurants, the Dirty Duck Diner. The restaurant was nondescript from the outside but inside, the restaurant opens out to a paddy field. It’s such a surprise and we felt like we were transported to a different place. Outside is the hustle and bustle of Ubud town with its hordes of tourists yet inside it’s quiet and unassuming, just like in a village!

Our lunch consisted of Nasi Campur for my other half, the specialty Dirty Duck (Bebek Bengil) for myself, fish & chips for our daughter and a side order of Gado-gado (Indonesian salad). The nasi campur comes with a serving of stir-fried vegetables, seafood sate lilit, crackers, prawns, tofu & egg. The specialty Bebek Bengil was a big surprise. The duck is marinated in local spices before being fried to a crisp, so it looked dried (mummified even!). However, one bite was enough to throw whatever reservations I had out the window. It was crispy outside and the meat inside tender! It sure was finger-licking good! The gado-gado comes with slices of fried tofu, egg and blanched vegetables smothered in a thick peanut sauce then topped with crackers. It was just as my grandma used to make. I would have preferred it spicier though, but I guess Dirty Duck’s foreign clientele would not like that. After the satisfying lunch, we were off shopping in Ubud’s main market. The market is a hotchpotch of goods with fruits, clothing, souvenirs, stone and wood carvings, windchimes, ceremonial umbrellas, silver jewellery, everything you can imagine in one place! Needless to say, I went crazy with all the shopping. My loot for today is a carved stone lamp, incense and tealight holders. They’re unbelievably cheap and so exquisitely carved too! We also bought a bag of passionfruit coz back home these are hard to find. The passionfruit were sweet and juicy!

Opposite the Ubud market is the Ubud palace. By then we’re too tired to walk across. We’ve been out since morning and it’s late afternoon already. We took about 1h 30 mins from Ubud to our next resort at Nusa Dua, which we arrived at about 6pm. It's been an interesting day of full unique experiences!

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