What to Eat in Bali: Merah Putih. That is all.

If my Bangkok trip in December was a 'I deserve this after all the crap I went through' holiday, Bali is a 'can I please find some Zen and peace now before the new year finds a way to piss me off' holiday. 

Yes, there is a theme here (mostly involving other people).

I can't quite remember why, but I made my university BFF go to Bali with me as our first trip of 2020. It probably involved me whining about how much I need a holiday, and then bam, I made her agree to go on holiday with me too.

With that out of the way, a good hotel room and good food was on the agenda.

However, with just 48 hours to spare in Bali, a lack of annual leaves to use, and also a need to at least see parts of it since IT IS MY FIRST TIME IN BALI, I did not have the chance to eat very much there last weekend.


That being said, there were 3 food items that I ate/ drank that I would gladly have again. 

Here's my TOP 3 must-have food of choice, as per my first trip to Bali: 

1. Mie Udang Medan Spesial at Merah Putih

Yes, I know it's blurry, but it's the best I could do since Merah Putih's lighting is on the darker side.

I came across Merah Putih when researching places to eat in Bali (of course). Most people raved about it online, and the deal was sealed when it was also recommended to me by people I knew in real life.

Now. Merah Putih is an Indonesian fine dining restaurant, which meant that the prices on the menu was much higher than those outside.

I thought I went in prepared, but was still slightly stunned at the fact I spent 945k Indonesian rupiah on a meal for 2 people, which consisted of one Ikan Bakar (grilled fish), one Mie Udang Medan Spesial (prawn noodles usually, but this time with a lobster), one cocktail, and one glass of wine.

The wallet-slayer was the Mie Udang Medan Spesial, which was priced at 350k Indonesian rupiah. That is RM103 in my own home country, an amount that I don't even spend in 3 working days usually, let alone on one dish.

I become the perfect tourist for businesses to make money off when I go on holiday.

I overthink the amount of money I might spend per day, times it by the amount of days I go on holiday, and add a little extra when changing one currency for the other.

Voila, you have me spending crazily... on food.

Typing this made me realise that I didn't buy a single souvenir from Bali (unless you count the emergency facial cotton pads to help me remove my makeup). Almost everything I spent on in Bali went into my mouth.

Truly befitting of someone who owns a food Instagram account (that you should follow).

Walking into Merah Putih gives you a feeling like you just got cut off from the madness that was outside. With it being within walking distance of a few famous hotels and beach clubs, on a Saturday night it can get loud on the outside with semi-drunk people and consistent traffic on Petitenget Road.

Inside, though, it's as though you've been transported to a calmer place, where the people cheerfully greet you in perfect English, pull out chairs for you, and even fold napkins on your lap as you sit.

I was seated at a corner near the entrance. Due to the seating arrangement, the conversations of other diners were muted and didn't carry over.

It would make a great date spot - a date for me with good food.

I had planned to get other food items, but one suggestion that the Mie Udang Medan Spesial was their recommendation for the night  (it was not available on the menu at other times) and I was sold on the exclusivity.

This is exactly how Japan marketing gets me, by the way. They are always releasing limited edition products, and my brain is triggered into thinking "I MUST HAVE IT, THEY WON'T SELL IT AGAIN" and then I own things that I barely look at after a while.

When you work in marketing but you are also susceptible to marketing. For shame, Mich, for shame.

Anyway. Food is different.

First up came appetiser in the form of chicken soup. They even gave me a bowl of homemade chili sauce to go with food because I told them I love spicy food, but my BFF does not (I, too, question how she is Asian).

That little bowl of chicken soup warmed me right up, and also made me sad with its amount (not enough, clearly).

I didn't have time to be sad for long, though, because these two dishes arrived straight after.

The concept at Merah Bali was shared dishes, like how most Asian families would have dinner.

The grilled fish came with side condiments, but I thought it was great on its own too - tender without being fishy.

That being said, the star of the night was definitely the RM103 dish to me - and not just because of the price tag (the fish itself didn't come cheap either, at RM58).

The homemade noodles was creamy, the lobster was fresh, and together with the other ingredients they were like a beautiful duet, with the maestro sauce holding it all together.

It was blissful. Yes, every bite probably cost me RM 3 - 5, but still, blissful.

I would love to return to Merah Putih again on my next visit to Bali, just to try out the other food listed on the menu.

I always think that fine dining has to be attentive without being intrusive, to recommend food stuff and take in the food preferences of diners, and also to keep their diners satisfied with the quality of the food and service. From what I experienced last weekend, I think Merah Putih does this well.

Though I have read complaints that the food at Merah Putih was a little on the smaller side, as someone who left feeling adequately full from one dish I can't quite agree.

Thank you for a great dining memory, Merah Putih, and I look forward to going back again.

My Merah Putih experience pretty much dwarfed my other eating experiences in Bali, but I do have two more food items that I would like to have again as well.

The second meal I had last weekend that I would like to have again is...

2. Nasi Spesial from Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen

I didn't actually go to Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen (suckling pig), despite it being relatively near my hotel.

I wanted it for my first meal in Bali, and I didn't want to check into my hotel, walk the 30 minutes or so needed to reach it, then wait more for my meal to arrive at my table.

As soon as I checked into my hotel, I hit the food delivery button I had already hovered above since I was in the car transporting me from the airport to the hotel.

30 minutes later, my food arrived to me.

Food delivery apps with multiple options (not just pizza anymore) is the best invention since the year 2000. I made the mistake of also ordering pork skin crackers, rather than just pork skin, so that's the bag you see in the background.

Don't get me wrong, the pork skin crackers were great (and oily), but it was definitely a little too much on top of the meal which already came with its crackers, skin, pork satay, lawar (Indonesian vegetable mix), and various other parts of pork to go with the rice.

While there is suckling pig sold in Malaysia, it usually come as a whole which is pretty expensive. At IDR46,000 (RM14) for one nasi spesial, it worked out to be far more affordable than suckling pig in my own country.

For someone who had not eaten for almost 8 hours at that point, this food delivery thing plus delicious babi guling was a godsend. While the taste of the special rice did not leave a lingering impression like the Mie Udang from Merah Putih did,  it was still delicious enough to have 2nd place in my heart for nourishing me in my time of hunger.

I also slowly munched away at the pork skin crackers over the course of two days, but eventually gave up when I kept thinking about the amount of oil I was consuming just by them alone.

So if you want more of the usual suckling pig skin instead of pork skin crackers, remember to get KULIT, and not KRUPUK KULIT. I certainly will for next time...

Finally, the dish that has 3rd place in my heart is not a dish at all, but a drink. Drumrolls, please, for the most refreshing holiday drink of all time (well, okay, of last weekend):

3. Coconut Ice Blend from Opeum Bistro, Lloyds' Inn Bali 

Please pay attention to those beautiful drinks in the background, thank you.

With a specific name and picture like that, it might not surprise you to know that I stayed in Lloyds' Inn Bali when I was in Bali.

I had a not-that-great first day in Bali, to be honest. First, my BFF's flight - which was already the latter flight - was delayed by a full 50 minutes. Then to get through Bali airport itself was a huge battle, with it being an hour already when I finally got out of the building. Waiting for my pre-arranged driver also took time, since I gave him the details of the latter flight only.


a) it was cloudy, the sun was hiding behind lots of clouds,
b) all throughout the beach was loud people, music, and litter here and there, and
c) the restaurant and bar I decided to plop myself down at was not the best.

It was named Chiringuito Bar, and it had those colourful bean bags outside for people to watch the sunset from. With so many clouds hiding the sun, there would be no gorgeous sunset to see, but hope sprang eternal anyway.

We plopped ourselves down and ordered 2 coconuts and a plate of potato wedges.

The potato wedges were terrible. I didn't know people could mess up frying potatoes that badly, but they could. It wasn't crispy or crunchy, the insides were not warm or even felt like it had been fried long enough, and I didn't eat another potato wedge beyond the first one.

Also, the coconut wasn't even cold and tasted kind of weird - a little sour-ish. I gave up on that too.

What really pissed me off, however, was trying to flag down a waiter to ask if he could help take pictures. Like, he could have said sorry, no, but the response?

He just looked at me weirdly then walked off.

My BFF: "Did he just ignore you?"
Me: "Yes."

Yet he was really nice to all the white people around us, so I guess I was just the wrong skin colour, or didn't keep ordering alcohol for him to be nice to me.

I DEFINITELY won't be going back there again - and this includes the beach.

I've been to much better beaches in Australia anyway. It must be because they allow people to have alcohol on the beach in Bali that Australians flock there (drinking in a public place, park, or beach is an offense in Australia).

The BFF and I abruptly decided we'd be much better off back at Lloyds' Inn with room service, so we paid and walked off after less than 15 minutes. It also started raining as soon as we walked away, so there was definitely no beautiful Seminyak sunset to be seen on that day.

We were right about being much better off with room service, though.

I was so offended with the warm coconut water I was presented to drink at Chiringuito Bar that I asked for the Coconut Ice Blend when ordering room service. AT LEAST IT HAS ICE IN ITS NAME, IT SHOULD BE COLD.

It was more than cold. It was so delicious I ordered it again the next day. Not only was it refreshing and tasted wonderfully of coconut, it was a smooth drink. Most ice blended drinks are in need of the ice to melt a little more once you start drinking, so that you can get to the liquid. For this Coconut Ice Blend, though, it was so smoothly blended that it went down easily no matter how fast I drank it.

I wish I ordered it a 3rd time, that's how good it was. It really made up for the crappy experience earlier on. If I were to stay in Lloyds' Inn Bali again (might check out a villa or another boutique hotel next time), that would be the first thing I get.

Overall, I would rate my eating experiences in Bali to be less satisfying than what I had in Bangkok last month. I am not sure this is a fair comparison, though, considering that I truly treated my Bangkok trip like a culinary holiday for each meal. Meanwhile in Bali, I had free breakfast daily at Lloyds' Inn Bali. No offense, but free breakfast foods are often on the average side, and so it was here as well.

Visually breakfast was fine, but not-warm scrambled eggs with a cut of bacon and sausage on top of bread is not my idea of a grand culinary journey - more of a 'keep myself sustained until I have actual good food to rave about on my blog' journey.

Hopefully the next time I'm back in Bali, I'll have more food to rave about. Terima kasih for the weekend memories, Bali.