Balinese Cuisine and Cooking Experiences 


Balinese food is a flavour adventure!


Zesty, complex, clean flavours, not necessatily very spicy, a wide variety of seafood, perfect for vegetarians, but if you enjoy pork, the Balinese specialise in its preparation as it is ceremonial fare - and the Balinese have more ceremonies than anywhere else I know!  (The ceremonial food used to be sea turtle, but this practice stopped as the turtles became more difficult to find)


Even the humble fried rice - nasi goreng - steamed rice wok-tossed with vegetables and sauces that you'll find throughout Indonesia, is given a Balinese twist.


Bali Bumbu, a unique island blend of spices that makes all the difference. Each Balineses lady will have her own way to make it special, but at Villa Nilaya it's the little extras that make it truly memorable: a dash of fish sauce, a dollop of kecap manis, and pinches of spices, which, although not traditionally Balinese, give it an extra dimension and depth. Almost every recipe depends on a dash of Bumbu, so getting it right  makes all the difference, and in Bali, fried rice just isnt nasi goreng without it.



The one signature flavour of Bali ?


I think it has to be satay sauce, a fragrant, thick, rich dipping sauce made with with ground peanuts (or cashews if you are allergic to peanuts), lemon grass, galangal, shallot, spices, zesty Bali limes and a mean little Balinese chilli - plus other ingredients whic are chef's secret -  combine to make a mouth-watering accompaniment to grilled meat, fish or chicken, and is the indispensable ingredient on cap cay  (pronounced  ‘chap chay’), a vegetarian option with steamed sprouts, vegetables, and tofu.


Our chef, Ketut, above, has been with us since Day One (we opened in June 2011). I’d be lost without her. Ketut's satay sauce is for me, a food group in its own right.

She makes the most delicious satay sauce, grinding everything by hand in a huge stone mortar and pestle called a ulukan. The black volvanic stone is sealed by the coconut oils and the mortar sits comfortably within her hand so that she can give it the full force of her formidabe strength!

East Bali has its own distinctive cuisine, rich in seafood - the dense white meat of the mahi mahi is perfect for grilling and curries - as well as corn, which grows as a staple in the east of the island. 


Rice is cropped an extraordinary three times a year, and the padi fields of Sideman and the mountainous areas near Pid Pid are probably the most picturesque on the island.  A day's drive through this far eastern region is a revelation to people who've never ventured farther than Sanur!

Villa Nilaya's menu features Balinese and Western dishes, and if you happen to catch your own fish Ketut will turn it into a delicious tempura feast.


We have held buffet parties for 60, family birthday dinners on the deck, and intimate dinners by the pool.

Our Celebration BBQ menu is a seafood and pork grill feast, while the East Balinese Spicy BBQ features dishes you might only find in a Balinese 'megibung' party.




You cantake a private cooking class to learn the secrets to making it yourself at home (we’ll give you all of our recipes), and prepare an entire Balinese multi-course meal with our Executive Chef Pak Dewa - and then enjong eating it on the deck ? 

Why not try a personalised cooking class with our Executive Chef? 




Everyone loves Pak Dewa, he’s such a natural, and you'll learn about the spices, how to substitute them at home for similar flavours, traditional health health tips, and Balinese stories (tall tales and true) - much more than just cooking! 

You can chose what kind of food you’d like to prepare and cook and eat, or check our menus for suggestions, including :

  • Multi-course Balinese megibung Cooking Lesson with our executive chef Dewa

  • 2-course Balinese express specialty cooking ‘n’ cocktail with our Villa Chef

We really look forward to sharing the culinary adventure that is East Bali, so please enquire about your Bali  Food adventure.


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© 2021 Anna Kwiecinska