Martinis, Motorbikes & Monkeys

Ubud has changed in the past 10 odd years. The traffic can be unbearable, costs have skyrocketed & the touts can make even a peaceful person dream of a semiautomatic weapon.  But despite all this, Ubud is still charming. And a foodies dream come true. There are still peaceful guest houses nestled in the rice paddies, The landscape is lush & the beauty in the rituals of Balinese Hinduism make this cynical atheist believe that religion may not be such a bad thing after all.

Ubud Then

Ubud now

Nasi Campur

Nasi Campur is a staple in Indonesian cooking. It starts with rice & usually urap, which is cut up long beans & bean sprouts cooked dry with chilies & other spices, there is usually some tempe, egg,  chicken, some sort of pig & and peanuts. Every bite is unique. This plate was delicious and at slightly under $1.50 you can’t complain.

masala dosa

sometimes I have a hankering for some non indonesian food and this authentic masala dosa hit the spot.

ribs & martinis at naughty Nuri's

Getting a good cocktail in SEA is no easy feat. ( and lets face it, sometimes a girl just needs a DRINK)   Second rate & watered down alcohol  are the standard, which is why i mostly stick with beer, but even the beer isn’t that great, so when I heard about Naughty Nuri’s martinis I knew I had to go. Naughty Nuri’s is owned by an expat & his indonesian wife. The menu is a chalkboard, with a few choices, but I recommend  sticking with the tried & true: ribs, side of fried potatoes & a martini. The ribs are grilled out front and there are big bowls of extra sauce on the table to mop over the succulent & fall-off-the-bone, baby back pork ribs. The martinis come in a frosted glass and are poured so full they have a meniscus. Sweet baby jesus, it was like mothers milk. At 100,000 IDR (11 bucks) they don’t come cheap. But, when you need a martini, you NEED a martini. or two.
After learning how to ride a motorbike on Nusa Lembongan, I was eager to explore Ubud & surrounds by bike But the traffic in Ubud is horrendous & my motorbike riding skills are not particularly well developed, and let’s face it, I’m a pansy. The thought of getting road rash (or worse) in Indonesia made me turn tail & hire transport. I know. I know. pantywaist.

excuse me... bananas make me belch

These seemingly harmless critters can be found all over bali. These guys were at Ulu watu & of course, a gazillion can be found at the monkey forest in Ubud. They may seem cute & cuddly, in fact they are nasty, hissing & spitting thieves. They steal sunglasses & hats & don’t even think of carrying food on you or you will be maimed by the little bastards.

Tanah Lot

view from my terrace in Ubud

babi guling at ibu oka in Ubud

No trip to Ubud would be complete with a trip to Ibu Oka. Ibu Oka’s legendary babi Guling (balinese suckling pig) even made anthony bourdain swoon. The pigs are stuffed with balinese spices, trussed up & roasted on a spit while continuously being mopped with fresh coconut juice. the coconut juice turns the skin a luscious caramel color and the taste is crunchy, piggy, sweet cracklin’ goodness. The pig is hacked up & slabs of tender pork is placed atop rice & served with urap, some of the stuffing & if you order the “special” you get a piece of blood sausage as well,  which is also divine.


Durian. poor maligned durian. Banned from public transportation & nicer hotels throughout SEA,  for it’s “unique” aroma,  I think it’s it’s being unjustly punished. Sure it smells, but so does camebert and nobody fines you for having IT on the subway.   I think the custard like texture is lovely & the smell, is , well, pungent but  it’s also floral and musky & sweet. I get the “gym socks” description, but to me, it’s delicious. Durian is not called the “king of fruits” for nothing, people.  try it. you may like it. or you may hate it.

typical street scene in Ubud


About Miss Q

I am a travel obsessed foodie, with an inexplicable love of clamato, elvis costello & the unknown
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3 Responses to Martinis, Motorbikes & Monkeys

  1. Lisa says:

    I stayed in Ubud for a few days at the end of 2009 – 20 years since my previous visit. There wasn’t a single thing there that I recognised. Your ‘before and after’ photos are great. I remember cycling around the rice paddies with hardly any traffic. It’s much different now! I don’t blame you for not wanting to give the motorbike a go.

  2. Aaron says:

    Yet another spot on description of a place.
    You’re killing me with all these Indo posts; my backpack is supposed to be put away for a while, but you’re making that REALLY tough!
    There’s some decent Mexican food in town too if you’re in need of that fix; I certainly was, 2 meals there in a day in half.

  3. Steph says:

    I haven’t been to Ubud since 1996, but even then, I could sense that it was on the cusp of major change. Nice to know there’s still GREAT food. I imagine, and hope, there’s still great art. Babi guling- YUM! I had that again in Sydney, but I have no notion that it was anywhere close to what you got at Ibu Oka! We’ve had two days of warm sun, then back to cold and gray. So annoying! Thanks for continuing to post- just looking at the beautiful tropical sea makes me feel a little warmer.

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