Say Yes To Everything: Eat Like A Local
While in Asia, you are presented with things that you would never see at home: new food, new activities, new culture. My best advice, even from a couple days on the Blissful Bali trip, is to say yes to everything, especially the food. Eat how the locals eat. What better way to learn about a culture than do exactly what the locals are doing. LBW chose two amazing guides for my trip, Petty and Iman, who are from Indonesia. Since the very first day they have been giving us this exact information.
The very first day we arrived we spent our night on the beach getting to know each other. We were given an Indonesian beer, Bintang. I don’t enjoy beer, but I tried it anyways and it turns out I love Bintang. The next day on the beach Iman came over with different types of food he got from a stand such as fried noodles, bala-bala (my personal favorite) and tempeh. Ever since that day, I orders these foods from the menu on my own.
We went to a food court where local people go to eat. Petty pointed to different options that he enjoys at each stand. Without even knowing what it was, I ordered as I was told. Next thing I knew I had a plate of Ketoprak infront of me. Once again, this was a delicious meal. I am starting to recognize the flavors of Bali. There is a lot of fried and spicy food here. Though there is sweet food in the US, nothing compares to how sweet desserts and drinks are made here. They really enjoy their sugar.
We went to a coffee plantation where we learned about different types of tea and coffees. People here make a living off of making tea and coffee. The different types of teas had different health benefits, of which I would never know if I hadn’t learned from the locals. The coffee here is amazing and strong. But the most interesting coffee is called Kopi Luwak. Believe it or not it is made from Luwak (a cat-like animal) poop. Once again, the Balinese people impress me with how resourceful they are. The animal eats the coffee beans along with berries in the forest. As it moves through their body, the coffee beans are filtered. Later the beans are cleaned and ground. I have to say, it’s surprisingly delicious.
Eating is something humans have to do for survival, but it is also a huge part of traveling. People travel across the world to try different foods. Food gives you the inside scoop on a culture. We eat so much rice here because so much is grown here. There are so many rice paddies. People make a living off of harvesting this rice. When you go out to eat, you notice a wider range of meats people eat here, and way more body parts they eat. The people in Indonesia use every part of an animal. Which I find so resourceful, but also so interesting to realize how much of an animal is wasted in my country.
I feel lucky to be traveling with Iman and Petty. We have the inside scoop on what to order anywhere we go. If I were traveling alone, I wouldn’t have had the same culinary experience. So if I have any advice for anyone traveling anywhere; say yes to everything, eat like a local.
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