If you think pigs are really cute & eating pork is sacrilegious, then my following post will greatly offend you. But if you are a fan of pork and think char-siew (honey glazed roast pork) is the perfect pairing for anything and everything, then you'll need to go to Ubud to sample some suckling pig from Ibu Oka in Bali (that is if you haven't already). Almost everyone who has been to Ubud will eat at this place. It's so popular that they sell out by early afternoon.
On our first day in Ubud, we went to Ibu Oka and ordered the famous babi guling for lunch. The place was rather chaotic, there were people shuffling in and out, tourists and locals alike. We scored a table at the corner after waiting around for a bit. We had to be aggressive, it's first come first serve in the sense that if you put your ass down by the table you want, then it's yours. We ordered the babi guling spesial (special suckling pig) and babi guling pisah (different suckling pig, I'm serious, that's what it says on the menu). We also saw a brand new roasted pig being dropped off at the restaurant so we hurried over to take some pictures. The lady at the stall skillfully peeled off the roasted crispy skin and I felt my mouth watering. I searched my conscience as I stared at the glossy pig and felt completely guiltless.
The thing about suckling pig is that it's all about the skin. I liked the "special suckling pig" more because the skin was crispier, the skin of the "different suckling pig dish" was thicker, stickier & a little too hard to chew. The meat was moist and the sauce & vegetables were complimentary of the dish. We also had the yummy pork rinds that came in the packets as appetizers, and found the best way to finish off the meal was with some juicy mangosteens.
I think the best suckling pig I've had is still the roasted baby suckling pig I ate growing up in Malaysia. It's a rare treat because they are mostly roasted during special Chinese celebratory ocassions as offerings to our deities or ancestors. But Ibu Oka is still really good, considering how remarkable it is to find yummy pork dishes in a country that consists of over 80% Muslims. Bali is an exception as Hinduism is the predominant religion on the island.
Babi Guling @ Ibu Oka
Jalan Suweta/Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia
3 days ago