Babi Guling is a Balinese institution. The word is Indonesian and the literal translation is ‘Rolling Pig’. Otherwise called Roast Pig or Suckling Pig. The word being Indonesian is unusual as most of Indonesia is Muslim and they don’t eat pork! So this delicacy is only found in Bali (and a couple of other small non-Muslim areas). It is a must try if you visit Bali.
The whole young pig is rubbed in Balinese spices , with the internal space cleaned and stuffed with yummy local spices. It is skewered on a spit and roasted over wood and coconut husks. There is a Babi Guling stall on many street corners of Bali.
The meal is served as a standard package. I guess you can choose what you want, but my Indonesian is not good enough for that type of negotiation, so I just get “the works”. Not only the tender beautifully cooked pork meat is eaten but also almost every part of the animal is made into something tasty.
The meal starts with plain rice then a selection from the following list is added to the dish. There is usually a unique spread at every Babi Guling Warung:
- Tender slices of roast pork
- Crispy pork crackling
- Deep fried crackling, made so it is puffed up and super crunchy
- Blood sausage, made wheat flour, spices and lots of pig blood
- Pork meat sausage
- Liver slices, thinly sliced and fried till almost crispy
- Other uniquely cooked tripe (intestinal parts)
- The stuffing; a finely chopped mix of herbs and spices (to compliment the meat)
- A spicy sauce on top
- A vegetable accompaniment, perhaps green beans and chilli/coconut
- A sambal for the side to make it extra spicy if required; sambal is often made with fresh chillies, shallots, lemongrass plus other spices.
As unusual as all this seems to the Western palate, it is the norm for this type of meal in Bali, and all the components are surprisingly delicious!
Where to get it?
‘Ibu Oka’ is touted as the best suckling pig or babi guling in Ubud. There are three stores now, two in Ubud central and one in Mas. You can find it at local markets and on corners. Look out for the pig sign, or the whole cooked glossy pig on the bench.
see also: our description of eating at Ibu Oka in 2012.