As Bali in Indonesia continues to thrive as a tourist destination, so the number of restaurants on the island continues to grow. While many claim to serve real Balinese cuisine, very few come close to reflecting the island’s incredible culinary diversity. An order of babi guling (roast suckling pig) may seem authentic, but there are countless humble dishes which pack much more flavour as well as being of symbolic importance in Balinese culture.
One woman who knows this more than most is 27-year-old food writer Maya Kerthyasa. Half-Balinese and half-Australian, her grandfather was an elder at Ubud Palace, while her grandmother was a cook – a hugely significant position. Kerthyasa is therefore also Balinese royalty.
She has made it her mission to change perceptions of the island’s cuisine.
“I was so confused that no one knew anything about Indonesian food – and Balinese food in particular. People sometimes think its spicy or complicated, but it’s very tied to our religion and culture, with ceremonial dishes which can be super complex.