Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bali's secret eats- the seafood grill at Bualu

When in Bali, do what the Balinese do- eat where they eat. When in the tourist enclave of Nusa Dua: Warung Hal-Me.

grilled clams
The grilled clams offer succulent flesh that bares its straight-from-the-sea freshness.

As the name warung suggests, this is not a restaurant per se but a mere hole-in-the-wall stall by the road, with a few plastic-covered tables and the basic plastic uni-block stools, the most basic of tin utensils and no uniformed waiting staff. Nestled in Jalan Siligita in the village of Bualu, Warung Hal-Me is one of the few night-time only eateries in the area which survived the clearing operations of ambulant booths done before the big climate change confab in late 2007.

Warung Hal-Me grill
Grilling over live coals from wood and coconut husks lends an inviting aromatic atmosphere over the area.

Nowadays the temporary stalls are gone, replaced by a few who fortunately managed to secure permanent spots along the road. Like before, the place is virtually deserted during the day but turns buzzing at night, with local regulars, the knowledgeable domestic tourists and the occasional foreigners.

grilled shrimps
Grilled shrimps are another favorite.

A cursory look of the eateries actually showcases a veritable tour of the variety of Indonesian cuisine, from East Javanese soto noodles, Balinese Muslim hal delicacies and of course the requisite fresh seafood grill ala Jimbaran. In the latter, Warung Hal-Me delivers. The promise of fresh seafood rings true, not hollow and the tourist trappings of Jimbaran disappears as does the exorbitant prices.

grilled fish
A selection of fishes in season is always in the offer.

So as an advice, when in Nusa Dua, just walk a couple of hundred meters westward from the busy commercial strip of Pantai Mengiat towards the hills. Go where the smoke is.

grilled clams
The clams are sold by weight but are a fraction of the cost at the more crowded Jimbaran.

And for us Catholics who practice meat abstinence in Lent, there could be no simpler yet more delectable delight.

Warung Hal-Me
Jalan Siligita, Bualu, Nusa Dua, Bali
(just a few hundred meters away from the popular Pantai Mengiat strip of expensive restaurants and boutique stores)

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