Distance makes the heart grow fonder: in search of Bali’s best Nasi Campur

A couple of years ago, I noticed a pattern in my travels. It seemed that the harder the place was to get to, the better it was.

Pretty simple theory: the more difficult the trip, the harder it makes it for bulk tourists to go. It rings true of Porto de Galinhas and Jericoacoara in Brazil, Ko Tao in Thailand, and even our favourite local spot near Mallacoota in Victoria.  Pemuteran in North Bali was a windy, bumpy, 4 hour ride from Denpasar but completely worth it.

Hindu offering Bali

One of the things that strikes you about Pemuteran is the quiet. Sounds of birds, geckos, fishing boats, roosters, Hindu prayer and the local Mosque is all you can hear.  Music from nearby houses celebrating Galungan lets us know that the Balinese like to party too.

Nasi Campur is a dish widely found across Indonesia, which is mixed rice with tasting serves of protein (chicken, tempeh, tofu) and vegetables.  It’s healthy and filling food that’s easiliy available wherever you travel. It makes sense that across Bali and wider Indonesia, every region and village have slightly different versions.

Subsistence farming is big here. Walk down a dirt path and you’ll be met by clucking chickens and little black pigs. Banana leaves are in abundance and most people grow their own cassava and root vegetables.  The local market, Pasar Gores, provides fresh vegetables and the local fisherman sell Mahi Mahi, tuna and snapper for under $4 a kilo off the boat.  It shows that Nasi Campur is simply a few dishes of locally available produce with rice.

Thinking of cooking it yourself? Check my Nasi Kuning recipe I learned from the amazing cooks at Jeda Villa.

Being here in Bali brings me back to earth.  It’s the kind of simple and self sustaining life I wish I had at home.  Chicken comes from the market warm because it’s just been killed.  Tempeh and vegetables are grown in peoples gardens and sold at markets.  It’s a pipe dream to grow you own vegetables and rear your own animals, but it’s a picture of life in the slow lane.  When life goes too fast, I’ll always think of Pemuteran, Bali.


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