There is always at least one local dish to be tasted. But be careful, there is also something that when you are away from home you must absolutely avoid not to come into contact with viruses, germs and bacteria that could ruin your stay and also have consequences far more serious than spending most of your holiday with stomachaches or sitting on the toilet … or both things together! Many know the “traveller’s diarrhoea”, but maybe not everyone knows what not to eat in Bali, this beautiful Indonesian island that has inspired many poets and writers but unfortunately also exhausted with its intestinal viruses many travellers. The Anglo-Saxons have even created a specific name for this disease: Bali Belly!
What not to eat in Bali to avoid Bali Belly
Luckily, the disease is becoming less and less common but, as in any other trip away from home, the advice is still to use even stricter hygiene standards than those to which you are accustomed at home.
For example, avoid eating uncooked food or food that may contain or have come into contact with undrinkable water. Vegetables and salads can also be a risk in this respect. Beware of ice in street drinks or the characteristic “warungs” (small family restaurants): it is often made with tap water and therefore potentially at risk.
The same applies to fruit sellers on the street. Yes, I know it looks so fresh, attractive and delicious! But unfortunately, the hygienic conditions are often not what is expected. The knives used, for example, may not be clean.
What not to eat in Bali or, better, what not to drink!
Do not drink running water at all and if you can avoid or limit it in contact with eyes, nose and mouth. Better if you also use bottled water to brush your teeth, for example.
If you are looking for a typical Bali alcoholic drink, the most traditional is the Arak. Don’t worry, you can drink it, maybe you should if you want to find something really special. But beware: make sure you’re from the right place. Some unscrupulous sellers mix methanol with it because it’s cheaper. The same can also happen because of mistakes in the distillation process. And unfortunately, here you do not only risk spending painful moments to get rid of the unnecessary weight of the belly. There is a real risk of being left dry! Drink it only in places with a guaranteed reputation and always check the origin. If you buy it only in the safest grocery stores… even at the airport if you have doubts, even if it is certainly not the cheapest choice.
What not to eat in Bali for ethical reasons
Dog meat: as well as against certain religions, the sale of this dish conceals an illegal trade in which these poor animals are stolen, beaten, tortured, poisoned and cruelly killed. I do not think there is any need to add anything else.
What not to eat in Bali except with special attention
Going to eat fish in Jimbaran is a typical tourist attraction of Bali. Dining on the beach is not recommended, but do it very carefully. Moreover, like all things too touristy (the Anglo-Saxons would say “touristy”) can hide traps (“tourist trap”, in fact), and then the risk of paying a very high bill for food all in all of the very poor quality. Also be careful because after sunset the beaches where there are restaurants are covered with rubbish, which is not very romantic. Perhaps consider a choice a bit ‘off the beaten track as the “Made Bagus”, which should also limit a little’ aggression typical of some players in asking for tips in places too touristy.
Even if you love spicy or spicy food and rightly want to try strong local tastes, always keep in mind that Indonesians have a much higher spice tolerance threshold than us westerners. So be careful because maybe too much spicy food can also seem good and fragrant at first … but all this could disappear after a few minutes if you have to run to the bathroom!
We know that on holiday you make any exceptions to your diet and that fried (there called “gorengan”) are always good and attractive. But if you buy gorengan on the street, try to have a look at the oil used first. Some sellers do not change it often enough even when it becomes dangerously dense and cloudy.
Also, pay attention to the price if it is too tempting. Warungs can be very cheap, but if they start serving you large quantities of meat or fish for a dollar ask yourself a few questions.
The very cheap “instant noodles” are sometimes prepared in containers of “Styrofoam”, a material that was created as an insulator and is suspected to be highly carcinogenic (in addition to being undoubtedly harmful to the environment).
This is only an illustrative and non-exhaustive list of what not to eat in Bali. Yes, I know that on holiday you need to feel freer and you want to try everything and it is also right that it should be so. But keep in mind that the general rule is that if you have even the slightest doubt it is better to avoid taking risks.