This year marks my 10th anniversary of living in Bali. The island has witnessed my heartbreaks and healings, empathised with my failures and frustrations, and given me love, confidence and a sense of identity. We have a strong bond, and I would like to pay homage to Bali and celebrate our decade-long relationship. The question is: How do I capture my love affair with Bali?
Melbourne-born Chef Duncan McCance, Executive Chef at Copper Kitchen & Bar, BismaEight Ubud, shares his ricotta dumpling recipe for your guilty pleasure.
I’m no stranger to risk-taking—I have skydived from 4,000 metres high and gone bungee jumping. I frequently dive with sharks, and I even fell in love and got married. When adventure beckons, I brace myself, gear up and get going. Nevertheless, the concept of canyoning or canyoneering was foreign and a little bit scary for me.
Brunch—an indulgent and sociable meal inextricably tied with last night’s debauchery—is a dirty, dirty word in Ubud. The once quaint hometown of Bali’s artists and craftsmen has transformed into a holistic healing hotspot inundated with a parade of cold-press-juicing, kale-munching dietary tribe and sun-saluting limbersexuals seeking spirituality with their spirulina and clarity with their chia.
The narrow stretch of Jalan Arjuna in Kuta, Bali’s legendary tourist hub, is clustered with tacky shops and dodgy late-night bars. The last thing one would expect to find hidden in the side alley off this notoriously congested street is an oasis of elegant dining. And this is part of the charm of Pearl Restaurant, Bali’s best-kept French fine dining secret.
Up in the hills of Ubud, amongst the lush grounds of the Blanco Renaissance Museum, a culinary revolution is underway at BLANCO par Mandif, a new restaurant by Indonesia’s award-winning chef and restaurateur of the hugely successful Teatro Gastroteque, Mandif M. Warokka.
Here’s a question to think about: do you eat to live or live to eat? From Socrates to Buddha, we are guided to eat simply and live modestly, yet for most of us, food is more than merely fuel. “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” wrote French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. In our society, eating has become an intensely personal experience and an imperative language in the articulation of our identities as individuals, a society, a culture and a nation.
A freshly brewed cup of coffee is more than just a daily pleasure, it’s a way of life. And the art of drinking coffee is just as important as the science of brewing the perfect cup. Coffee is a powerful and complex stimulant that continues to play an integral role in our political, social, economic and environmental development. Some even claim that it’s a character-defining beverage: you are what you drink. In Bali, Ubud’s thriving café culture is extensive. Mom-and-pop coffee shops and specialty roasters offer tantalising signature house blends and single origins, encouraging us to be adventurous with their tales of exotic, far-flung cherries and indigenous beans. Follow my coffee chronicles as I sip my way around town and spill the beans on the best little-known artisan coffees in Ubud. Juria House Juria House (Jalan Sugriwa 5, tamansarikopi.com) is an unexpected hole-in-the-wall coffee corner in Ubud, quietly steeping the world’s rarest high-grade Arabica from a very special single variety coffee grown in Flores. These coffee trees are descendants of an old, rare Typica species of Arabica …
As an adventurous water baby living on an island of endless summer, I owe it to myself to explore every waterhole and aqua activity. Be it scuba diving, surfing, white water rafting, snorkeling or waterfall hunting, I never turn down a chance to get wet and wild in Bali’s beautiful nature. I am hopeless at board sports and my knowledge of wakeboarding is practically non-existent, but when I was offered an experience at the Bali Wake Park, I descended from the highlands of Ubud in a heartbeat.
There is always that one evocative summer that changes you: the lingering memories of a sweet romance; long gourmet brunches with great friends; endless sun-drenched afternoons celebrating the pure joy of doing absolutely nothing—and what better place to enjoy summertime feasting and living than at the newly opened Jungle Fish in Ubud?