Families will find plenty of local food for kids in Bali offered by hotel restaurants and food courts, with high regards to quality and food safety standards. Local cuisine can be a big part of your family’s Balinese experience, and most of our recommendations appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. 

    We’ve selected the best local cuisine in Bali in terms of flavour and palatability, particularly for the little ones. These popular Indonesian and Balinese dishes include main meals, light snacks, and desserts, but it’s good to know that the locals don’t really differentiate between these – they’re practically enjoyable at any time of the day.


    Fried rice (nasi goreng)

    Nasi goreng is Indonesia’s version of fried rice, which comes in a wide variety and uses various ingredients. The most common composition includes pre-steamed white rice that’s stir-fried with a combination of protein (sliced chicken, veal, pulled pork, crabmeat, shrimps and anchovies), vegetables, scrambled eggs, green peas, onions and shallots, as well as a blend of sweet soy sauce and tomato sauce.

    This colourful dish is often topped with sliced tomatoes and cucumber, fried shallots, shrimp crackers and mixed pickles. Nasi goreng is quite balanced and nutritious as well. Fresh chilli and sambal (chilli paste) are usually served on the side if you like it spicy, but your kids can enjoy this dish without condiments.


    Satay (grilled meat skewers)

    Satay (sate in Indonesian) is one of Indonesia’s most common street snacks. In Bali, you can find sate lilit, a blend of minced tuna and spices ‘wrapped’ around a bamboo stick or lemongrass stalk. Typical satays range from chicken, beef, lamb and pork to fish, calamari and even freshwater snails. 

    You also get a wide range of dipping sauces, such as sambal chilli sauce, tomato dips, sweet soy sauce, and tomato sauce. Our favourite choice is the succulent peanut sauce, which pairs well with any type of satay.

    photo by Mobasir hassan (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Fried noodles (mie goreng)

    Mie goreng consists of stir-fried egg noodles, garlic, onion or shallots, and your choice of protein and vegetables. Similar to nasi goreng (fried rice), fried noodles often have shrimps, chicken, pork, beef, veal or sliced meatballs as options. 

    Sweet soy sauce and ketchup are usually served on the side for added flavour. In some ways, mie goreng is Indonesia’s take on spaghetti Bolognese.

    photo by Midori (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Spring rolls (lumpia)

    Spring rolls, or lumpia, are popular appetisers or snacks that your kids can enjoy any time of the day. Common versions comprise crisp wonton skins wrapped around a filling of minced meat, sliced sausages (chicken or beef), sweetcorn and beaten eggs. 

    You can also find meat-free spring rolls called lumpia sayur, which has rice glass noodles, thinly sliced carrots, chopped leeks, and celery. Dip it in sweet soy sauce or tomato ketchup for extra flavour.


    Chicken noodles (mie ayam)

    Noodle soups in Indonesia come in a good variety, but mie ayam includes minced (sometimes diced) stewed chicken as its main topping. The types of noodles most commonly used are yellow egg noodles, rice vermicelli, and kway teow (flat rice noodles). 

    Mie ayam is considered a popular street food in Bali, but many food courts and local restaurants serve this dish as well. Seasonings include soy sauce, chicken oil, and a blend of spices such as clove, white pepper, ginger and coriander. Some places add fried wontons and bakso (chicken or beef meatballs) to mie ayam for a filling meal.

    photo by Midori (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Chicken congee (bubur ayam)

    Chicken congee is an ubiquitous breakfast dish throughout Indonesia. Most hotel buffets offer this dish at the local selections stations. Locally called bubur ayam, it’s made with rice that’s cooked until soft, with toppings of shredded chicken, crisp-fried shallots, chopped celery, steamed beansprouts or fried soybeans. 

    A dash of chicken broth and sweet and salty soy sauce is also added to taste. Bubur ayam is excellent for kids as it’s a very nutritious dish and easily digested.

    photo by MartinThoma (CC0 1.0) modified


    Thick pancakes (terang bulan)

    Terang bulan pancake literally means "full moon" in Indonesian, thanks to its round shape and lunar crater-like inner layer. It’s also known as a sweet martabak (stuffed pancake) as the dough is made with a batter of flour, eggs and sugar. 

    Kids can enjoy it as a sweet or savoury snack, depending on the fillings. Popular options for terang bulan include chocolate sprinkles, peanut butter, sliced bananas, Nutella, peanuts, and grated cheddar.

    photo by Yun Huang Yong (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Siomay dumplings

    Siomay is of Chinese and Peranakan heritage, but has found a firm place in Indonesian cuisine. Kids love these bite-sized dumplings for their tasty, meaty and chewy textures. Siomay dumplings are usually made with tenggiri (wahoo) fish blended with egg whites, shallots and carrots in a maize flour batter. 

    They’re then steamed, sliced and served with vegetables such as cauliflower and potatoes, as well as boiled eggs and fried tofu. The entire dish is also doused with peanut sauce, chilli sauce, sweet soy sauce, and a dash of lime juice. You can ask the cook to skip the chilli sauce to make it enjoyable for the kids.  

    photo by Gunawan Kartapranata (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Banana fritters (pisang goreng)

    In Bali, pisang goreng (banana fritters) is often served as a morning snack alongside hot coffee or tea. It can be a delicious and sweet treat for kids to enjoy as well, thanks to its combination of crunchy batter and caramelised banana filling. 

    Popular versions of pisang goreng include melted chocolate, condensed milk, or grated cheddar poured over freshly made fritters.

    photo by ProjectManhattan (CC0 1.0) modified


    Kelepon (palm sugar-filled flour balls)

    Kelepon is a local Balinese dessert consisting of palm sugar-filled rice flour balls steamed to a gelatinous texture and rolled in shredded coconut. You pop the entire ball into your mouth and palm sugar syrup will explode with every bite. 

    The best kelepon can be found in the market area of the Tanah Lot Temple, but most hotels have this local dessert on the menu as well.

    photo by Yun Huang Yong (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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