That is maybe what you are thinking of when seeing display picture of this article. Indeed, it was beautiful. I was a bit surprised that Kuta has this kind of rural area where you can get to experience eating in the villages, by the fish pond, inside those tiny little house or what so called bale. Running a way for a while from the hustle bustle and get indulge with the villages atmosphere at Bale Udang Mang Engking was very nice option to go if you’re around Kuta.
Bale Udang Mang Engking Kuta has been established since 2009 and currently managed by Avilla Hospitality. Declaring itself as one of recreation place in Bali, the restaurant has become a talk and popular destination to visit. Went around Kuta in the morning and visited this restaurant in the afternoon got me a totally different atmosphere, from the crowded urban beach to the quite rural villages.
It’s just like any other ordinary day in Bali, the sun shone so bright. It was indeed very hot but sitting inside the bale totally made me forgot about the whether. The straw roofed house built up from bamboos with a traditional floor-mat. It was surrounded by fish pond landscape, very relaxing yet calming with sound of water and traditional music around the place.
Have you ever imagine to have your meal above a fish pond? Not at the side, but above it! No kidding, the bale where I got my dine in was built above fish pond with an open space under the feet. No, it didn’t get me wet but it’s always an exciting thing to see fishes swim less than a meter under your feet, isn’t it? Enjoying my food in the bale while chit-chating for hours was one of my memorable dining experience in Bali.
Bale Udang Mang Engking Kuta is not only popular for it’s thematic concept, but also for it’s Indonesian cuisine. Lead by Chef Nyoman Wijaya who has started his career in culinary since 1960, Bale Udang’s kitchen serve 600-700 guests per day and able to maintain it’s consistency in providing authentic taste for years.
As how the restaurant named with, their most popular menu is udang — Indonesian term for prawn. I got to taste one of their signature prawned dish, Honey Grilled Prawn and not to doubt for it’s freshness. It grilled to perfection where I still could taste the softness of the prawn. I didn’t found any over-black-burnt-skin like ordinary grilled prawn. Instead, I got a shiny-reddish skin which was so tempting.
Another best seller menu that also well tasted was Gurame Nyat Nyat, the whole fried carp with Balinese spices sauce. The fish was a bit fishy, a common thing for freshwater fish. However, the spices could cover it well. The sauce permeated well to the skin, seems like the fish being poached for a while in the sauce.
If you wish for fresh soup to accompanied your meal, I recommend you to try this Sop Udang Kelapa Muda — prawn, squid, and mushroom soup. The soup was similar with Tom Yam soup but it was not that spicy yet less in sour, instead it’s a bit sweet and coconuty. Uniquely, the soup was served in whole coconut.
Other nice choice for side dish was this Tumis Baby Bucis — stir fried baby bean with leek and sweet corn. This was a simple dish but I couldn’t help my self to always dig in the veges! The baby bean was not over cooked, still crunchy and green. Adding corn into the stir fried gave another touch of sweet which made the whole dish more delish.
Not only serving authentic food, Bale Udang also have various beverages with traditional touch. Named this Es Kelapa Rujak —combination of fresh lee young coconut with Balinese spicy syrup. It tasted so exotic with a bit sweet and sour at the same time. One of my favourite was Carrot Sensation. Mixing up the carrot, orange, ginger, and honey, this nutritious glass gave me a refreshment.
Bale Udang didn’t have much choices in dessert. Sweet that went to my table was Tape Gulung. Tape refers to Indonesian traditional fermented cassava. Street food vendor usually cover the tape with flour, deep fried it until golden brown, and sell it as afternoon snacks. Modify the recipe, Bale Udang’s tape was rolled in spring roll skin, fried to crunchy, and served over caramel sauce and grated cheese. Nice crunch to close your dine.
Bale Udang Mang Engking Kuta opened everyday started from 11.00am – 10.00am both for lunch and dinner. The ambiance for both time was also different. I come at late afternoon and got a rural and traditional ambiance. If you are lucky, you could get to see a rainbow over the fountain at the pond, just like what I got on my camera. At the early evening, the ambiance was changing into romantic, with traditional live music performance and beautiful lanterns hanging over the places.
BALE UDANG MANG ENGKING KUTA
Jalan Nakula No. 88, Sunset Road, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
Everyday, 11.00am to 10.00pm
10% government tax, 5% service tax