Warung Ibu Oka is a small open-air eatery located in Ubud’s town square, right opposite Ubud Palace, and every day you can see the immense crowds that hungrily wait for its incredible delicacy: Balinese-style roast suckling pig. It’s considered by many to be the best babi guling in Bali, and Anthony Bourdain famously covered the restaurant and its delectable dish. Day-tripping bus tours bring hoards of visitors daily who are eager to sample the renowned fare, and at just $4 per serving, it’s a must-try for any budget. Get there early to avoid the crowds, and keep in mind that the restaurant is only open for four hours day, starting at 11 am.
The restaurant serves nothing but babi guling sliced up and served hot on paper plates, best enjoyed with accompaniments like rice, spicy veggies and blood sausage. This complete meal, known as ‘babi guling spesial’, includes the yummiest part of the pig, with crispy skin and fatty succulent meat, served with hot rice, vegetables and sausage. The flavours are harmonious, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, a singing medley of spices, buttery-soft pork, crunchy crackling, and chewy savoury sausage.
To create this mouthwatering dish, the pork is stuffed with a secret family recipe of herbs and spices, likely including garlic, shallots and lemongrass. The pig is then roasted over an open fire until the skin turns deep brown. During this process the meat absorbs the spices and becomes succulent. The owners believe that roasting the pig the traditional way, over wood, is what gives the pig its rich flavour.