In many ways -- culturally, linguistically and religiously -- Bali is completely different from the rest of the Indonesian archipelago, and the same goes for its food. While Ubud is most famous for its cultural and artistic offerings, it’s also one of the best places on the island to experience Balinese cuisine.
The main practice that sets food from this island apart from the rest of Indonesia’s cuisine is the use of pork. One of Bali’s must-try foods is babi guling, or roast suckling pig, and the area's abundance of fresh seafood means fish dishes are prevalent as well.
If you want to sample some authentic cuisine but aren’t sure where to go, consider taking a private food tour that includes a visit to a village where a family will tell you about their cooking methods and prepare a typical lunch for you.
For a deeper understanding (one you can take back home with you), opt for a Balinese cooking class. Students at Ubud’s Casa Luna Cooking School start their lesson with a market visit to pick out ingredients. After, a local chef teaches how to prepare five different Balinese dishes, and since the menu changes daily, you can come back for multiple classes to learn even more recipes.
Those who like to learn by observing rather than participating should consider a Balinese cooking demonstration in the countryside near Ubud. Learn in the village of Gulingan about the spice profiles that make the food so unique here and feast on traditional dishes in a beautiful thatched pavilion.