Home > Bali: Ubud, Indonesia, Indonesia: Bali, Indonesian > Ibu Oka, babi guling, Ubud

Ibu Oka, babi guling, Ubud

Babi Guling (suckling pig) is Bali’s famous dish and a must eat. Every street corner and in every village in Bali, there is a babi guling stall. Those who has been to Bali would have heard of Ibu Oka which can be found in Ubud – not the closest place to get too, especially if you are staying in Kuta, as it is a 90 mins drive but well worth it in my opinion!

Ibu Oka can be found in the middle of Ubud town, just near the markets. The place ‘warung’ is small, quite dingy, with outdoor seating as well as indoor. Try and get there early, the place opens at 11 am and by midday it is usually packed with diners.

The menu is quite simple – babi guling and more served in different ways. I couldn’t go past the babi guling special, which is pretty much everything on the one plate or you can have it ‘pisah’, rice and meat separated.

I came here with a couple of friends, and we all ordered the babi guling special. Everything on a plate which includes, pork meat, crispy skin, deep-fried intestines, black pudding and chili vegetable relish served with rice. The pork meat was incredibly succulent and tender, the chili vegetables a wonderful complement. The crispy skin was crunchy, gooey and mouth watering. Unfortunately they were a little stingy on the crispy skin so we all ordered a plate of just crispy skin as one small piece was just NOT enough! I have to say to say though, it was really ‘mantep’ which means it TOTALLY hit the spot!

We came back the next day and one of the waitress recognised us! We had the exact same thing, we really couldn’t get enough of it and at 33,000 Rp, which is $3.75, who could resist?

One can’t go to Indonesia and not have teh botol – bottled tea, which really is sweetened jasmine tea which is served cold.

I caught up with the family a couple of days later and they too wanted to eat babi guling. Since we were staying in Kuta, we really didn’t have time to go all the way to Ubud, so ate locally. I didn’t go to the warung, as I had to get my make up done for my cousins wedding, but my wonderful uncle got me a takeaway which he bought from Warung Pak Ketut Dobiel in Nusa Dua. It was good but I still do prefer Ibu Oka. My uncle also bought us a couple of babi guling from Kuta and Legian for midnight snacks (yes after dinner) but the meat was a tad dry and lacked flavour, the crackle hard and chewy. Still, my favourites are Ibu Oka and Warung Pak Ketut Dobiel.

We even had a whole suckling pig at my cousins wedding – talk about over doze of suckling pig! And not to mention, pork belly, bbq pork and many more.

Can you tell that we are a family who loves pork? To say I OD’ed on pork is an understatement. It was good though and no doubt I will be back when I go back to Bali.

I have to say though, still the BEST suckling pig I have had is at Four in Hand – I am SOOOO looking forward to going back there again soon! The crackling sound of the crispy skin…. it was like music to my ears and the meat, deliciously tender, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

GA’s Rating: Ibu Oka Babi Guling: 8 / 10

Ibu Oka Babi Guling

Jalan Suweta, Ubud

Bali, Indonesia

Open from 11.00 am – 2.00pm Daily

GA’s rating: Warung Pak Ketut Dobiel: 7 / 10

Warung Pak Ketut Dobiel

Jalan Srikandi, Nusa Dua

Badung, Indonesia

  1. Frank D Law
    November 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Stopped by Bali on our way back from Shanghai. Loved Bali, especially Ubud which is a place we would come back to again and again.

    This is our third visit to Bali so we decided to give Ibu Oka one last chance, in view of the many superlative reviews in guide books, travel channels and magazines. Reasoning: So many cannot be wrong.

    But it looks like they can be. Although the meat itself which was served piping hot, was generally underwhelming, gamy but flavorful enough, the crackling was still as tough as old leather shoes! It really made my DW and me wonder whether those folks who write glowing reviews of Ibu Oka and their babi guling, including Anthony Bourdain and the food critic from The Guardian have ever tasted suckling pig in a Chinese restaurant? If they have, they would have tasted exactly how good suckling pig should taste like with crackling so crispy thin that every bite is to be savored! It is highly unlikely that after that, they would ever venture to describe babi guling as amazing”, “fantastic”, “best ever” and all the silly hyperbole that have come to dominate this debate and given Ibu Oka an undeserved reputation. I have nothing against Ibu Oka per se. It is the integrity of reviews that I’m concerned about!

    To draw an analogy, if you live in a small outpost, say in the far reaches of Siberia, you may describe your local football outfit as “amazing”, “best in the world” or whatever superlative terms you may wish to employ, not out of intellectual dishonesty, but only because you have never been exposed to the silky skills of the likes of Barcelona or Manchester United.

    That is probably how it is with this “amazing babi guling” nonsense! We were in Shanghai for 9 days and tried Peking Duck and suckling pig IN SEVERAL RESTAURANTS and the stuff that they served up were slices of culinary heaven!

    As we live in San Francisco, we have developed an affinity for the dish. We know that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But how do you judge a dish when you haven’t tasted even remotely the best? It is really like the uncultured and the philistine trying to pontificate on high-brow literature and classical music!

    I’m a fan of Anthony Bourdain and look forward to his witty presentations but on this occasion he has dropped the baton big time! I certainly hope that Bourdain will wise up and realize that he has to remain totally objective. At the rate that he’s going, I fear that his credibility will soon be shot!

    Finally, we remain baffled over these superlative reviews, because when we compare Ibu Oka’s babi guling to the suckling pig we have tasted in Chinese Restaurants from this side of San Francisco to Melbourne to Hong Kong to Singapore and Bayswater in London, we have to say that if the Chinese version and Ibu Oka’s babi guling are compared and placed on a scale of 1-100, the Chinese version would easily place near a hundred and Ibu Oka’s would limp in below minus 10. That is the difference between a culture with 2,000 plus years of culinary development and a rank amateur!

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