Was Ibu Oka’s Babi Guling Worth The Flight To Bali?
June 29th, 2008 · 31 Comments
Yes, I am the wacko who flew all the way around the world to eat pork at Ibu Oka in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Like I said before, it wasn’t my only reason, but it was high up there. I’m a sucker for succulence.
So, after many months leaving you hanging, I’m sure you’re wondering, was it worth it?
Well, yes and no.
You know how sometimes you spy a stone sexy fox from across the room and quickly create the perfect scenario in your head that he will be an expert lover, a thoughtful listener, a comedian, a high-wage earner, and have a knack for reducing the ever-present tension between you and your mother? All this before you’ve even been able to blurt out a hello? That was the pork.
Then you know how once you do muster the courage to say hello, he responds with a phlegm-filled throat that makes your eyes tear up and once he finally coughs up the sputum, he stutters something about how Republicans rule and then laments his recent impotency? That wasn’t exactly the pork, but you get the point I’m making.
You see, nothing can really ever live up to the idealized perfections we create in our heads. I knew that going in, but still I hoped. Thanks to Anthony Bourdain’s awesome Indonesia show on No Reservations, I had built up the idea of this babi guling so much so, that barring an instant tongue orgasm upon first bite, I had set myself up for disappointment.
But all was not lost. First, I had the months of anticipation to feel grateful for. Sometimes I think that’s better than experiencing the actual thing you’ve been anticipating. When someone at work is giving you a hard time, you can just think, “pork.” When your car breaks down on the highway and your cell phone battery is dead, “pork.” It’s a much better option than gun violence.
Second, to be fair, the babi guling actually was pretty fucking tasty. They give you a healthy heaping of pork parts as well as rice and veggies, and the best part…spicy sauce and crispy piggy skin! Chomp, chomp, yum! All for the ridiculously low price of $3ish. It wasn’t the best pork I’ve ever eaten (that distinction goes to the meal created by Travel Boyfriend’s best friend up in Seattle during one of his annual pig roast parties). But it was up there in the charts.
Would I fly back for a second helping? No. But would I go out of my way to eat it if I ever found myself again on the Isle of the Gods? You betcha.
So, if you’re already planning a trip to Bali and are looking for the best babi guling on the island, look no further than Ibu Oka. As long as you don’t perfectionize it beforehand like I did, you won’t be disappointed one bit! And even if you do perfectionize it beforehand like I did, you’re still going to get a mouthful of tastiness.
Travel Betty Basics
Located just across from the Ubud Tourist Information Center. Go early because once they sell out for the day, they close.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia