It’s hard to say something about Ibu Oka that hasn’t been said before except for AMEN! Babi guling or roast suckling pig is a Balinese specialty and even more so since pork is a rarity in the rest of Muslim majority Indonesia. Right off of the main road on Jalan Suweta, across from the Ubud Palace, Ibu Oka crams in as many people that can sit around the communal tables packed onto the central raised platform. Throw off your shoes, sit down, and someone will swiftly come by to take your order. In our case, it was a squat man, who happened to resemble a babi guling himself, with a fanny pack bulging with rupiah slung below his belly and a gold watch glistening in my face as he wrote down our order. He was too swift for my camera!
At Ibu Oka’s kitchen around the way, happy baby pigs are snorting and playing until they are sacrificed at dawn to be stuffed with a special blend of bumbu bali (shallots, garlic, chili, ginger, galangal, turmeric, bay leaves) and roasted over a wood fire for five hours while being basted with coconut water.
J and I both ordered the babi guling spesial without really understanding how spesial it would be. The plate not only comes with hunks of succulent roast pork and its legendary crisp caramel honey skin but to our drooling astonishment, deep-fried pork intestines and slices of some of the best blood sausage I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat.
Move over chicharrones! Give me a bag of deep-fried chittlins! I could pop these babies in my mouth like a bag of chips. At barely $3 a plate, we contemplated getting seconds or at least a plate of pork skin but we chickened out (wocka wocka!) and instead vowed we would come back very, very soon.
We saluted the picture of Ibu Oka on the wall and left with half-daffy grins that only truly satisfied diners can beam.