Bali was truly a land of abundance.
The warm climate and its fertile land made agricultural products bountiful.
Our driver told us that the staples were coconuts — fruits were yielded from the trees all-year round, plus the whole tree was usable down to the leaves and trunk for furnitures and fabric.
Many food crops were harvested on the island: peppers, beans, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, ginger, mandarin oranges, passion fruit, mangosteens and coffees to name a few.
Most notably was rice cultivation.
There were rice fields every where: short grain, long grain, black rice, and the list goes on.
Large amount of the rice grown in Bali was exported to the rest of Indonesia.
With the ample supply, all the food we had tasted fresh and delicious.
Aside from the Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng that were wildly available in Bali, I also fell in love with Bubur.
It was basically flavored congee, or rice porridge.
I was used to Chinese congee which was generally plain with meats, seafood or vegetables cooked in it.
The 2 versions of Balinese bubur that I had encountered were very different.
This first version basically had porridge at the bottom, sprinkled with curry powder, then covered with cooked napa cabbages and fried peanuts.
It was very delicious, spicy and the texture combination was exciting!
The second bubur was a curry congee with hard-boiled egg; and it came with sides of spicy soy sauce, pickled vegetables and chicken meat.
Since I was a kid, I was not a fan of home-made congee because they were bland to me.
Perhaps now I can jazz up my congee with curry at home!
At a market, we saw these new fruit I had never seen before — the brown fruit by the dragon fruit and mangoes.
The skin looked tough, similar to avocado skin, except smoother but had reptile skin-like pattern.
The fruit stand lady cracked open one for me to try, and it was very interesting.
When she cracked it, it showed that the skin was actually very thin; once it was cracked, the skin was easily peeled-off, almost like grape skin.
A nice light yellow color flesh revealed itself.
It was a non-juicy fruit, and very fibrous — imagine pineapple but without juice.
There was about 4 segments of flesh, and each had its own pit.
The fruit had what I called the “very ripe fruit flavor” that one could experience from very ripe banana, pineapple or even durian.
It had an inherent pleasant light sweetness to it.
After chatting with our driver, he said that the fruit was called “salak” – snake-skin fruit!
It was most definitely unique!