INDONESIA - Trying out local dishes is a common thing to do when you are traveling. Yet, this routine can easily turn into an extreme culinary experience when a dish is something that you would never imagine yourself actually consuming.
Not everyone have the ability to stomach extreme cuisine when some dishes aren't even commonly consumed even by the locals.
Here are some local dishes available in Bali chosen by The Jakarta Post Travel that plenty of locals consider delicacies but, unfortunately, don't usually receive the same warm welcome from tourists.
Lawar is a common dish in the Balinese household.
Made of mixed vegetables as well as coconut, jackfruit and herbs, you may wonder how a healthy dish like this can be considered an extreme cuisine.
But, before you dig in, you should be informed of the meaning of its name "lawar", which is also an ingredient.
Lawar merah gets its red color from pig's blood - uncooked pig blood, that is. This particular ingredient makes a lot of people hesitate from trying the dish (though they do have the less intimidating version called lawar putih [white lawar] without any blood involved).
To try this dish, your best bet is to find a nearby local night market.
You can also find it at food stalls available throughout the island but they'll probably serve a mix up of red and white lawar because blood spoils fast.
If you are already familiar with nasi campur (mixed rice) in Bali, then nasi pedas wouldn't be a surprise, except for its spicy flavor.
Literally named "spicy rice", this dish might not be all that repulsive, especially for those who have a high tolerance for spicy foods.
But Nasi Pedas is still a challenge for most Indonesians due to its spiciness. You are going to want to place two drink orders to go with one plate of this dish.
Try out this dish at the well-known nasi pedas Bu Andika on Jl. Raya Kuta,, across from famous souvenir shop Joger.
When this restaurant rose to fame a few years back, plenty of other restaurants soon follow the trend.
Cooked with a coconut-milk broth, gulai otak is basically a stew made of ox brain. It has a squishy texture similar to foie gras, and for locals is considered a high-end dish.. But, still, eating an animal's brain is not for everyone.
To get this dish, you can simply go to any Padang restaurant around Bali, including Sederhana Bintaro on Jl. Dewi Sri, Natrabu in Sanur.
Rujak Kuah Pindang
Rujak is an Indonesian fruit salad that is usually served with a spicy nut sauce, a past-time snack for the locals.
Like other Indonesian foods, there are several variations of the dish. In Bali, rujak comes with a unique sauce called kuah pindang, which is a fish stock made from ground fish and a mix of spices. Kuah Pindang produces a very strong smell, similar to the stench of dried fish. This strong aroma is what usually gives rujak kuah pindang a bad first impression as it can put off some people from trying it.
To get this dish you can find it in many street-side food stalls. Sometimes it is referred to as Rujak Bali as well.
Sup Kepala Ikan
Literally meaning fish-head soup, sup kepala ikan has risen in popularity in recent years, especially in Denpasar. It is a soup, as you might have guessed, in which they used the head part of a fish as the main ingredient.
Again, for the locals, this dish is considered a luxury - it is commonly one of the most expensive menu items in many Padang restaurants.
You will be served a whole - sometimes a half - of the fish's head with all the parts, including the eyes.
To get this dish, you can go to restaurants that specialize in it in Denpasar.
Tiga Pala restaurant in Jl. Raya Sesetan is well known for this dish.
Alternatively, head to Mak Beng on Jl. Hang Tuah, Sanur, or any Padang restaurant and order gulai kepala ikan - essentially the same food but with the addition of coconut-milk curry.