Monthly Archives: September 2014

Bebek Bengil: The Dirty Duck Restaurant

Bali is filled with many restaurants serving delicious food – from five-star hotels to street vendors. One of the most famous places to dine in Ubud is at Bebek Bengil or the Dirty Duck.

According to its website, the restaurant’s first guests were a flock of ducks who left some muddy footprints throughout the property. But, don’t let this fool you into thinking that the restaurant is a dingy hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon!

Bebek Bengil is large and spacious with a lot of trees and flowers throughout the open-air restaurant. You can select from a Western or Balinese-style dining experience. The Western style uses standard tables and chairs while the Balinese style allows you to sit or stretch out on cushions and uses a table with shorter legs to accommodate your seated position.

When Reena, Caroline and I went to the restaurant, we were seated at a secluded table in the Balinese area. The platform of the veranda on which we sat was raised and littered with pillows and cushions of various sizes. It overlooked what would have been a nice pool and fountain had it been filled and working properly. We were also surrounded by greenery of all kinds so it felt like we were dining in a jungle.

After marveling at the view, we ordered the crispy duck salad, bebek bengil (the original crispy duck) and barbeque pork ribs. Everything was really amazing and we didn’t leave much left over. I especially enjoyed the pork ribs as they were tender and juicy.

For dessert, we decided that each of us would chose something we liked and everyone would get to have a sample. We selected the original sin devil dark food cake, carrot cake ala Bebek Bengil and coconut cream pie. Even though we were so full we were almost bursting, somehow me managed to wipe the plates clean.

By Balinese standards, this restaurant is an extravagance that only foreigners can afford and as a backpacker I’d have to agree. I would not normally eat at a place like this if I were on my own because I could easily find something five times as cheap on the street. But, as we were having a great time, we decided to splurge and have a bit of fun. Also, by Western standards, Bebek Bengil is inexpensive for the quality and amount of food you receive. If I ever came to Ubud again, I’d definitely come back.

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Filed under Food, Indonesia

A Bit of Pampering in Ubud

Rembulan Beauty Salon & Spa on Jalan Hanoman in Ubud was like a sanctuary from the madness of the crowds and a retreat from the heat. After sightseeing in the Bali sun and a restless night at Sana’s house, we were all desperate for a little pampering.

Caroline was quickly lured away by the spa’s various massage services while Reena and I opted for more cosmetic pampering with some hair treatments, manicures and pedicures.

The entire process took several hours to complete, but at the end we felt like new women. At home, I’m not really one to go to spas and get facials. I don’t see the need to take rose petal baths or be covered in mud masks. But, I may have to reconsider this after my experience at Rembulan. When we were done, I felt utterly relaxed and, dare I say, blissful.

Even though I knew we were returning to Sana’s home and the living conditions would be the same as they had been on our arrival, I felt like I could handle it now after such a relaxing and rejuvenating spa day. In addition, the prices at Rembulan were extremely reasonable and the service was excellent. Perhaps we’ll return again during our short stay in Ubud just to relive the experience?

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Filed under Attraction, Indonesia

Hindu Festival in Ubud

During our visit to Ubud, Sana invited Caroline, Reena and I to attend his Hindu temple’s religious festival. We were honored to take part in the three nights of praying and celebrations.

Sana’s wife dressed the three of us in traditional clothing and we joined them across the street at the temple. It seemed like hundreds of other people were coming to the festival as well. There were so many people that they  overflowed to the streets! Rows and rows of people sat on the asphalt in the dark of night waiting for the priest to bless them.

Personally, I’ve never been to a Hindu ceremony and don’t know much about the religion itself so it was interesting, yet very confusing, for me to join in on these celebrations. Sana’s English isn’t very fluent and I had a really difficult time understanding what he said. If he tried to tell us about the ceremony and the blessings, then I missed the explanation completely. In the end, I tried to copy the actions of everyone around me and hoped I didn’t do anything disrespectful along the way. 

Even though I couldn’t understand the words being said, I very much felt a part of the group. When the prayers were over, several members of the community approached Sana and were curious to find out about us. It was nice to speak with locals on such a personal level and a contrast to our normal interactions that focus on tourist activities. During these three nights, we were part of the community and not foreigners, and I was happy and very appreciative of this experience.

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Filed under Culture, Indonesia