SF Cable Car Route Llamas, Alpacas and Mutants Fall Colors Mardi Himal Trail Golden Gate Zabriskie Point Prayer Flags Sunset Chinchero at Sunset Annapurna South in the Early Morning Fish Market Cementerio de Trenes de Uyuni Night Cats Sunset From Moro Rock Very rare deserted street Half Dome at Sunset Machhapuchhre Sunset from Marshall Beach, SF Grafitti The Danube at Night Annapurna South Under the Stars Mardi Himal Trail Rolling Fog Prepping to FIght Boudhanath Stupa Sheepherders and Annapurna South Cumhuriyet Anıtı Phewa Boats Alamo Square Bluebird Skies Stars Over Annapurna South White Mountains Sunset Fog Rolling In Half Dome at Sunset Vocano Scarred Mountains The Golden Gate at Night Old Man in Siding Twilight Fog Market Flags Bodie Eastern Sierras Under Shadow Snow and Shadows Temple Statue Marin Headlands Sand Dunes Hong Kong from the Peak Bay Area Sunrise Yosemite Fall Leaves Monument Valley Green River Canyons at Sunrise The Blue Mosque Buildings and a Bridge Cropped Crosswalk Headfirst Pisac Hillside The Buttermilks Rooster Fights at Forest Camp Resting Zabriskie Point Photographers Annapurna South

Settling In In Ubud

October 10, 2010 —

Arriving in Ubud was definitely a surprise. After taking backroads through towns, villages and cities, I was caught off guard when I got to a sign that welcomed me to Ubud. I thought I still had several more kilometers to go. I should have known however, as I kept passing tons of artist and woodcrafter shops. That should have been my first clue I was closer than I thought.

Rain in Ubud Rain in Ubud

Once there, I sought out a place to stay. Based on someone I know who previously stayed in Ubud, I went first to the Khrisna Guesthouse (sometimes referred to as the Krisna Guesthouse as well). They only had one room (out of six) available for one night. It was more than I'm used to spending, close to $20 USD / night, but I decided to splurge. They did have hot water. I mean, taking a hot shower every once in a while has got to be worth a little extra money, right?

Khrisna Guest House Khrisna Guest House

The extra money was definitely worth it. I had a private balcony overlooking thick palms, banana trees other unknown named trees, bamboo and a small creek I could hear. There was black tea every day between 4 and 5 as well as great breakfasts every morning. The owner was really nice and the day manager was very friendly, accommodating and went out of his way to make sure I was doing what I wanted to do. It turned out that the room available for one night didn't mean that another room freed up the next morning. So I was able to switch rooms to another room that was available for 3 nights, though my new room didn't have as great of a second floor balcony, I was fine with that.

Spesial Balianese Roast Pig Spesial Balianese Roast Pig

With the switch made, I decided to head off to someplace I'd been looking forward to for years: Ibu Oka's suckling pig. If you've seen Anthony Bourdain go to Indonesia, you've seen what I ate. Tony went to the same exact place in Ubud and enjoyed Ibu Oka's Babi Guling Spesial (the special suckling pig, or the best meat). At this Ubud institution, they take a suckling pig, fill the inside with spices and sauce, close it back up, put a big piece of bamboo through it and rotisserie it for several hours while carefully rubbing it's skin with coconut milk. Being a bit of a pig roast connoisseur (I have cooked three whole pigs ranging from 40 pound suckling to a 109 pound delicious monster), I was eagerly looking forward to seeing how the experts did their pig.

Ibu Oka, Suckling Pig Ibu Oka, Suckling Pig

I didn't seen anyone order any other dish, and knew that I didn't have to either. One Babi Guling Spesial ordered! I wish that I had asked someone to take a picture of my grin when I saw the food coming to my table, but truthfully, that was the last thing on my mind. The only reason I have a picture of it before I ate most of it, was that I've gotten into the habit of taking food pictures when I travel. Thanks for that reflex. The dish is superb. The crispy skin is full of flavor, the meat is juicy, the blood sausage is spicy, the other parts I don't know the names of were flavorful and amazing... this instantly became my new favorite meal in Indonesia.

Ibu Oka completely made me realize how bad Joe and I have screwed up the last two pigs we did by not getting the skin crispy. Having crispy skin adds so much more finish to a dish. I also know that the next pig has to work some coconut milk into the recipe somewhere. And some Indonesian spices. And some perfectly cooked rice. Damn, I just ate a full breakfast, but already I'm hungry again writing this. I was in Ubud 5 days, and I ate there for lunch 3 of those days. It was good. If you go to Bali, you have to go to Ubud, at least for lunch.