Mmmm….. Pork!

Now, I do love pork. And, if pork’s your thing – or even if it isn’t normally – Balinese babi guling is a dish you have to try.

What is it? A whole pig. A small pig, but definitely not a piglet any longer. So, technically, not actually a sucking pig. But when you try the meat you’ll realize why they think of it as that.

It’s slow roasted with garlic, shallots, herbs and a hint of the turmeric-galingale-chilli-goodness spice paste they call bumbu Bali over here.

And the glazing! The outside is a slim skin of the crispiest crackling. The bulk of the fat has melted into the meat. But some still remains, clinging glutinous inside the crackling.

Babi guling, Balinese sucking pig lying on a tray ready for service

The ibu at the stall will dole out slabs of it with her bare hands. Top it with a rich, lightly spicy gravy, and, if you like, your choice of sausages, from spiced meat to blood sausage.

Not to mention those Asian sausages with the rich globs of fat which take a bit of getting used to and, err, an egg sausage which, well, I tried so you don’t have to.

In theory you should eat rice with it. Alternatively, pick up slices of the tenderest pork I’ve ever tasted and shovel them down with your bare hands.

It’s a wonderful thing. Once served only at ceremonies, but now an afternoon treat at roadside stalls on out of town roads.

And if you wander through Gianyar market at babi guling o’clock – that’s early afternoon – you might get to see the cooked pigs being delivered. On a motorbike, naturally. It’s Bali, after all.

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14 Responses

  1. Sophie says:

    I’m a bit squeamish about pork myself, but my 9-year-old carnivore would absolutely love this. Should probably take her to Bali now 🙂

  2. Nicole says:

    I’m not really much of a meat eater but my husband’s family likes to roast a pig for big gatherings or important occassions. Something about the process of watching over the pig on a spit all day that gets everyone all excited. I imagine it’d be quite a sight to see a cooked one on the back of a motorbike!

    • Theodora says:

      We did a proper, i.e., baby sucking pig for Christmas one year. Z was quite happy carrying it out of the butchers, very proud, in fact. And it was less the back of a motorbike than on his head, secured with one hand while he drove with the other hand.

  3. Good point about the suckling pig! People often refer to Babi guling as suckling pig when really it’s rarely a suckling pig. It has to be tiny to be a suckling pig and they rarely do them because they’re too small. 🙂

    • Theodora says:

      I saw one done at the funeral, actually, and you realise how tiny they are — and how unsuited to mass catering.

  4. yum. i love pig roasts (am i totally midwestern or what?)…

  5. Ainlay says:

    mmmm, indeed. I remember when it was quite a big deal to order one of those for a special occasion! otherwise could only snatch a bite at cremations and weddings so you are quite, quite spoiled!

    • Theodora says:

      You can get ayam betutu pre-prepared now, as well… All the best dishes are the cremation and wedding dishes…

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    Now I love eggs – I would have said in any form – but an egg sausage? Thanks for warning me off! What else was in it? Or would it make you feel ill to tell?

    • Theodora says:

      Just egg. Sort of pureed, rather than scrambled. Which combines with chitterling casing into something quite repulsive…

  7. Whole hog… it’s the only way to fly!

  1. February 23, 2011

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