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.
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.