Cluck me … it’s the best chicken rice in Ubud, Bali | Travel

In the 11 years since Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love thrust Ubud into the limelight, tourists have inundated this once-sleepy Balinese town encircled by rice paddies. The centre now has more restaurants selling smoothies, salads, and western fare than anything one might call authentically Indonesian. Yet away from the main drag, pockets of local culture have managed to survive. One such spot is Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku, a humble eatery in a beautiful teak house and garden. Although the place is hardly a secret – locals have been coming here for more than two decades.

There are only two items on the menu: a small portion of nasi ayam campur and a bigger portion with rice on the side, costing less than £2. Get the latter, since once you try a bite, you’re likely to want more. The simplest translation of this dish would be “chicken rice,” but that hardly does justice to the array of textures and flavours packed into a single dish.

Slow-roasted chicken thighs, tender breast meat slathered in a betutu spice mixture, a hard-boiled egg, and a turmeric-tinted minced chicken satay skewer sit atop a fluffy mound of white rice. Long beans with coconut, salted peanuts, and deep-fried crackling provide crunch, while generous lashings of chillies leave a long, lingering burn on the palate.

The garden at Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku

The dish tends to be overshadowed by other forms of nasi campur, most notably the mighty babi guling (suckling pig). Much of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, but predominantly Hindu Bali takes full advantage of pork in its cuisine, and this dish is one of its staples. While the birds described above lack the burnished skin of a suckling pig, they make a halal-friendly alternative that everyone on the island can enjoy.
Jalan Raya Kedewatan, Kedewatan, Ubud, +62 366 974 795, open daily 9am-6pm

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