Event: Denpasar Festival 2012

Among the best culinary event in Bali to go to, is the Denpasar Festival that held annually each December. What makes it a bit troublesome to visit it though, is the heavy rains that frequents December. I wish the city official could move it outside the rainy seasons, or perhaps make it twice a year; for the food festival section at least.


During this event, different food from different parts of Denpasar are showcased. While the theme of each year seems to differs a lot, like there was a Legendary Cuisine section back in Denpasar Festival 2009, in Denpasar Festival 2012 there was none. While lacking what I consider as the most important part for foodies to sample bests of Denpasar street food, there was still a lot of varieties to choose from.


While obviously there were a lot of pork, like the pork satay photographed above; and usual stalls that I've seen and been to before; giving my already 3+ years of living in this beautiful island, there were still surprises awaits. One of the example, is the Sate Lilit Salmon.

Sate Lilit Salmon

Marketing on Salmon's health benefits, Warung RA Salmon offers several set menus that proven to be a success; because early in the afternoon they're already running out of most of the items. What's left though is the rather unique Sate Lilit Salmon, which I found was more interesting to try than Salmon steaks, Salmon nuggets, or whatever western dishes version made with Salmon. This is Bali, and it's good to see that people in the food industries are still willing to innovate and experiments.


Though as experiments might go wrong, I still find the regular Sate Lilit Ikan favorable over this innovation. While I can still taste the salmon very well, its combination with Bali's base genep seasoning, a moderate amount of chilly  and sweet glazing requires some time to get used to. I guess salmon's strong taste are best nurtured instead of contested. Perhaps the experiment has a better result in the monochromatic tum, or pepes? I can only imagine they do.

Vegetarian Dishes

Another kind of dishes I'd always curious to try is vegetarian. Not for its health benefits or religious reasons, but to see how this specialty culinary has grown.


Having visited a Vegetarian food expo 10+ years ago in Jakarta, where I got a chance to taste many of it's 300 different dishes, I'm a bit disappointed that here in Bali, I didn't find any mushroom in the vegetarian dishes I have sampled. Even if you want to go purist; resorting on real vegetables instead on those meat-imitation ingredients, mushroom is a great ingredients to flavor your cooking.

There was this beef jerky look alike that was made from green beans, however taste wise they almost have no taste except for the grainy earthy over dehydrated beans sensation.

The Sate Lilit made from tahu was pleasing though, but it's no surprise since perkedel tahu is quite a common dish in my mother's cooking.

Visitors

While we were enjoying our meal, the rain suddenly pouring down, hence we need to stay where we are. The side effect of it though, is that we got to meet other Festival goers, like these sisters from Karangasem, who drove all the way just to visit Denpasar Festival. Having a chatty kid helps a lot too, as it's an effective ice breaker among strangers.


The Closure

Missing many of 2009's unique dishes, like Sup Bulu Babi Pulau Serangan (very putrid taste but unique nonetheless), or the Lawar Nyawan, which made using bee's nest, I still managed though, to find some of Denpasar's unique culinary like the Sate & Tongseng Alu (monitor lizard); however (again) they're marketed more as medicinal food instead of savory treats, where I assume they're made just to become bearable; hence making me reluctant to try them.

In the end, we did more of walking around, and due to the rain we couldn't do much of that either. We made it to stop at a dessert stall though, selling many of Bali's best desserts, including the simplistic yet flavorful Es Daluman.

See you in Denpasar Festival 2013. (byms)







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