“Warung” What?

“Warung,” the word conjures little family-owned eateries where you can have an honest-to-goodness Balinese meal in Ubud. That still rings true today, especially at places outside the tourist belt of Jl Raya Ubud, Jl Hanoman, and Jl Monkey Forest. Today’s tourist-oriented warung have smoothies, granola bowls, and pasta alongside nasi goreng, sate, and curry. Nothing wrong really except that prices are a little steeper than usual. Think of IDR 40k for nasi goreng instead of IDR 25k. Some such as Warung Enak have taken it to a whole new level with nice interiors that make it more like restaurant than warung. Indeed, the term warung has come to mean more of a place where Indonesian food is served rather than what it really is

Jl Goutama probably has the most warung per square inch of space. Some are small holes-in- the walls such as Puspas Warung (I found the chicken curry bland, though, and the servings are soooo small).

There’s even a warung of Thai food (Warung Siam).

One of my favorite warung which I always go to when I’m in Ubud is Warung Sandat near the corner of Jl Sandat and Jl Raya Ubud. There’s balcony seating and the owners are friendly. The food is very tasty and well-portioned and the prices low. The nasi campur and the nasi goreng both have a small piece of delicious ayam goreng (fried chicken).

Warung Ijo is another favorite for padang style eating. I usually end up with about 25k worth of food taken from the buffet.

I was surprised how Ubud has changed since I was last here in 2014. More and more Western-style commercial establishments from shops to spas to cafes to restaurants have opened. I just hope the warung lives on amidst all these, maintaining its Indonesian identity.

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