Early in the morning, Ubud’s pasar seni plays its traditional and time-honored role in the everyday lives of the Balinese. As a traditional market, it’s locals purchase all their usual needs, especially food.
Long before Western-style groceries and department stores set-up shop in developing countries, morning markets have sustained, and still sustain, village life. For visitors like me, it provides a colorful and lively glimpse on sundry local life and the chance to get some cheap delicious grub. Where else can you get hot-off-the-grill sate for a measly IDR 1,000 (Php 4.00)?
During my cooking class, we were toured there by our chef who pointed out all the different fruits, vegetables, and spices used in Indonesian cuisine. My favorite vegetable is this basket of smooth white eggplants.
Or if you have loads of time or really want to make your offering truly personal, all that you would ever need is there.
Of course, what’s a market without food?
Downstairs, at the peripherals are a few stalls selling freshly-cooked food such as roasted chicken, smoked duck, steamed rice, grilled sausages, sate, and other viands. A few tables are set-up for makan sini (literally to eat here) but most go for bungkus (literally to wrap). I bought a serving of rice and sausage for IDR 15,000 (Php 60) which I think was harga wusata (tourist price). The sausage was meaty and flavorful. I wish it was spicier, though, like the northern Thai Isaan sausages.
And because Bali is Hindu, babi (pork) is everywhere!
My aim really was to buy some spices to bring back home so I can cook those wonderful makanan I learned at cooking class. I bought three kinds of ginger (dried of course)— galangal, lezaro galangal, and a really aromatic one, zengleo.
These were going for IDR 20,000 per pack but bargained it down to IDR 13,000 because I bought a lot. A small pack of saffron was at IDR 20,000 but got it at IDR 15,000. I probably paid harga wisata but it was still quite cheap considering those types of ginger aren’t available back home.
There were lots of other things such as cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, turmeric, black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, and many more. Candle nuts (macadamia to you and me) were cheap. Still gotta check though if customs will allow it.
The traditional market is nice to browse around especially if you have a keen interest in cooking. It’s busy around 7 when most locals shop. Refrigeration is a luxury to most of the people so they market almost evetyday. That means you get fresh from the market ingredients in your meals. Everyrhing winds down past 8 as the vendors pack-up and the tourist stalls open.