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Page 13

The Rice Table

nasi for breakfast

nasi for dinner

nasi for every meal

all this darned rice all the time

I am beginning to get really peeved

now there’s nasi goreng

nasi goreng istemawa

nasi kuning or putih

nasi this and nasi that

nasi is everywhere that I see

I would love to have once

brand new potatoes for lunch

a crispy salad to munch

some crusty bread I could crunch

is that asking so much

what did you say

nyepi celebration is TO-DAY

I guess cold rice is . . . OK

nasi for breakfast

nasi for dinner

nasi for every meal

 

In Bali, the same as elsewhere in Asia the word used for cooked rice (nasi in Indonesia) is synonymous with the word for a meal. Any other food is considered a snack, rice must be eaten for it to be considered a meal. Rice is the staple food of Bali and is usually served steamed (nasi putih) and food is always eaten at room temperature. Nasi goreng is fried rice, nasi istemawa is special fried rice served with a fried egg on the top. Nasi kuning is rice cooked with turmeric and other spices in coconut milk. On festive occasions it is shaped into a cone for special effect along with specialty side dishes.

Balinese eat rice in many different ways, breakfast is usually rice-flour dumplings sweetened with palm sugar syrup and freshly grated coconut. Different varieties of rice are made into many types of deserts and cakes.

Balinese eat only small amounts of meat because rice is the main component of every meal and it is usually accompanied by a variety of vegetables and spicy condiments (sambals) and other crunchy foods such as peanuts, krupuk (crisp fried wafers) and fried tempeh (fermented soya bean cake), which is eaten with relish. Most of the leafy greens are gathered from the wild and immature papaya and jackfruit are eaten as vegetables. Coconuts are grated daily to make coconut milk for both sweet and savoury dishes. It is also used with chilli and other herbs and spices to make many kinds of different sambals.

Pork is the favourite meat although duck is also featured in many banquet dishes. It is usually stuffed with aromatic spices and steamed before it is roasted on charcoals. Dragonflies, eels, frogs, crickets and flying foxes are also included in the Balinese diet. Seafood is not featured largely on the menu but turtles are required for some banquet dishes.

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