Out to lunch with Norma Jean:An afternoon on Goutama Street in Ubud

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Cover photograph by Hero Aditya

 

 

Having first come to Bali in January, I followed some friends to Ubud, which I now like to refer to as Ooh-Food! And I haven’t looked back. For the inaugural issue of Inspired Bali I thought it would be best to feature not only my favorite town to eat in, but the best street on which to do so.

Goutama Street is an Ubudian gem. Hailed by Lonely Planet and the like, it’s a throwback to the Ubud that most come here to find; artistic, alternative, charming, and off the beaten path of large tour buses (yet still central enough to navigate on foot). If you are crossing Jalan Hanoman from Monkey Forest Road it’s the last, little street you’ll see if you cut through Dewi Sita Street. This one, little block will take up an afternoon if you let it.

Here are my favorites:

ASU Art Attack: Approaching ASU Art Attack, most people don’t really know what to think. From the outside it appears as a bunch of locals and backpackers sitting on benches, biding their time, and occasionally playing music in front of a colorful little shop. Wrong-O! You have actually stumbled upon THE place for up-and-coming artists, designers and musicians in Ubud. The owners, Hero, Cleise and Fajar, from Java, Brazil and Sumatra, respectively, bring their own unique spin to all they create, from paintings, to bags, t-shirts, murals and everything else under the sun. You’re guaranteed a good time if you take a seat, check out the community notice board for upcoming art happenings, introduce yourself and jam for a few minutes!

Devilicious Warung: As Ubud becomes more and more popular, the demand for some things will never cease. These are the things that Devilicious has in spades. The menu is vast, offering something for everyone, with great Indonesian food – their sandwich page alone covers everything from Cajun Po’Boys to Philly Cheese steaks! For this reason it’s also a great place for many budgets, with entrees from 20,000Rp- 90,000Rp. I love going on Cajun Fridays for one of the best burgers I’ve had in Bali. The beef is so tender and juicy, cajun spices tickle your tongue, there’s bacon, cheese, the toppings are piled high, and the bun is fluffy and soft. Pair it with a cold Bintang and some cheesy fries and you’re in heaven! Its not 5 Star gourmet, but the food is genuinely GOOD, made with love, there’s something for everyone from carnivore through to raw vegan, and the service is super-friendly. More than that, (and why it’s my pick) is that Devilicious is one of those local watering holes that provides connection for all who enter. Whether you’re coming in for a light lunch, big dinner, or late night beer, it’s the place you want to be!

A bit further down on G-Street is Warung Saya . This enchanting little place is run exclusivelyby Amier, so if he’s making someoneelse’s order, its probably not the best placeto go if you want to eat quickly. The goodnews is, it’s worth the wait. The food is remarkable,budget friendly (with most entreesranging from 20,000-40,000 Rp.) and themenu consists of well done Indonesian, Indianand Thai dishes and is choc-full of vegetarianoptions. The Soto Ayam is what I likebest here – something offered everywhere,but done impeccably and with love, as well ashaving the best Chai tea in town (served withpalm sugar and milk!)

After lunch it’s time for a bit of shopping, andthere’s a few good ones conveniently situateddirectly further down. We all love thebuys on the main drag, but for things a bitmore unique or upmarket (in the 150,000-300,000 Rp. range), I’m inclined toward browsing the shops on some of the smallerstreets. My current favorite on Goutama is Charity By Design . Started by Natalia, whofounded The Sacred Childhoods Foundation,everything is new and every item sold givesat least 20% of the sale price directly to charity.Suchi, her own line of ethical clothing thatemploys under-privileged single mothers, isgorgeous, carried there and gives 50% to agreat cause!

If you’re feeling like a pick-me-up just before heading back to the main road, Bar Luna , the intellectual, literary hub of Ubud and home of the Ubud Writer’s festival in October, is a great spot. They have one of the better coffees in Ubud, nice, healthy, cleansing juices and a fantastic 2 for 1 happy hour. My favorite is their Banoffee Pie! For those of you unfamiliar with this delectable dessert, it’s cookie crumb crust, dulce de leche, sliced banana and fresh whipped cream, A.K.A. a delicious way to end the afternoon!

Norma Jean is a singer, songwriter, thrower of birthday parties, foodie, writer, and ecstatic dancer. She’s here in Bali doing all those things, and more!

 

 

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