One of my most favourite meats is pork. Any cut will do me, from their trotters to the legs, through its belly to it's ears and snout. I am a fan of nose to tail eating. Waste not want not is my motto.
After travelling through Malaysia and not really seeing or eating any pork for 6 weeks. I was in desperate need of some good old hog. I had heard off several tele series, magazine articles and friends about this small restaurant in Ubud that serves one of Bali's best known dishes. Babi Guling. Bar-B-Q'd Pig.
Ibu Oka is situated at the Northern end of Ubud right opposite the Royal Palace. It is an unassuming place, but then most restaurants in Asia are unpretentious. There are a few wooden benches outside for the oversized Australians who can not sit on the floor inside. The small tables nestle nicely in the cramped eating room, the straw mats are quite surprisingly comfortable to sit on.
There is only one thing on the menu, but you can have it two ways. The "Spesial" is a mixture of all pig. You get a good mix of blood sausage, crackling, some choice cuts of juicy meat from different parts of the pig. I had some delicious ear and it's crispy tail on one visit. Yes we made several visits here. This is all served on top of a good helping of rice.
The "Pisah" is a bigger version of the above. The rice is served separately and really is large enough to share. Well we are finding that, as many months of noodle soup has shrunk our stomach considerably. Is that a good thing or a bad thing these days. When you have some fantastic juicy pork to eat, it's bad.
Ibu Olak opens around 11 am and closes up shop around 4pm. I am not sure how many pigs they cook each day, but I have seen 3 being cut up and deposited onto plates. The pigs are stuffed with a special spice mix which is supposedly secret, but I am sure if you know the right people then it won't be that hard to find out. Bali is like that. Failing that there are many recipes for a Bali Spice mix that I am sure would do the job just as well.
As I said the pigs are stuffed with the spice mix, sewn up and coked in a wood fired oven. This all takes place in the early hours, good reason for them to close early afternoon in my view. It's open seven days a week. The best time to get there is around noon, as the pork is still hot, the later you leave it, the cooler it will be and the less likelihood of you getting the choice cuts.
There are also lots of little snacks to eat whilst you are waiting for the meal to arrive. Mainly deep fried crispy pig skin, which are sold in little bags and left temptingly on your table for you to try and resist. There is a wide range of sauces for you to spice up your rice or meat. Kecap Manis being my favourite sauce of all time. The chilli sauce they have is dangerous. Too much and it burns your mouth to the point of actually setting it on fire. Thankfully the beer is very cold there. Phew. You do get through quite a lot of it, as the dining room has no fan but is open to the elements. Sadly the wind does not wish to enter the place, I assume this is because it too would be tempted by the delightful pig on offer and never want to leave.
Sari Number 2
(Opposite the Royal Palace)