Pasar Senggol at Grand Hyatt Bali

One of the nicest things about travelling is that you get to try local food. Driving around Bali, we passed several warungs - little family-owned stores that also function as eateries. We were tempted to try them out but our guide, Gustaaf, was not very keen on us doing that. Besides, being on a group tour, our lunches had already been prearranged at the places we were stopping at for sightseeing. Dinner one evening had been planned at Jimbaran Bay. It was a seafood barbeque and a very disappointing one. There were several other beach restaurants in the area and the place was rather crowded and even the breeze that blew in from the sea was hot. Smoke from all those grills made our eyes water, the meal was mediocre and we could not get out of there fast enough.

Besides restaurants at malls, the area around our hotel had many street stalls selling satay and other grilled foods. They usually wind up by about 9.30pm or earlier, if the food runs out. One evening, we walked across from our Kuta beach resort to the nearby Hard Rock Cafe. Nothing like chomping on a hamburger while watching people headbanging! The one dish that we hoped to try was babi guling - a whole suckling pig stuffed with greens, aromatics and spices and spit roasted. It's a dish that Bali is famous for.

Making ice cream rolls (above); a bowl of sambal noodles

Beautiful view of the ocean from Grand Hyatt Bali 

We shifted over to the Grand Hyatt Bali  halfway through our stay. This luxury resort is located within the gated area of Nusa Dua and is huge - more than 600 rooms spread over 4 quadrants, 5 restaurants that serve varied cuisines, 5 pools, including a lagoon-style one complete with water slides and other water features and several boutiques that are spread around. The open air reception area features cool marble floors, tiled roofs and the most spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. 

The lily pond that borders the reception area

One of the pools

White sands and blue water - the beautiful beach at Grand Hyatt Bali

Chef Greg

Chef Greg is the Executive Chef of Grand Hyatt Bali and an old friend from Chennai. On the day we reached, he sent across a hamper of tropical fruits and a platter of kueh to welcome us.

Delicious kueh2 to welcome us

Whenever we bumped into him, Chef would ask us where we had gone and what sights we had seen. When we told him about watching the kechak dance at Uluwatu, he invited us to experience Pasar Senggol.

Pasar Senggol is Bali in a nutshell. It is a buffet dinner theatre that features an open air night market and a performance area set up in the grounds of the resort. Every evening, makeshift stalls selling handicrafts are set up. There is a small amphitheatre in the middle and all around are food stalls serving a huge variety of Indonesian food - fried snacks, grills, salads, main courses and desserts. And a bar, of course.

The sheer variety of food is mind blowing. Chef Greg's assistant, Chef Sartika took us around to the various stalls, an activity that took about half an hour. It's impossible for anyone to eat something from each stall so we made a mental note of the dishes we absolutely could not afford to miss. And there was nothing that disappointed us. Every single dish we tried was remarkable.

Ketupat - rice dumplings wrapped in woven coconut leaf

Fried crackers - never knew such a variety even existed!

Wantans and fritters

Seafood ready for the grill

Babi guling


Fried rice
Soup...with everything

Satays and salads
Grilled squid, roast meat and sambals

Dessert heaven 

Kechak performance

It was a dinner under the stars and the highlight of our meal was another kechak performance, the traditional Balinese dance drama. This one, of course, was on a smaller scale than the one at Uluwatu but just as engaging. Once again, the dancers, dressed in their beautiful costumes, entranced us with scenes from the Ramayana where Sita is abducted by Ravana and how she is rescued. For folks who want the essence of Bali compressed into an evening, Pasar Senggol is a wonderful way to experience the food and culture of the island.

Kechak performers and us

Chefs Greg and Sartika 


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