Bali’s cuisine doesn’t stem from a court tradition, as in Java, and because of the island’s poverty it was created out of necessity rather than self-indulgence. Though not considered sophisticated, worldly cooking, its presentation, like in every aspect of Balinese life, is highly ceremonial, approached with the same care and effort the locals put into their daily offerings to the gods.

The staple of Balinese dining is immediately apparent: Rice is everywhere. Terraced, geometrically patterned paddies grace practically every vantage point on the island. Temples rise amid them; Roberts gleefully cycles alongside them for the film. A typical meal, built around a pile of rice, usually includes a harmonious balance of meat, such as pork or a combination of satays

─ Kathleen Squires

EAT, PRAY, LOVE … THE FOOD IN UBUD

As Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love comes to the big screen, filmgoers will be treated to the breathtaking visuals of the “Love” setting: Ubud, Bali, where Julia Roberts finds a soulmate in the arms of Javier Bardem. Its lush beauty makes Ubud the ultimate location for amour; yet a lesser-known attraction of this mountain town is its accomplished culinary scene.

Long overshadowed by the boldness of Thailand, the diversity of China, the aesthetics of Japan and the French skills of Vietnam, Indonesia struggles to claim its rightful culinary place alongside its Asian neighbours. However, a core group of restaurateurs, chefs and farmers has finally put Ubud on the map as Indonesia’s favourite foodie destination.