Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner @ Ubud, Bali

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner

We were looking for something local to eat and happened to chance across Bebek Bengil in Google Maps. It actually took us more than 30 minutes to walk over but I thought it was worth it since it’s touted as “The Original Crispy Duck Since 1990”. Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner is known for their crispy grilled duck.

Bebek Bengil Waitresses

This is a different dish from the popular bebek betutu in Bali. Bebek Betutu is a seasoned steamed or roasted duck that’s popular in Bali. Bebek Bengil (which means dirty duck) serves crispy duck. You can even order 1 whole duck for IDR 300,000 if you book one day in advance. It’s a pretty good deal at RM 94/duck if you want to go for it. The service by the uniform clad waitresses is pleasantly discreet and unobstructive.

Bebek Bengil (IDR 125,000)

Bebek Bengil

I had this original dish, which is half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices which is then deep fried for a crispy finish. It’s served with rice and Balinese vegetables and it cost RM 40. It’s their flagship signature dish and it tasted alright. I’m not a huge fan of deep fried duck and I thought it was slightly too crispy but personal tastes aside, it was pretty good.

Thirsty Duck (IDR 44,000)

Thirsty Duck

This is what my better half had – it’s a concoction of pure orange, markisa (passionfruit in the local language) and melon sugar.

Ice Bebek Putih Jambul (IDR 39,000)

Ice Bebek Putih Jambul

The drink I had was chosen at random from the duck-themed options. It turns out to be a shaved ice confection with lots of interesting goodies at the bottom – love the white squiggles and fresh fruit slices.

Bebek Pelalah (IDR 122,000)

Bebek Pelalah

My dear ordered this dish. It’s one of the specialties and the Balinese recipe came from one Ibu Agung Raka Sueni. I have no idea who that is but the owners of Bebek Bengil thought it was noteworthy enough to highlight this in their menu. This is the grilled version of the duck (as opposed to my steamed and deep fried duck) with Balinese sauce and steamed rice. It’s very spicy! I really like the sauce here.

Bebek Bengil Bali

I thought the ambience of Bebek Bengil is unique – the place is totally dark (as you can probably gather from the photos) with the exception of mood lighting from the pavilions where we were seated. There were not a lot of people due to the higher than usual prices. The meal came up to around RM 140 for the two of us and it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere alone. The water features around the raised dining pavilions made it really romantic.

Bebek Bengil Ubud

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner
Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal,
Ubud, Bali

Ubud Morning Market & Ubud Traditional Art Market

Ubud Morning Market

We went to Ubud Morning Market as part of our cooking class. There are actually two markets in Ubud, both interconnected. The Ubud Morning Market is where the locals go while the Ubud Traditional Art Market is a more tourist oriented market. The latter was featured in Eat Pray Love and is known locally as Pasar Seni Ubud.

Ubud-Wet Market

I thought that going for a Balinese cooking lesson was a cool thing to do while on vacation, although I can’t claim credit for it. My better half was the one who thought of it and booked us the classes. The van picked us up in the morning and we went to the Ubud Morning Market for a tour of the place and to sample some local produce as well.

Bali Spices

Our guide took us through the sight, sounds and smells of the Ubud Morning Market…

Bali Market

…and I thought it was very refreshing that there was no attempt to sell us on anything (probably coz these are mostly produce).

Ubud Market

The fruits, vegetables and meat are mostly familiar except for this unusual specimen:

Bali Passionfruit

This was described as a “sweet passionfruit” to us and we all got a taste of it. I thought it was a buah salak at first. It’s not passionfruit as we know it, this is a South American breed called granadilla. Unlike our purple passionfruit, this is orange and features a seed matrix that looks like kiwano (horned melon).


It’s very sweet with no sour notes and nice to eat by itself. The pulp is very tasty.

Balinese Orange

A clockwork orange. :)

Bali Grapes

Bali is also able to grow their own grapes now. I tried one of the first batches of Balinese wine made from Balinese grapes in Club Med Bali in 2013 and it was decent, if rather immature.

Ubud Handicrafts

There are also knives and other local goods on display at the Bali Morning Market.

Bali Crafts

My dear spotted a mortar that she really liked – it’s made out of volcanic rock from Bali! I paid IDR 60,000 (about RM 20) which is quite a good deal.

Ubud Traditional Art Market

We also walked around the touristy Ubud Traditional Art Market after we finished our cooking lesson. It’s worth a stroll even though you’ll find most of the things here are mass produced souvenir kitsch. My better half also had a theory that if we were carrying a certain color of plastic bag, it means that we were willing to spend more, or rather am susceptible to be conned more easily. Haha!

Pasar Seni Ubud

I don’t know how true that is, but I had limited headway while bargaining for a set of three kittens that my dear liked. I think we ended up paying RM 80 for it. I don’t think there’s a plastic bag conspiracy though, it seems quite unlikely in the free market everyone-for-themselves nature of the tourist trade, but you never know. smirk

My disastrous schedule malfunction, 1.3 million bill at the spa and other interesting stories from Ubud, Bali

Bali Padi Fields

This is mostly about the scheduling malfunction. I’m currently sitting in the airport in Bali alone coz of a series of unfortunate events. I realized too late that my Taipei trip overlapped with my Bali departure so it was decided that my better half would fly out first and I’ll go join her in Ubud when I came back from Taiwan.

I hadn’t realized that the ticket conditions prevented me from taking the return trip if I hadn’t shown up for the departure.

AirAsia Bali

Yup, the original ticket was on Malaysia Airlines, not a point-to-point airline like AirAsia or I wouldn’t have this problem.

My dear had bought us both tickets to Bali but since I was in Taiwan at the time, I had to buy another ticket from KL to Denpasar (cost me RM 432). I don’t have a problem with this, little did I know that since I was a “no show”, I revoked my rights to travel back on the return leg.

Bali Breakfast

I’ve been travelling quite frequently since I was a kid and never ran into problems like this until the downgrading of Malaysia Airlines (in the glory full service days, you could just about do anything). Maybe all you needed was a small rebooking fee, but with the cost saving measures by MAS, it’s now effectively a low-cost airline with restrictions. It’s definitely not a premium airline anymore.

Ngurah Rai Airport

I assumed that I could travel back on the return flight and didn’t think to do anything until my better half told me she couldn’t check in for me and I wasn’t listed. After talking to a distinctively unhelpful Khairul (“I’m the only Khairul in Customer Service“) in Malaysia Airlines, it turns out that he couldn’t help and I decided to just rebook my return flight using AirAsia.

I managed to get one slightly after my original flight for an additional IDR 1,512,350 – you need to pay in rupiah if you’re in Indonesia while booking online, it’s about RM 504.

Venezia Spa Ubud

This was very late into the night, we had just came back from Venezia Day Spa & Salon in Ubud where the rather misleading Honeymoon Package (IDR 607,000) is the price for one, not for two. At least my better half thought it was for the both of us, I had suspected that it’s just a name and it’s the price per person.

Venezia Massage Bali

It turns out that the total price was IDR 1,214,000 or IDR 1,358,699 with 12% tax of IDR 145,680. It’s still decent for a 5 hour treatment since 1.3 million rupiah is about MYR 452 and the important part was that she enjoyed herself. I didn’t mind the treatments too, I’m just not used to these kind of things – my first manicure and pedicure.

Million Dollar Spa Bill

Anyway, after realizing late into the night that my return flight wasn’t secure, I had to quickly book another ticket back on the rather unreliable hotel WiFi – it took me the better part of an hour before the credit card payment went though.

Bali Airport

I’m writing this now from Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali while awaiting for my flight – it’s been a long week with little sleep but it sure was fun though, certainly an interesting past few days. It was great, we needed the break and it made us all the more closer. :)

My trip to Club Med Bali – Body and Soul: Four Colors in Four Days

club med bali

I just came back from Club Med Bali a couple of days ago. There was a really interesting event going on called Body and Soul: Four Colors in Four Days. I was there for 5 days for the Club Med experience and thought this was a great concept.

garden yoga

It was a lot like my Club Med Phuket trip in that everything is all inclusive and there are friendly GO’s who answers any questions you might have and even eats with you. The best thing about Club Med is that everything is all-inclusive and you can choose to do whatever you want…or nothing at all.


Anyway, since the 4-day Body and Soul event was running, I went for each of the themed events. There’s a new color every day and that color denotes the “theme of the day” which encompasses everything from activities to food!

club med bali restaurant

  • Rejuvenation in Yellow
  • Energy in Red
  • Balance in Green
  • Revitalization in Purple

club med food

Body and Soul: Four Colors in Four Days is meant for people who want to immerse themselves in a health and wellness program. It’s a way to get away from the hectic city life and check into Club Med to awaken your spirit, heal your hearts and bodies and even your sense of well-being.

chi balls

I must say I was rejuvenated by the end of the program. :)


It’s really quite interesting – for example, on Green Day: Balance – there’s kayaking to start the day…

yoga window

…followed by a session of yoga with Yin Yang Chi Balls by experts from the award winning Australian fitness company Physical BestLisa Westlake, the fitness instructor/owner/physiotherapist/presenter/author (there’s little she doesn’t do) and Lynley Gladdis (an international presenter in the area of mind and body fitness with degrees in Arts Dance and Remedial Massage)

aqua aerobics

There was a really upbeat class of aqua aerobics which I totally enjoyed – had a blast doing this, it’s a lot of fun! :)

I even had a video of me doing aqua aerobics – thanks Becky!

green day food

There’s also green themed food and special platters that highlights nutrition based on this color.

cucumber sushi

Cucumber sushi with fish roe

green tea macaroons

Green tea macaroons <3 cucumber olives

Cucumber with olives

spring rolls

It’s pretty amazing, eh? They even had pistachio ice cream on green day!

body soul club med

There are also kids programs with the similar theme and night entertainment (green party during green day). Thus, each day is broken down into several activities e.g. for Red Day: Energy:

red food

Main Program
Cherating Beach: Tree Top
Bali: Flying Trapeze
Fun Family Mini-Olympic

Expert Program
Tribal Rhythm

Kids Program
Tie dye T-shirts

Night Entertainment
Latin night


If you think Club Med is fun, wait till you experience the Four Colors in Four Days event! I did things with my body that my girlfriend didn’t believe until I showed her the photos from yoga (that’s Cindy from Malaysia, who’s a yoga instructor on vacation at Club Med Bali).

tribal dance

Body and Soul: Four Colors in Four Days was held on Club Med Bali in March and will kick off in Club Med Cherating Beach from 7th – 14th April 2013! Yup, it’s coming to Malaysia right after Bali. It’s a health and wellness retreat to boost well-being through a series of 4 consecutive color themed days with the color included in everything from diet to parties!


You can also safely leave your kids in Club Med, that’s why I love the place so much. They’ll have stuff to do and be entertained while you go do your own stuff. Check out Club Med Cherating Beach if you’re interested to know more about the upcoming Body and Soul event in Malaysia! They have special packages for a 4D/3N stay!

Thanks for the invite Jisan! :)

Bakmi babi in Jakarta

bakmi pork indonesia

Bakmi literally means meat noodles and despite the Muslim majority capital of Indonesia, there are shops which caters for people who wants a dose of porcine goodness. One of these is located in Mangga Besar – a quirky name which means “big mango” (a tropical variant of the Big Apple ;)).

Bakmi Ahau claims to have been around since 1962 – that’s a good 50 years (!!!) of operation. It’s still situated in a dingy stall right by the roadside but that’s part of the appeal. If the claims are true (or if the date is based on the Muslim calendar, which produces its peculiar brand of irony) it means that they must serve a really good bowl of bakmi babi (pork noodles)…

bakmi ahau 1962

…and I can attest to that!

It has been around for a couple of years at least, a friend of mine brought me here to eat a very late supper when I was in Jakarta. The place was packed even though it was way past midnight.

bakmi jakarta

The bakso (that’s meatballs) accompanying the bakmi here is made with pork and it’s deep fried before being served, producing a crunchiness that goes very well with the juicy pork meatballs. They don’t skimp on the meat – there’s just a thin coating of batter on top. I reckon it’s the deep fried bakso that makes this stall stand out.

bakmi mangga besar

The noodles are also tossed with lard and there’s bit of char siew (barbecued pork) and deep fried pork skin to go with it. It’s also not fully “dry” – almost a quarter of the dish is filled with the seasoning gravy (or bumbu) which is a mixture of lard, soy sauce, and other things the workers are reluctant to divulge.

pork bakmi

However, it is 100% goodness! I have had a lot of pork noodle dishes and this is one of the times where it stood out in my mind. The bakmi in Mangga Besar is just one stall in a long chain but you can find it from the distinctive t-shirts that they wear.

bakmi jakarta me

A large bowl of pork bakmi with extra bakso with a glass of iced jeruk (local Mandarin orange juice) from the stall beside just cost under 20,000 rupiah (about RM 6) – a nice break if you want something other than chicken in Jakarta. A mean and delicious dish of authentic roadside bakmi at a price that’s hard to beat.

A morning stroll at Kota Tua Jakarta

old batavia

Kota Tua is loosely translated as “Old Town” and it’s the old part of Jakarta. It’s also known as Old Batavia and you can still see the scars of the 1998 riots here – burned buildings are still around and refurbishment hasn’t touched most of it yet.

kota tua

We were staying at a hotel just nearby and one morning, Jazz woke me up to experience the place. The streets were closed on that day, due to a function that’s happening on the square.

kota tua no vehicles

It was the event itself that caused the closure of the streets – it’s called Hari Bebas Kenderaan Bermotor Kawasan Kota Tua 2012 which translates to “(Motorized) Vehicle Free Day (in) Kota Tua Area 2012”. Heh.

kali besar

Kota Tua is bordered by a canal called Kali Besar which is famous for its overpowering stench. I could smell it, but it wasn’t anywhere as bad as I was told.


The beauty of Kota Tua Jakarta lies in its vibrant community of stalls and buskers – there were people playing various musical instruments and I even saw an improvised percussion system made of glass bottles nestled on a wood frame!

pos indonesia

This is one of the refurbished buildings – their post office. It’s part of their efforts at making this historical town into a UNESCO heritage site.

kota tua stalls

It is primarily a tourist attraction with it’s souvenir stalls – there’s also a theater called Museum Wayang there that plays traditional Indonesian Wayang Kulit (a shadow play with puppets).

museum wayang

Several vendors also offers rides on pimped up (or rather dolled up) bicycles for two, complete with flowery hats.

old jakarta bicycles

However, it’s definitely worth a visit – you can catch a local puppet show or grab a snack from a roadside stall. I had Otak Otak Ikan which is completely different from the soggy fish paste we get here.

otak otak indonesia

The Indonesian version of otak otak is crispy and eaten with a chilli paste. It’s cheap street food, I think I paid less than RM 1 for this.

indonesian otak otak

Kota Tua Jakarta has something for everyone. It’s called Old Jakarta for a reason – a lot of history and heritage can be found in this area. I’ll allocate at least half a day for a proper visit, and a full day if you want to pop into all the museums and catch a wayang kulit show.

kota tua indonesia

…or you can just sit at one of the cafes and watch the vibrant scenes – families at play, people collecting discarded cans for recycling money, old men chatting animatedly while standing around in loose circles.

3 interesting things I saw while grocery shopping in Jakarta

1. Two feet long aloe vera

huge aloe vera

It’s called lidah buaya in the local parlance, except these monstrosities grow up to 2 feet long (!). The shortest one is easily 1 1/2 foot and the girth is pretty impressive too.

2. Sukkari dates

sukkari dates

The appearance of dates means the fasting month of Ramadan for Muslims is around the corner. Sukkari dates hails all the way from Medina in Saudi Arabia and it’s hard, dry and intensely sweet. The appearance is conical and Sukkari dates are considered a delicacy – premium items that’s very much in demand according to the people at Hero (a grocery store chain in Jakarta). It retails for IDR 35,000 (RM 12) for 100 grams and I ate a couple thanks to the person manning the place.

They also sell Anbara dates – the largest date species in the world, and the polar opposite to Sukkari dates texture-wise. I had Anbara dates a couple of years ago and it’s soft and chewy unlike the “grainy” mouthfeel of Sukkari dates.

3. Short bean sprouts

short bean sprouts

This is something I’ve never seen before despite trawling the specialty grocery stores back home. It’s simply called “short taugeh” and you can see the bean with just a hint of sprout. The unusual retarded sprouting process is pictured next to regular bean sprouts for comparison. It looks like an adolescent trying to grow facial hair. smirk

Posted: 1:55 am Jakarta time (GMT +7)

Couchsurfing in Jakarta – don’t forget your towel


I’m currently staying in Taman Anggerek after one night at a hotel in Kota Tua which cost us IDR 420,000 (about RM 140). It was a really last minute decision, we headed out to Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) to meet with friends and it was suddenly decided that we’ll just crash at their place.

taman anggerek jakarta

It was about 12:30 pm (!) at that time. We rushed back to the hotel and checked out just in time before heading back to Condominium Taman Anggerek. I grabbed the toothbrush and shaver from the hotel before checking out and went to Matahari – a departmental store here – to get a towel for IDR 37,000 (RM 12).

taman anggerek

Here’s the view from the 26th floor – the view of Jakarta Barat (West Jakarta) is quite polluted but it looks like it’s going to be an awesome place to stay. I haven’t couch surfed in a while.

couchsurfing jakarta

Thanks for having us Eric + wife and Yong Ming! :)

Posted: 9:40 pm Jakarta time (GMT +7)

Kuta beach in Bali


Much has been said about Kuta beach. It’s not exactly the uncharted 3K’s of backpacking these days. Nowadays, you’re more likely to be bugged by people offering massages, hair braiding, Bintang beer and all sorts of random stuff…like a handmade “magic” cigarette dispenser that is really quite nifty, but that was at Legian.

kuta beach bali

We stayed right opposite Kuta beach so it’s literally right in front when we walked out. Come to think of it, we did a lot of walking in Kuta – and let me tell you, these flip flops are *not* made for walking. It’s really hot during the afternoon – mostly Caucasians catching a tan/recovering from hangovers go there at that hour…

kuta bali

…but it’s really nice during sunset.

kuta beach sunset

You see people start streaming in and picking a good spot around 4:30 pm or so – the beachfront vendors are mostly gone by then so you can sit unmolested, without someone asking you if you want something you don’t need and just…

kuta sunset

…chill there, watching the waves roll in, breathing in the sea salt and immersing yourself in the Zen of it all. It feels very serene, especially if you sit right in front. We stayed until 7:30 pm and I think we were the only ones there at that time. Heh.

kuta beach hb

It should be noted that if any eateries offer to add in some mushrooms into your food, they’re not really talking about ye olde regular mushrooms.

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