Food Notes,  Indonesia

What’s there to eat in Canggu, Bali

The numerous photos of well-arranged food bowls I saw online should actually have led me to believe that although Canggu is a hotspot for delicious food, it may not be the hotspot of local Indonesian-Balinese cuisine. But of course, my greedy self got stuck at the description “a foodie’s heaven” and further ignored everything else.

So, I decided to spend the last few days of my trip to Bali in Canggu with nothing more on my mind than relaxing and eating.

When I got there, I soon realized what was meant by the characterization of Canggu as a surfer’s and expats’ paradise. This place is not only popular with young and relaxed people, it’s also full of bars, cafes, and restaurants that feature this particular kind of modern “boho” aesthetic, including the contemporary healthy menu.

Since I was there, I did eat several of these super hip food stuff and I have to admit, all of it was delicious! I found that Canggu is not short on stylishly furnished eateries or a selection of good and varied food, and is therefore definitely the right place for food lovers. However, for something with more local flair, it’s best to rent a scooter and drive to one of the many Warungs a little away from the trendy hotspots.

List of places:

  • Shady Shack, Jl. Tanah Barak 53, Canggu
  • Bali Bowls & Smoothies, Jl. Segara Perancak br Berawa Tibubene, Canggu
  • Betelnut Café, Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.60, Canggu
  • Warung Babi Guling Sarinadi, Jl. Raya Canggu, Kerobokan, Kec. Kuta Utara
  • nüde, Jl. Pantai Berawa No.33, Tibubeneng, Kec. Kuta Utara
  • Hungry Bird Coffee Roaster, Jl. Raya Semat Jl. Segara Perancak No.86, Tibubeneng, Kec. Kuta Utara
  • Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus, Jl. Raya Canggu No.163, Canggu, Kec. Kuta Utara
  • Cabe Café, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Canggu, Kec. Kuta Utara

Shady Shack

The Shady Shack is probably the most mentioned restaurant in Canggu. Reason enough to pay the place a visit and see if I would agree with all the positive things that I had read. Before I even got my food, I understood why the Shady Shack is so popular. I sat comfortably under a palm leaf roof while the mild evening air cooled me down from the heat of the day (the advantage of sitting outside).  The menu was a varied mix of vegetarian/vegan dishes and it was hard to decide with which dish to go and also to keep myself from – once again – ordering more food than I could handle. I ignored the often-recommended burgers and chose a super tasty Tempe Bowl and some Rice Roll Ups, to have at least one Indonesian component in my food. No question, the Shady Shack kept all its promises.

Bali Bowls & Smoothies

When I got to Bali Bowls & Smoothies it was already late afternoon, and lucky for me all the pretty people taking pretty pictures in front of the pretty painted wall were long gone. I sat in the big white wicker chair outside, didn’t take a picture of myself in it, and enjoyed my very first Smoothie Bowl. The menu offers a vast amount of great-sounding dishes, and I was totally torn between sweet and savory. In the end, I went with sweet and the “Eat Pray Love”-Smoothie Bowl, which came with a bunch of tropical fruits, oats, and granola. In the end, coming to Bali Bowls & Smoothies for my first Smoothie Bowl was a very good decision. The next time I’ll definitely try one of the savory dishes.

Betelnut Cafe

The Betelnut Cafe is another foodie hotspot here in Canggu. Besides the pleasing menu, it’s also the location that’s very captivating. Not only do you have a nice view of some small rice fields while you eat, but the cafe is also only a few steps away from the Love Anchor Bazaar. Therefore it’s the perfect place to strengthen yourself before shopping. It was also the place that finally made me admit that I, too, would be one of those people who would label their writing with a photo of a nicely arranged food bowl. But this Banh Mi Bowl was amazing, and not just visually. Also, tempting was the Raw Gado Gado dish, something else to remember for my next visit.

Warung Babi Guling Sarinadi

After I had enjoyed some really good food in some of the many hot Canggu restaurants in the previous days, it was definitely time for something more authentic Balinese. I had actually missed eating Babi Guling in Ubud, but thankfully I got the tip to make up for that lapse at Warung Babi Guling Sarinadi.

All non-carnivores can now feel free to skip the next paragraph because what follows is an ode to Babi Guling. For those of you who don’t already know: Babi Guling is a stuffed suckling pig, slathered in spice paste before being roasted over a fire for hours. The slow cooking process results in amazingly tender and juicy meat and crispy pork skin. It is served with pieces of this crispy skin, rice, and something green and red that I honestly didn’t know what it was. Since most Babi Guling places only serve this one particular dish, and only until the suckling pig is used up, all you have to do is go in, get served, and leave happy. This is definitely my kind of food: it’s simple, and there is nothing fancy in a paper plate full of rice and pork, but behind this simplicity lies a unique and delicate taste, which is created when knowledge and time are combined, and which makes this dish something truly great.


On the way to buy some coffee beans from a local roastery, I stopped by nüde to have a second breakfast. Besides the mandatory fruity bowls, the menu includes a whole selection of international classics like Bircher Muesli, pancakes, burritos, halloumi, and potato rostis. I think it is safe to say that there is something for everyone on the menu at nüde. I even spotted some Indonesian, if the corn fritters count as an advanced version of Bakwan Jagung.

A Coffee Intermezzo

I love good coffee! So Bali was definitely the right place for me and my coffee addiction. Bali is not only a producer of coffee beans, you can also get well brewed coffee almost everywhere. Certainly one of the many many reasons why I immediately took this island to my heart. Also, I can get a little bit cranky when there is no decent coffee around (yes Thailand, I’m looking at you). Therefore, it was obvious that I wanted to take some Balinese coffee beans with me.

I’m well aware that Bali is also home to the Kopi Luwak, but personally I’m not that into it. I tried it once years ago and didn’t feel the need to try it again, mostly because of the fact that a lot of the Luwaks are treated anything but well by a lot of the coffee producers. Of course, there are also plantations that produce the coffee sustainably, but I for one prefer to stick with the classic version of the bean.

My choice for the purchase fell on the Hungry Bird Coffee Roaster. Since nothing is bought before it has been tasted, I sat down and got served a cup of tasty brew, including a masterpiece of latte-art for the “Gram”. Needless to say, I left happy and loaded with beans.

Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus

After my very first dish of Babi Guling at Warung Babi Guling Sarinadi I was not only completely taken with this food but I had also firmly set my mind not to leave this island before I had eaten another plate of it. After all, you need a comparison, right? I did not hesitate for long and made my way to Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus. I had seen the place quite a few times in the last few days while passing by and as it was reachable after just a medium-long walk from my accommodation, I chose this place for my second Babi Guling tasting. Again, I was not disappointed. The little piggy was once again delicious, the crispy skin almost a little crispier, and yet again I had no idea what the green stuff on my plate was. Nevertheless, I have to admit that the Babi Guling at Warung Sarinadi was indeed a little bit richer in flavor, but eating at Warung Nasi Babi Guling Men Agus was also 100% worth it.

Cabe Bali

As the departure from Bali came closer and closer, there was only one last thing to eat before I had to leave this beautiful island. Something that I ate almost every day during the time I was here, and therefore something that I will definitely always associate with food in Bali. So, I sat down at one of the long wooden tables at Cabe Bali to have one last look at the sea and the many surfers in the waves and ordered one last Banana Pancake. The Banana Pancake is certainly not a complex dish and the Cabe Bali certainly isn’t as stylish as some of the other places in and around Canggu, but sometimes what more does it take to be happy than a view of the sea and a simple pancake?