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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Eating out in Bali: Top 5 Cheap & Cheerful Places in Kuta

Here's a list of five cheap and cheerful places to eat in Kuta and the surrounding area - all are within walking distance of the main tourist hotspots and should cost less than $3 for food and drink (although having a beer with your food will be more). So here goes, in no particular order, here's my list of the top 5 cheap eats in Kuta:

1. Warung Murah
Located very close to *Double 6 Beach on Jalan Arjuna in Seminyak, Warung Murah (meaning 'cheap warung') is a fantastic little spot. It's probably only a 100m from the beach and is almost opposite Caffe Marzano. 

This place certainly lives up to its name and offers very hearty meals for under $2.50. With a counter display of all the food, you simply choose which dishes you want from the various Indonesian fare and the waitresses pile it up on your plate, making it great for those with a big appetite. Another fantastic thing about this place is that it offers brown and red rice, which are surprisingly rare in a country where rice is the staple diet, and they are committed to providing MSG-free food, which is commonplace in most of Bali's other eateries.
Some of the best Indonesian foods available at Warung Murah are lodeh (vegetables with coconut milk in a curry sauce), tempeh tofu curry, bacem (a type of fried, sweet tempeh) and rendang (a slow-cooked beef in a lemongrass and coconut sauce). As you will see from the photos, although offering some meat dishes, Warung Murah offers plenty for vegetarians to choose from also.

 best way to get there from Kuta is undoubtedly by walking along the beach, which should only take 10-15 mins, compared to the same time by cab or weavingthrough traffic. If you walk through the backstreets from Kuta, it will take you much longer and is a whole lot more hassle as you will be hassled by literally hundreds of street vendors.
*NB - this is not to be confused with Warung Murah on Jalan Oberoi, which I have not visited and do not believe is any way affiliated with the restaurant in this article!

2. Sandwich Corner
This cosy little eatery is nestled in between Warung Midnight and Sunny Surf Shop and is extremely close to the main drag of Kuta - it is about a 2-minutewalk from the crossroads of Jalan BenesariIt serves up plenty of Western food with plenty of sandwiches (obviously!), baguettes, burgers and jacket potatoes to choose from, as well as some Indonesian dishes. It's all very affordable and the staff are friendly. They also have some nice desserts to pig out on as well :-) If you are staying in Kuta, find the Jalan Benesari crossroads where Roma Amore is, and head down Jalan Lebak Bene. It's about 500m from the crossroads on your right-hand side.
This is a great place if you're looking for some cheap and easy food like you get at home, or just to pig out on a massive burger as they have some gigantic sandwiches and burgers to keep you happy here. Service is usually very friendly and the food has always been great when I've been there. A guaranteed hit with fussy kids!

3. Warung Malang
Another tourist/backpacker favourite, Warung Malang has a huge menu and an open kitchen where more than 10 chefs cook up all manner of Indonesian food. Prices are also very cheap with a meal and a drink usually costing less than $4. The kitchen closes here at 10pm so it's a good bet for a late snack also. They serve beer at a very reasonable price also.
Personally, I like the nasi goreng seafood (with prawns) and the sup sehat (healthy soup) which has spinach and tofu with it. One reassuring thing about this place is that most of the stuff on the menu is shown in photos so you have an idea of what it looks like before you order.
It's located on Jalan Pattimura and is about a 5-minute walk from Jalan Legian. If you start at the crossroads mentioned in the directions for Sandwich Corner, head towards Jalan Legian and go straight across it, onto what becomes Jalan Pattimura. Keep going straight on Pattimura for about 5 minutes and you should see Warung Malang on your right, opposite the Circle K shop.

4. Raja Rasa
If you keep going past Warung Malang and take a left on the main road, Jalan Majapahit, you willsoon come to anotherbudget eatery called Warung Raja Rasa(meaning 'king flavour warung) located just opposite the billiard hall there.
Although Raja Rasa is not the nicest inside, it serves up plenty of hearty, budget Indonesian food and is popular with locals and Indonesian tourists. It's a good first step if you want to start eating at the same places as the locals as it has the cheap prices and authentic Indonesian food but is not as grubby as some of the other places where you will see lots of locals (although it's not the cleanest place either!)
I'd recommend the nasi goreng pete (or fried rice with stink bean) as it's a good local dish with a very interesting touch - although, as the name suggests, it might not be suitable for a date!

Gong Corner's menu on its bamboo walls.
5. Gong Corner
Located in the heart of the Kuta's main backpacking area, Gong Corner provides both Indonesian and Western food for very reasonable prices and is predictably popular because of this.
It's probably the best place for a cheap steak and chips dish (although don't expect Western-sized portions) and is open until quite later seven days a week. Although the waitresses here are pretty clueless, the prices mean that it shouldn't bother you too much. Expect a good-sized meal and drink for $6 or less at Gong Corner.
To get there, head down GangRonta (just off Poppies 2) and it's a short way before Kuta Town House Apartments. It's in a very narrow section of road so don't think about going there by car - on foot or motorbike are the only ways to go.

So there you have it, five cheap places to eat in Kuta, Bali with a variety of Western and Asian food on offer and even some catering for vegetarians, I hope you can find things to suit all your budget needs!
Enjoy and selamat makan!
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