Bebek Bengil @ Ubud, Bali

Gado Gado-Bebek Bengil.jpg
My favourite restaurant in Ubud, Bali is Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner). I always make it a point to dine there during my visits to Bali. During my recent trip at the end of October 2006, I had dinner there twice.

I love the ambience in this restaurant. Upon entering, you'll see a lounge area which makes you feel at home. Walk on further and you'll see dining pavilions dotted within a garden filled with beautiful plants, stone pathways and fountains. The sound of running water is most soothing. The view of the padi field within the compound makes you feel as if you're dining in the calm countryside away from the hustle and bustle of traffic which passes the front of the restaurant. Depending on how crowded the restaurant is, you can choose between sitting at tables or sitting on the floor of a pavilion. I like to sit at the heart of the premises in a pavilion close to the padi field because I love lounging on the cushions while waiting for my food. I highly suggest that you try this restaurant out both in the day and at night. Unlike some other restaurants which only look good in the day or at night, this restaurant's ambience carries it well both day and night.

We had Gado-Gado, an Indonesian salad of steamed vegetables with fried tofu and peanut dressing. The peanut sauce here is well-prepared in that it is not overly sweet and doesn't have the rancid odour of peanut oil that we sometimes encounter in other places. The fried tofu pieces are fried well and are juicy to bite into. They're also drained sufficiently well that they're not excessively oily.

We also had their tapas platter which consisted of Chicken Satay (pieces of meat cooked on a skewer ie. Indonesian kebabs), Spring Rolls, Fried Tofu and Keropok (deep-fried prawn cracker). The Chicken Satay was well-seasoned with spices and grilled to perfection thereby making each bite juicy and flavourful. The Spring Rolls were not excessively oily, the filling was delicious and the pastry was pleasingly crispy.

A MUST-TRY at Bebek Bengil is the Crispy Duck. The duck is first steamed in local spices, then deep fried for a crispy and fragrant finish. Don't be fooled by the picture above which shows the duck to be deceptively dry. It is far from being dry and stringy, the juicy flesh is filled with the flavour of the spices. I would usually avoid using my hands even when eating prawns however, I am always willing to do so for this dish. The dish is served with steamed white rice which is a perfect complement to the rich flavours of the duck.

The 2 types of chili sauces which are served in Bebek Bengil are absolutely delicious! I think the mix of sliced shallots tossed in some shallot oil with sliced green and red chilis is particularly delicious with meat.

We also tried the Crispy Chicken dish which was served with Nasi Kuning (Yellow Rice). The chicken was cooked in a similar manner as the duck however, the flesh was not as juicy nor was it as tasty as the duck. The Nasi Kuning was fragrant and not overly-heavy as is usually the case when too much coconut milk is used in the cooking process. Overall, it was not a bad dish but definitely take the duck instead if you only have room for one dish.

Both dishes were served with a side of sauteed long beans. The long beans were very fragrant and crunchy. They provided a flavoursome and crunchy aspect to the meal.

Bebek Bengil

Jl Hanoman,

Padang Tegal,

Ubud, Bali.

Tel: (62-361) 975-489

Food Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ambience: 5 out of 5