Sanur is Bali’s oldest upscale resort area and a mature beach-side town. Despite the abundance of resorts and restaurants around this place, Sanur offers a tranquil and soothing charm. It stretches for about 5 kilometres along an east-facing coastline, with the lush and green landscaped grounds of resorts fronting right on to the sandy beach. The beach is thin and protected by a reef and breakwaters, so families appreciate the limpid waves.
To blend with the locals and for the better understanding of how they live, a visit to Sanur Night Market can be included in your itinerary. Located near Sindhu Beach, the market is amongst the cheapest spots that a tourist can find themselves at. Groceries aren’t as overpriced as it is the case with some other spots that have purposely been established to extort the foreign tourists. Sanur Market ideally operates throughout the day with the mornings being dedicated to the selling of groceries, fresh vegetables, dried fish, pungent spices and various household goods. Slightly after midday, departments shift from grocery stalls to food stalls, and the market suddenly transforms itself into a place of sensory delights. So, you are free to go according to your fancies and whims. If you are a food lover and want to have it in the local way, the best time to arrive would be after 6 PM.
Recently, Sanur Night Market underwent some serious sorts of refurbishments and resulting into a much more organized affair, thanks to the more space created. The variety of street food available here is mind-blowing, from local food stalls to meals on wheels. You can find any kind of fried and grilled food, including fried rice, fried noodles, satay, range of curries and stir fries. It becomes so difficult for the first timer to choose what they want to try. The best part, everything is raging under Rp 30,000 per item. So, if you are travelling on a budget, this is definitely the right place to be.
Mounds of food are dumped onto squares of waiting brown paper before being neatly wrapped and handed to salivating takeaway customers. Most of the visitors park their motorbikes and dash in for a takeaway, while the others don’t mind standing in front of the stalls and waiting for the delicacies to be cooked right in front of them. You might not find chairs and tables as per a common seating arrangement, but frankly, who cares! Don’t be surprised to find heaps of foreigners in and around the food stalls and look very excited to try Indonesian food. Worry not about the language barrier as the stallers speak English quite enough to understand what you want to order. In case they don’t, you can still communicate using the language of food by pointing at the items that you want. One secret of the market is for one to understand the balance between the sweetness and the spiciness of the foods.
As you walk and dance around sampling the sweet and spicy intersections wherever they meet, you will be amazed to see live coals in the stalls where meat is charred and grilled to perfection. It is fascinating to watch the chefs cook with their varieties of tossing, flipping, sautéing and sprinkling exquisite Indonesian spices. Some of the food stalls serve plates of ready-to-go food items behind glass, and you can choose what you want to go with rice. Some of the favourites are Perkedel Jagung (corn fritters), Terong Pedas (spicy eggplant), Tempe (soy bean cake), and Balinese style mixed vegetables. You can also find Lawar (coconut and vegetable dish with bits of crunchy pork), Bakso (Indonesian soup with meatballs), different versions of chicken, beef, lamb and fish. Fried pancakes and egg rolls are some of the other foods prepared in different ways.
If you are not sure what to have for dinner, you can go for a Lamb or Chicken Satay with a delicious sweet soy sauce and Lontong (sticky rice), or do try the savoury Martabak, which is a cross between a thin pancake and a thin omelette, stuffed with a slightly spicy filling that usually includes garlic, minced meat, egg and onion. It comes with fresh, birds eye chilies, sweet chili sauce and cucumber slices on the side. For dessert, you could buy a sweet Martabak with a filling of condensed milk, nuts and chocolate. But if you want to go for something light yet yummy, try a fresh tropical fruit salad of papaya, banana and pineapple, or perhaps a Durian Ice Cream. For only under Rp 100,000 you can have all of this. It is a free delicacy.
Sanur Night Market is an amusing break from eating at high-end restaurants. While gorging on street food, you do not compromise anything on taste and quality. But surprisingly, you get to enjoy unimaginable varieties of food at immensely reasonable rates that you actually go high on food. The charm of standing in front of the stalls, ordering over the counter, interacting with the friendly locals who treat you as people rather than ‘Tourists’ and watching your food getting cooked right in front of you is an amazing experience. Away from the posh and luxury, the street food at Sanur Night Market gives you every reason to devour and indulge into true Indonesian food without feeling guilty about emptying your pockets.