Food tripping at Balilicious Modern Indonesian Cuisine
One of my favourite expressions that Filipinos have coined is the term: “food trip.” The expression is not to be taken literally, as in traveling with the intention of cultural exploration through food. Instead, going on a “food trip” means enjoying a dizzying array of food with friends and family. The food may be local or foreign, at home or in a restaurant, and the only goal is to eat until one’s belly is stuffed and one’s palate is overwhelmed by all those fantastic flavours.
My most recent food trip adventure occurred on Cambie St. at Balilicious Modern Indonesian Cuisine. The name is a mouthful to be sure, but it is exactly as it states: a small cozy place that serves very tasty Indonesian cuisine with a modern twist. Indonesian food is an exotic blend of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisine that still retains its Southeast Asian roots. I find that it draws on flavours quite similar to Thai or Malaysian cooking.
Being only two people on the food trip presented a problem as there were so many dishes that my fellow food tripper and I wanted to try on the menu. The dishes that we finally settled on, however, were all extremely well-executed with that sharp, clear taste that only the freshest ingredients made from scratch can provide. And every plate we sampled was so beautifully put together that you almost felt sorry to dig in for the first bite. Almost.
One of the best dishes was the Rendang Sapi, a beef brisket rubbed in a dry curry paste, then slowly stewed in coconut milk until the meat is extremely tender. The meat was intensely flavourful and the crispy bits of fried garlic on top complemented it perfectly.
Nasi Goreng, the signature dish of Indonesia, is a savory plate of fried rice infused with tamarind, chili and garlic and topped with a fried egg. As you can imagine, the result was a delightful and spicy combination of flavors.
On the other hand, a refreshing respite from the intense, spicy dishes we sampled was the Sambal Terong Pengat. Steamed zucchini and eggplant, and mild chili sauce were layered atop crisp bean sprouts to create a pleasing vegetarian dish.
The danger of the food trip is filling up on savory food before reaching dessert. Do not let that happen to you at this restaurant. If you do, you will miss out on some truly amazing creations such as the chocolate and avocado parfait or their version of banana fritters. While chocolate and avocado do not seem to be a customary combination, rest assured that the fusion of the smooth creamy avocado mousse swirled with equally creamy chocolate is a must try at this place.
Here’s hoping that your next food trip finds you in Bali.
Where: 3488 Cambie St. (Cambie and 19th) Tel. 604-709-8150
When: Tuesday- Friday for lunch from 11:30- 2:30 pm. Tuesday – Sunday for dinner from 5:30 pm onwards.
What else: I really appreciated the excellent and courteous service at this place. The nice thing is that they are extremely accommodating about the spice level, so go ahead and specify what you want.