Since we are living on an island, most of our food comes from the sea and the coastal landscape. We are lucky to have the all-year-around fishing season, which means we can get full access to the freshest catch every day at the most reasonable price.
Worry not if you have never cooked with seafood before. Most seafood cooks within minutes and serves as a great base for a variety of different flavours. You can have it grilled, steamed, pan-seared, stir-fried, or even serve it raw. Whatever you finally decide, let’s eat up the coastal vibe of the island.
Here, we highlight some of the island’s best catches on plates. Those who have allergies to shellfish or any kind of seafood, eat them responsibly!
Sardines Octavio at Le Club 22
Sardines are a healthy convenience food with a great source of Omega-3, protein-rich, packed with calcium, and can positively influence your vitamin D levels. They’re a cost-effective way to get in a whole host of nutrients! Plus, it’s fairly simple to make them taste good. You can either fry them in a pan or grill them, bake them, add them to pasta, serve them on crackers, or even eat them straight-up in salads.
At Le Club 22, the Senior Executive Chef of Karma Kandara, Joseph Antonishek, chooses to grill the sardines in honour to keep the legacy of his previous Executive Sous from Portugal. Right after the sardines are grilled perfectly, the skin will be slightly toasted and almost caramelised, creating an intoxicating mix of sweet, smokey and salty sensations. Afterwards, they are brushed with garlic herb oil, topped with salsa verde and paired with a simple rocket salad with cherry tomatoes and saffron potatoes. What’s next? “Está para chuparse los dedos.” For the Mediterranean perfection part, a bottle of Karma Rose will end it well.
Paella at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua
Get spoiled at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua during their Sassy Saturday, a casual beach barefoot dining, to feast upon the finest freshly caught seafood available for grilling on fire and charcoal. Featuring their signature Bali Paella, originally from Spain, this Andalucía speciality is topped with Lombok clams, mussels, prawns and calamari while the rice is slowly simmered in an oversized pan and blackened with squid ink for its unique black colour representing Mount Agung volcano that can be seen as you dine.
Share this culinary experience with your loved one, family or a small group of friends in the relaxing beachfront setting. Enjoy the chefs cooking tables using the freshest ingredients to cook a sensational meal and a team of servers will also be on hand to pay special attention to all your dining needs.
Belonging to a gastropod mollusc family, abalone is highly valued for its meat. It is considered one of the most expensive seafood in the world. A kilo of abalone can cost up to $100 in Asian markets. This type of seafood can be eaten both raw and cooked. The easiest method to cook abalone is to fry them with a little butter for a few minutes on each side or slowly cooked them at a low temperature. Prolonged cooking increases its taste although sun-dried abalone is the tastiest option.
Crudo Hokkaido Scallop at Kubu Mandapa
Buttery and easy to cook, this delicious shellfish is a true seafood treasure. Their versatility is one of the best things about scallops. You can either bake, sauté or grill scallops, and serve them in a soup, in a salad, as a side, as the main course or on their own. Scallops have a sweet, uniquely rich taste, making them palatable.
In Ubud, Kubu at Mandapa is mixing scallops with calamansi, avocado and lavender flavour. The dish showcases a thinly sliced Hokkaido scallop, served raw (Crudo in Italian). The soft fleshy texture and delicately mild sweet flavour of the scallop are enhanced by the calamansi and lavender dressing (lightly marinated), accompanied by calamansi gel, avocado mousse, pickled cucumber and shallot. Sturia Caviar Oscietra will also be added to finish off the dish along with edible flowers, herbs and black radish slices. The Executive Chef, Maurizio Bombini, created this excellent dish to remind him of his hometown Apulia, in Italy.
Whether it comes in a roll, stew, bisque or just straight from the shell, we all are hankering for lobster! Those seafood addicts are very selective in choosing lobsters; the more active the lobster, the more tender the meat. They would also decide on a lobster by its gender or by looking at the length of the antennae (the longer has better taste). However, all preferences aside, all lobsters are equally tender and tasty. They are also a great source of selenium and contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect against thyroid disease, depression and anaemia.
This delicious mollusc provides the human body with many unique nutrients and minerals, resulting in great health benefits. Scientific facts show that consuming oysters at a healthy, moderate level helps to boost metabolic activity, increase tissue repair and growth, lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, improve immune functions, aid in wound healing and promote healthy growth.
Health aside, oysters will deliver a memorable eating experience and a potent hit of shellfish tastiness. Most people prefer to consume raw oysters straight away on the half shell with plenty of lemon for squeezing and Tabasco sauce, while others opt for a fully-cooked approach to shovelling them down straight from the shell. Either cooking them or serving them raw, make sure to keep them as cold as possible to keep them fresh. However, a good oyster should taste like itself. You don’t want to disguise its flavour with an abundance of sauces because you will end up with a smelly bad oyster.
Imagine an octopus swimming through the ocean. Sounds scary. But it is actually something that many people eat in a lot of different cultures. The Greeks have been eating octopus since ancient times. For them, this dish is a total crowd-pleaser; a wow dish coming out with an impressive presentation. Octopus has a very bland, chewy texture with a flavour closer to chicken.
Frozen octopus cooks up more tender than the fresh catch. But, since we are living on the island, the catch is always fresh. There are so many methods that the chefs figure out to keep octopus tender. You can beat it over a rock as they do in Greece, massage it with salt like the Japanese or do the Italian style by slow-cooking it in wine. None of those tricks is explainable, but your octopus will come out super tender.
Octopus is not easy to prepare, and even some trained chefs struggle with preparing it. Proper tools in the kitchen are necessary to cook it nicely. Be warned that octopus smells bad, but just know that the bad smell isn’t because of your cooking skills.
Shrimp at Bubba Gump Shrimp
Easy to serve as an appetiser, put on salads or sandwiches, cooked in garlic or grilled on the barbecue for a main dish, shrimp is probably the most commonly consumed seafood (after fish) on this island. Due to contains omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine and protein, consuming shrimp is considered healthy for your circulatory system.
When you pick out the freshest shrimp available on the market, find one with a fresh smell and clean. Avoid any shrimp that smells like ammonia because it is a sign that it has been sitting around for a while. Make sure your shrimps don’t spend too long out of the freezer before being cooked. If you look for live shrimp, either fresh from the ocean or stored in tanks at the shop, cook the shrimp as soon as possible after purchasing it for the best flavour and texture. When cooking, bear in mind that heat is shrimp’s nemesis. It loses weight and volume when cooked too long and becomes tough to chew.
In Bali, Bubba Gump is recognised for its high-quality shrimp. Their Shrimp New Orleans is made with an insane amount of butter. The shrimp are served shell-on, so you may need to eat with your hands. Since the sauce is served in the same bowl as the shrimp, you can either spoon a small pool of sauce onto your dinner plate for dipping or spoon it over your shrimp.
From simple sandwiches made with cooked prawns to a party platter of crispy prawns with dipping sauces, prawns are perfectly suited to the warmer months. Physically similar to shrimp, prawn comes bigger with longer legs. However, their taste and nutrition are the same. As far as cooking them goes, they are virtually identical. In fact, it is almost impossible to identify any difference between them once cooked. Prawns are quick and easy to prepare. Either grill, steam or stir-fry, with a little know-how, you can enjoy them at their best.
Tuna at Sangkar Restaurant
This is a fuss-free meal that won’t break your bank. We always had a few cans of tuna stored in the pantry’s cabinets. Whether sandwiched between slices of bread, stuffed into plump tomatoes or scooped onto a bed of lettuce, tuna has served us countless lunches. It is also the ultimate convenience food, low in fat, packed with protein and portable. With just a little effort, we can easily turn tuna into a salad, a sandwich, the main dish or a dip.
With a minimum amount of preparation, cooking tuna is best brushed with oil and lightly seasoned. Pan-frying, barbecuing and chargrilling are the best methods of cooking. Even considered a cheap dish, tuna can also be just as fancy as the next fish. Tonno grigliato at Bulgari’s Sangkar Restaurant is the kind of meal that will make your salivary glands go into a super active mode. A few chops of grilled tuna steak are marinated in fennel and orange salad and then drizzled with olive tapenade.