Moving to a new country certainly does provide the opportunity to sample a huge array of different foods, but there are still some things that our western palates find hard to give up, even if it is only for a short time. I have to admit most things you can get in Bali. But after only two months, we have realised that there are some foods that we really miss. Western foods that we can get here in Bali are often different in taste and texture and they’re just not the same. Also they can be relatively expensive so we avoid buying them too often.
Whatever the situation, some foods we just don’t get enough of.
Fruit – I really miss a good crisp crunchy apple! There are plenty of fruits available, but they are just not the same. There is a good range of everyday fruit we get back home, like apples, pears, mandarins and oranges, and the more gourmet options like berries, though they are often more expensive than home and not the quality we are used to – not as delicious, flavoursome or as juicy. Perhaps the imported fruit doesn’t get the opportunity to ripen and sweeten on the bush, so taste is compromised. Or perhaps if they’re grown here, the soil is different and hence the taste is different?
Vegetables: Similar to fruit, the veggies are either local and unfamiliar, or imported and relatively expensive. You can’t get the variety or the quality that I am used to. Although given that I don’t cook much I am usually buying carrot, cucumber and mushrooms for the kids to snack on, rather than cook-able types of vegetables.
Milk: The majority of the available milk is UHT long life milk, which is taking a while to get used to. With more and more tourists and expats, there has been the increasing need for fresh milk to satisfy the western palate. You can occasionally find fresh milk (they call it fresh but it is sealed like UHT milk – haven’t worked that out yet), but it is about $3 for one litre. This is more than double the price back home!
Deli Items: We were big cheese eaters back home, but not here. You can still get it, but it is more expensive. We pay $16 per kg for a basic cheddar cheese. You can also find ham and salami, but they are really average in quality. It means a good ham and cheese toasted sandwich is hard to make!
Coffee: Bali coffee tastes very average (to us), but the worst part is they leave the coffee grounds in the cup. So never drink to the bottom to avoid the sludge mouth feel. It is usually consumed black (due to the lack of fresh milk?) with lots of sugar.
There are a couple of places you can get good coffee around Ubud, but we don’t like paying Perth prices for a coffee here – it is supposed to be cheap in Bali! We brought over a stove top percolator and Australian coffee to make our own, but it is ruined anyway when you add long life milk to it. I miss our coffee machine, maybe we could bring that back next time.
Bread: Again bread is available, but generally the Indonesian bread products are white, sweet and often has chocolate through it. We have gradually found a few places that bake good bread catering for the western palate, but we don’t eat the good stuff daily as we did at home. I miss eating fresh grainy bread.
Chocolate: The local chocolate is fairly average in taste, so if you’re a chocolate lover you will find it challenging. We have found some items that the kids like – especially for treat night. They are not hard to satisfy when it comes to chocolate. For me, I miss the good ol’ Cadbury and Lindt – the alternatives have been Toblerone and Snickers.
Licorice: Oh how I miss licorice. This is one thing you can not get here as far as I have discovered. I bought a stash while back in Aus, and imported it over.
Although there are lots of things that are different and more difficult to access, there is really not much we can’t get and that we can’t live without!