DonQui’s fabulous yet inexpensive lodgings are an oasis of greenery and calm in the buzzy backpacker/surfer/hipster enclave of Canggu, Bali.
Next door is the highly rated Crate Café which does have very good coffee. However the weird combinations of food on offer seem designed to be instagram-able, and to please the taste buds of homesick Australians rather than a travelling donkey. There is nothing local on the menu and all the customers are white — apart from DonQui who is slightly greyish.
Scratching his head, DonQui wonders why people travel so far just to have the same stuff they would have at home, Then he trots off in search of something vaguely Balinese to eat. This is harder than he would have thought. Amongst the tattoo parlours using 100% vegan ink and barber shops offering beard trims, there are plenty of restaurants. On offer are vegan ‘whole foods’, Keto-friendly options, poke bowls, protein smoothies, ramen, tacos, sushi, and avocado on everything. In short nothing that appeals to DonQui’s taste buds.
Finally DonQui stumbles upon Pali — an actual Balinese restaurant in an airy setting overlooking a rice paddy, and not a stray hipster in sight. DonQui samples the utterly delicious Nasi Campur Rendang. The spicy chicken satay skewered on a lemongrass stalk is a particular treat, as is the Urap (cold steamed vegetables with spiced grated coconut).
Feeling thoroughly refreshed, DonQui walks down to nearby Echo Beach and then along the black sands towards Pererenan.
Passing a family at their devotions, DonQui enjoys the underdevelopment of the beaches here and wonders how much longer they will remain so.
The beach at Pererenan is dominated by the amazing Gajah Mina statue which depicts Lord Baruna, ruler of the sea, riding a fantastic mythical creature.
Deciding that he wishes to explore further afield, DonQui realises that he needs to join Bali’s scooter madness, since hiring a scooter is really the only way to get around.
Before allowing himself to create mayhem on the streets he books himself in for a session with the excellent Mamo from Canguu Scooter Lessons. Soon DonQui is feeling confident enough to be let loose on the road.
A half an hour ride takes him to Tanah Lot temple which is spectacularly set on rocks above the Indian Ocean.
There are some pretty stunning views…
… and a parlous crossing at high tide.
Before leaving the temple, DonQui decides to stop for a famous Luwak Coffee. This is made from coffee beans which have eaten by luwaks (civets), partially digested and then evacuated before being gathered up for processing. Due to its unusual and limited production method this highly prized coffee is amongst the most expensive in the world. DonQui thinks it is a most excellent brew and he is getting a bargain at Rp 50k (around £2.70) a cup.
The café owner even has a luwak (related to a mongoose) resting on the bar after its digestive exertions!
The mobility of the scooter allows DonQui to reach further away beaches and find more authentic Balinese restaurants beyond the hipster ghetto. Of the latter, the unobtrusive Home by Chef Wayan is particularly good. He also enjoys Babi Gulung (Balinese suckling pig) from a roadside stop.
And no, he does not try his hand at surfing.
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