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Best Local Food

If you’re like me, one of the best things about traveling is trying all of the delicious local foods. Local restaurants are called warungs and usually serve up staples like Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), curries, gado gado and sate chicken. If you’re on a budget, head straight to a nasi campur warung, where you can pick from a selection of dishes on display for as little as $1.50. Here’s our top picks.

Warung Sunny: The place to go for cooking classes with Chef Hero, one of the friendliest faces on the island. They make a great jamu too!

Alam Damai: Our absolute favourite local food in Gili Air, especially the chicken curry. Expect to wait a while for your food as everything is made from scratch, trust me, it’s worth the wait. Stop at the nearby Captain Goodtimes (our sister hotel) for a cocktail after your meal, enjoy complimentary use of the pool if you have a drink in the bar.

Ruby’s Café: A well deserved winner of the 2020 Travellers Choice Award and also the winner in the recent cooking competition at the Slow Food & Yoga festival. Generous portions and beautifully presented delicious food. If you’re lucky you will meet the owners, Ruby and Jeremy who are always friendly and ready to share their local knowledge.

Warung Parida: On the main street in the village, this little gem serves our favourite Nasi Campur (mixed rice), it’s popular with locals and expats living on the island. Don’t worry if you can’t speak the language, just point to what you want. Expect to pay $1.50 - $3 depending on how many dishes you pick. Eat like a local and grab a packet of Kerupuk (crackers) to enjoy with your meal. If you want to take away ask for “Bunkus”.

Food Carts: Hang around the harbour and you will probably notice a few food carts being pushed along. Common ones are Bakso (beef ball soup), fresh coconuts served with lime and brown sugar, fried chicken or my favourite Gado Gado (steamed vegetables, covered in a spicy peanut sauce and served on a big tapioca cracker), I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

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