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Bebek Betutu Iconic Bali Smoked Duck ● Four Famous Restaurants ● Which was our Favourite?


Bebek betutu is a unique, iconic duck dish you must try when you are in Bali (another is babi guling, a non halal dish).

The ducks for bebek betutu are usually lean and about 1kg weight. Bebek betutu is said to go back to the 1500s from the heyday of the grand old Majapahit empire.

Traditionally, bebek betutu is made by rubbing the duck with spices known as bumbu betutu outside, packing the cavity with cassava leaves and spices, wrapped in opeh or banana leaves, then slow baking the bird in rice husk embers for twelve hours. An elaborate process that takes two days.

Nowadays, most restaurants cook bebek betutu with modern equipment and techniques. Some places steam the bird, then finish by baking in the oven instead of smoking the traditional way. Alternatively, the spiced bird is cooked by boiling then finished by baking in an electric oven. Other places deep fried or roast their bebek betutu.

Each restaurant use their own recipe and technique.

Our first bebek betutu was at Bale Udang in Ubud. It's a beautiful restaurant with Bali characteristics. The main dining hall was like a giant hut or tent made of bamboo and was open on all sides with an air well in the roof, so it was very airy and bright 

The main dining hall overlooks paddy fields stretching to the horizon.

There were also over water pavilions where guests sit cross legged on the bamboo floor and eat on low hardwood tables.

Bale Udang has an extensive menu of Balinese and Western dishes. We sampled a variety of local delicacies, including their rendition of bebek betutu Bali.

The well seasoned and spiced duck leg was steamed and fried, so it was tender though not crisp. We like the savoury flavours and mild spicy heat from the bumbu betutu spices.

Bumbu betutu is made by hand mashing with mortar and pestle belachan (known as terasi in Indonesia), shallot, candlenut, turmeric, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, chili pepper, peppercorn, palm sugar, etc., so it is generally umami savoury with a bit of spicy heat and sweetness.

At Bale Udang, I like the cassava leaves stir fried with bumbu betutu. I always enjoyed vegetables for their roughage and I like the taste of bumbu betutu. 

Price of bebek betutu at Bale Udang Rp 125k++ (SGD $11++). Portion was sufficient for two.

Our second bebek betutu was at Cafe Wayan in Ubud. The huge restaurant has well appointed dining halls and spaces rich with warm earthly colours of hardwood but it was the beautiful tranquil Balinese garden that drew us deep inside. We couldn't help exploring the garden before looking through the menu 😄 Garden variety foodies? 😂

The lush garden was dotted with little ponds and pavilions which were intimate and private.

Cafe Wayan has the full range of Balinese dishes, Western staples and bebek betutu. This whole duck set costs Rp 430k++ (SGD $37.50++).

The duck skin and meat were fall-off-the-bone tender, juicy with the fibres well infused with savouriness and mild spice flavours.

Cafe Wayan's bebek betutu comes with lawar which is stir fried crunchy chopped long beans with grated coconut pulp, bits of chicken, fried shallot and spices.

Our third bebek betutu was dinner at Bebek Tepi Sawah. We were actually exhausted by a whole day of sightseeing around Bali on a rainy day. It was still raining when we were at Bebek Tepi Sawah which means "duck beside the paddy field" in Indonesian.

This restaurant was so beautiful, I felt energised already.

The main dining room was nice, rich with Balinese character.

But, why settle for common dining halls when we can have private pavilions surrounded by paddy fields and fish filled lily ponds 😬

Pardon the picture as it was dark and raining when we were having dinner. As usual we had many things, and their bebek betutu. Bebek Tepi Sawah's duck came on an opeh leaf and served with lawar and sambal.

Soft tender duck rich with mild savoury spices.

Price Rp 104k++ (SGD $9++).

Our fourth and final bebek betutu for this trip was at Bebek Bengil, the Dirty Duck Diner.

Bali restaurants are just incredibly beautiful - I mean if you follow my blog, you will know that I am very careful about using superlatives because I am not trying to sell or promote anything.

But, how can I not be impressed when they actually plow the field right in front of us while we ate 😄

Our pavilion was surrounded by the tranquility of lily ponds.

Oh... I love the bebek betutu here. 

The outside of the smoked duck was smothered in spices.

Tear up the duck with fingers, it was easy as it was so soft. The cavity was tightly packed with aromatic spices.

Dirty Duck Diner's bebek betutu has the intensity of flavours and richness of taste that I like most from this trip. The duck was also moist and soft tender.

Oh... We love the sambal here (served warm) so much that we asked for another serving to eat it with keropok.

Didn't note down the exact price here but remembered that it was in the Rp 100+k (SGD $10) range.

If you are a duck lover, you need to have a bebek betutu to complete your Bali experience.

Bali is not perfect but the amazing eating makes everything perfect.

Restaurant name: Bale Udang Mang Engking Ubud

Address: Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Peliatan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Tel: +628113999898

Hours: 11:00am - 10:00pm

Restaurant name: Cafe Wayan

Address: Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Tel: +6281238957857

Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm

Restaurant name: Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant Ubud

Address: Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Banjar Teges, Peliatan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Tel: +6281558070210

Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm

Restaurant name: Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner

Address: Jalan Hanoman, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Tel: +62361975489

Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm

Written by Tony Boey on 12 Mar 2023

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