01 August 2013

Bali - Lawar, traditional food

On the Island of the Gods, no celebration, be it a religious rite or private function, is complete without lawar, traditional Balinese food comprising a mixture of meat, vegetables, animal blood, grated coconut, herbs and spices.

Replicating the marketing method of fast-food restaurants, Balinese lawar makers now sell lawar and other traditional dishes from a motorcycle, allowing them to reach out to people in far-flung residential complexes. The food sellers can be seen everywhere in the most crowded places at lunchtime. They carry a variety of lawar in a bamboo basket attached to the back of their motorcycles. Lawar can incorporate a variety of sliced or chopped vegetables and minced chicken, pork, duck, beef, seafood or young jackfruit.

Some types of lawar contain blood from the meat ingredient mixed with spices to add taste. Lawar spoils easily and should be eaten immediately; it is usually good for half a day before going bad. Lawar is named according to its ingredients, for example lawar mixed with pork is called lawar babi. Lawar with young jackfruit as an ingredient is called lawar nangka. Sometimes lawar is named according to its color: Lawar merah (red lawar) and lawar putih (white lawar). Lawar padamare is a combination of several types of lawar.

In some villages, these food sellers are known as nasi ojek. The presence of mobile lawar vendors is helpful as people do not have to go to a warung or wait for a family or temple celebration just to savor these spicy dishes.

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