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Sunday 22 February 2015

Bali on a budget: How to feast on local cuisine for $4 per person

There are two distinct sides to Bali. 

There is the island of the beautiful people, affordable luxury and authentic experiences.

Then there are the tattooed bogans of Kuta, the chaos of Denpasar's lamentable Ngurah Rai airport, lunatics on motorbikes and dodgy money changers.

But whether you are staying in a beachfront backpackers or a high-end hotel you are probably looking for an authentic dining experience. 

Let me introduce you to Warung Yogya, a hole-in-the-wall place in the backstreets of Legian that serves tasty local dishes (made by an all-woman kitchen team) and charges an absolute pittance.

Warung Yogya seats around 30 people, which means you may have to wait in line at peak times). It is clean but basic (recently refurbed in fact), with a menu choice of around a dozen dishes. 

The "go to" dish of nasi campur was not available on our most recent visit, so we splurged on three dishes and a bowl of rice, along with two banana juices and were left with a bill for $4 each. 

Our choices were a fragrant chicken curry in a spicy, herbal broth (melt-in-the-mouth tender it was, too), a nasi goreng (fried rice) dish with a chicken garnish and a huge gado gado (a traditional mixture of cooked and raw vegetables served with tempeh), with a side dish of ubiquitous peanut sauce. 

The nasi goreng needed a secret ingredient to bring it to life - the dish of sambal on each table. This condiment has a real kick to it. 

A bottle of Bintang beer seems an extravagance at $2.50 but goes brilliant with both the curry and the nasi goreng. 

The service is perfunctory at best, the drinks list limited. But the food is good and tasty and ridiculously affordable. Eat here one night and splurge at Mama San the next. 

Warung Yogya, Jalanl Padma Utara No. 79, Legian, Bali. 0361-750835 

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