When you are either on vacation or business in Bali, try to eat like a tourist but drink like a Balinese. Why so? Because Bali is filled with many traditional beverages that, if you are not familiar with it, might taste a little bit weird for you, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not delicious. Here are some of Bali’s traditional beverage that you really need to try right now:
1. LOLOH CEMCEM
Source : IG @doplang_jaya
Originated from the famous traditional village, Penglipuran, Loloh Cemcem is a kind of herbal beverage that is said to be good for digestion as well as to lower blood pressure. Though herbal beverage- or in Indonesia we call it ‘Jamu” – is generally known for its unappetizing bland and bitter taste, Loloh Cemcem offers unique blend and fresh taste of sour, spicy, salty and sweet. Weird maybe, but definitely it tastes interesting and refreshing. The main ingredient is Cemcem leaves, mixed with Cinnamon, Betel leaves, Jarak leaves, Dhadhap leaves then served with coconut water and palm sugar which create its special flavor.
2. BREM BALI
In Java, Brem is a traditional fermented snack that is believed to prevent dermatitis and stimulating blood system. In Bali, Brem, also familiar as rice wine, is a fermented beverage from mashed black/ white glutinous rice using a dry-starter called ‘Ragi (yeast) tape’. Bali brem is often used in Hindu religious ceremonies as offerings for Bhuta Kala, for the sake of universe’ harmony. Though it contains moderate alcohol level and drinkable, there are not too many people who drink brem. However, Brem can be an interesting choice of souvenir to give to your friends back home.
3. ARAK / TUAK BALI
Arak is a Balinese moonshine distilled from Tuak, a sweet wine made from the coconut palm flower. While Tuak is about 5% alcohol, Good arak can contain over 50%. Some arak is distilled from Brem, which is a wine made from black glutinous rice and coconut milk. Unlike arak, tuak is a milky and rather sour tasting drink. There have been some news about death due to methanol in Arak, but this usually happens in inland village where they consume homemade Arak but do not understand the distillation process. As for Arak in Kuta or Seminyak usually are safe.
Local Balinese will usually drink Tuak and Arak without any additional mixed, but if you visit some restaurants and bars they will offer Arak Attack (Arak mixed with Orange Juice) or Arak Madu (Arak, honey and dash of lime juice). During your trip in Bali, if find group of Balinese male sitting together and passing around a plastic cup with clear liquid in it, there is a big chance that they are drinking arak. If you have grown to be familiar with a Balinese, there is also a big chance that they will invite you to join their Arak Night. Just be careful not to drink and drive, and prepare for the worst hangover the next day, though.