Top 10 Best Bali Cookbooks and Recipe Collections ✨

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Hi, I am Chef Zara. In this post, I will guide you through the best Bali Cookbooks. Join me on this journey of taste and discovery.

I love discovering new food and cooking with friends and family. One of the most common questions that I often get is for cookbook recommendations. I have created this guide for friends, family, and new friends alike. I hope that you enjoy our site.

Traditional Elements of Bali Cooking

Bali is known for its sustainable communities and potent flavors. Restaurants and local warungs tend to focus on foods that are locally available. A typical Bali recipe usually consists of white rice, coconut, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, poultry, seafood, or pork. Beef is not typically popular in Bali the way it is in Indonesia, although it is still available. Bali’s food is usually flavored with abundant spices, herbs, and roots native to the island, which are often turned into savory spice pastes called bumbu.

Balinese cuisine is characterized by its complex combinations of spicy, sweet, salty, and bitter. These robust flavors can be difficult to discern on your own, so we’ve compiled an assessment of 10 Balinese cookbooks—published by culinary experts— to help you discover delicious and authentic Balinese food.

You need to see our 10 Best Bali Cookbooks to inspire you to love Bali and its cuisine!


1. Bali Unveiled: The Secrets of Balinese Cuisine

Why We Love It ❤️

Bali Unveiled discusses the intimate details of household cooking norms in Bali, as well as the custom of shopping at local markets and vendors. Through Bali Unveiled, you will learn about the different occasions and meanings behind food preparation and celebration. The recipes are simple to understand, which makes this book great for beginners who want to start exploring some of the rich and exotic flavors unique to Balinese cuisine. 

Review 📖

This book contains descriptive steps and brightly colored photographs that allow you to follow each of the unique Bali recipes with ease while you recreate some of Bali’s most stunning cuisine. Balinese cuisine is known for its complex combination of flavors. It can be difficult to master, but the glossary of ingredients in this book helps you stay organized and lets you know exactly what items you need to create each flavor profile. 

About the Author ✍️

Bali Unveiled was written by executive chef Heinz von Holzen— a highly-experienced, Swiss-born chef— who invites readers into the mystery of Balinese cuisine with the help of fellow author and Bali expert Fred Eisman Jr. 


2. Paon: Real Balinese Cooking

Review 📖

Paon, which is also the Balinese word for “kitchen,” was released in June 2022 and offers over 80 authentic Balinese recipes that are sure to enchant your tastebuds. Paon is filled with bright images that capture some of the magic of Bali and offer a broader understanding of the island’s cuisine. This book discusses the way Bali cuisine typically incorporates worship into its everyday food practices and how Bali values no-waste recipes. 

The Balinese recipes in this book range from foundational to ceremonial in six detailed chapters that touch on different categories of Bali food: Foundations, From the Fields, From the Land, From the Sea, From the Pasar, and Rare and Ceremonial. Each recipe comes with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, with numerous internal references available to make every stage clear to the reader. This book is perfect for readers with an interest in Bali cuisine and the local communities. 

About the Author ✍️

Paon was written by Tjok Maya Kerthuasa, an Indonesian and Australian writer, and I Wayan Kresna Yasa, an experienced Balinese chef known for his revival of sophisticated recipes from Bali and Indonesia.


3. Balinese Food: The Traditional Cuisine & Food Culture of Bali

Why We Love It ❤️

An intense exploration of local recipes, Balinese Food contains over 20 chapters covering the wonderful world of authentic Balinese cuisine and its connection to the Hindu religion. This cookbook includes interviews and favorite recipes from prominent chefs, making special notes of the key ingredients and equipment you need to make these sophisticated recipes at home. 

Review 📖

Different chapters throughout the book outline the traditions of local markets and warungs, as well as how to prepare authentic coffees, sates, and other staples of the region. It also displays an amazing collection of photographs of Bali, which complement the recipes perfectly. This book provides more than just a list of ingredients and instructions; it provides a unique glimpse into the real Bali. Most recipes in the cookbook begin with anecdotal stories that bring you deeper into Bali culture and help you connect with the traditions. 

About the Author ✍️

Balinese Food was written by Dr. Vivienne Kruger— a Bali expert and accomplished cookbook author, culinary columnist, and Bali tour guide. She earned her doctorate from Columbia University as a social and cultural historian and has been helping people discover the unique taste of Bali since 2014.


4. The Food of Bali

Why We Love It ❤️

This cookbook allows you to recreate some of the most delicious Bali meals by combining the preparation, food, and beauty of Bali with traditional recipes. The Food of Bali contains authentic and native techniques that also incorporate the historical and social contexts so closely related to the cuisine and lifestyles of the region. The introduction of this book details the influences and traditions that have shaped Bali cuisine and established the unique flavor profiles it is known for today.

Review 📖

In the recipe section of the cookbook, readers are given the ingredients, tools, and processes they need to recreate the fragrant and complex flavors of Bali at home. Each dish is accompanied by beautiful, glossy photographs that guide the reader through each step and highlight the beauty and vibrance of Bali’s cuisine. The Food of Bali even comes with an appendix of specialized suppliers through which you can order specific ingredients by mail for the most authentic experience possible.

About the Author ✍️

The Food of Bali was written by chef Heinz von Holzen, a Swiss-born Bali and culinary expert, and Lother Arsana, a chef with over 20 years of experience cooking for island communities. Chef von Holzen has also written another cookbook, The Food of Indonesia.


5. The Food of Indonesia: Delicious Recipes from Bali, Java, and the Spice Islands

Why We Love It ❤️

This large hardcover cookbook contains many Balinese recipes with detailed descriptions of how to prepare different types of Bali dishes and a quintessential list of the fresh, healthy ingredients you will need to achieve the ideal island flavor (check out our guide on the Best Island Cookbooks). There are many recipes in this book that include ingredients that are common Bali finds, like duck and chicken, which further connect readers with the world of Bali and traditions associated with island cuisine.

Review 📖

The Food of Indonesia offers gratuitous explanations for those not familiar with Indonesian cuisine while incorporating amazing photographs that help bring the cooking process to life. Most of the ingredients you need to create these dishes are outlined early in the book. The food is authentic and flavorful, transporting your taste buds straight to the islands and bringing traditional flavors into your home cooking.

About the Author ✍️

The Food of Indonesia is the product of the amazing efforts of notable Heinz von Holzen and Lother Arsana, who are known for their Indonesian and Balinese expertise. 


6. Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Why We Love It ❤️

Fire Islands is the winner of the Kerb Food and Drink Travel Book of the Year award, as well as the Guild Food Writers International or Regional Cookbook award. This brilliant book features Indonesian and Bali food recipes that help readers uncover the mystery of these Southeast Asian foods. There are over 100 recipes to explore — each with simple directions that are easy for anyone to understand and follow. 

Review 📖

Fire Islands covers beverages, street food, snacks, desserts, noodles (check out our guide on the Best Noodles Cookbooks), rice dishes, soups, and more, with beautiful photographs to guide and inspire you along the way. Recipes are explained clearly and offer deeper insight into the culture of Indonesia and Bali. All the recipes are authentic, flavorful, and well-connected to their Southeast Asian roots. 

About the Author ✍️

Fire Islands was written by a food author and expert on Asian cuisine and culture. She has won several awards for her cookbooks that help readers experience both culture and flavor with her well-researched and exciting recipes. 


7. Fragrant Rice: My Continuing Love Affair with Bali

Why We Love It ❤️

While this book is considered a memoir, Fragrant Rice contains over 100 recipes that delve into the bountiful and exotic world behind Bali’s food. The memoir details the journey of the author, executive chef and educator, Janet De Neefe, who visited Bali in 1974 and decided to stay. De Neefe became enamored with the island, and her memoir includes captivating anecdotes about the ways the Bali’s dishes inspired her. She now runs two restaurants in the middle of the island. In these beloved restaurants, she helps bring flavors from her island home to the local community. Fragrant rice includes some of her favorite recipes from her island kitchens.

Review 📖

This recipe collection is a stunning tribute to traditional Bali recipes passed down over many years by the author’s in-laws, which she weaves into anecdotes about the lifestyle associated with the meals. The memoir includes detailed and easy to follow instructions with great tasting results that truly capture the essence of the island. Some of the foods in this book include Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice), Gado-Gado (Vegetables in Peanut Sauce), and Babi Kecap (Pork in Sweet Chili Sauce), which are all wildly popular in Bali. 

About the Author ✍️

Fragrant Rice was written by famous chef, Janet De Neefe, who teaches culinary classes and owns several successful restaurants and stores in Bali that focus on local cuisine. 


8. From Bangkok to Bali in 30 Minutes

Why We Love It ❤️

From Bangkok to Bali in 30 Minutes offers easy-to-follow recipes, including some with fresh, bold flavors and ingredients that are often easy to find in local Asian markets without having to order by mail. The meals in this book are relatively healthy and straightforward, and —as suggested by the title—they are ready in about 30 minutes, making the book more accessible for those less experienced in the kitchen. 

Review 📖

Although the recipes in this cookbook sometimes come with a western twist on classic dishes, the meals are well-balanced and harken back to the true essence of Bali flavors. From Bangkok to Bali is easy to follow and clearly explains each dish with bright images that help guide the reader. Alongside the lunch and dinner meals, there are also a variety of beverage options to choose from, which provides a broad offering of flavors, textures, and experiences from Bali and Southeast Asia. 

About the Author ✍️

From Bangkok to Bali was written by Theresa Volpe Laursen, a food writer and educator, and Byron Laursen, a freelance writer. 


9. Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes: From Bangkok to Bali

Review 📖

Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes is a great cookbook for beginners that covers the fundamentals of Southeast Asian cuisine (check out our guide on the Best Malaysian Cookbooks), including delicious staples from the island of Bali. There are a wide variety of foods to choose from with varying levels of difficulty that guide readers through each step with ease. The meals range from fancy restaurant and festival dishes to everyday plates that you might find in a typical household. 

The pages of this cookbook are filled with award-winning photos of the different dishes that will inspire you to prepare a wide range of meals with confidence. The text is expertly written to make each step clear and accessible so you know just the right way to pull these complex flavors and textures together. 

About the Author ✍️

Southeast Asia’s Best Recipes was written by Wendy Hutton, a native New Zealander who has been traveling and eating her way through Southeast Asia for decades. Hutton is known for her travel and food writing, as well as for her clean and clear pose style. Masano Kawana, an award-winning photographer, provided striking images for this book that help transport the reader into the beauty of Bali and other Southeast Asian cuisines


10. Nasi Goreng – Indonesian Recipes

Review 📖

This book of Indonesian family recipes “from the 1600s to now” provides the author’s personal take on recipes passed down through generations in South East Asia. Nasi Goreng provides easy-to-follow recipes. Techniques and instructions are delivered in simple terms so that you can quickly cook these flavorful foods on your own. 

About the Author ✍️

Nasi Goreng was written by Jan Fritz Aveleven, whose family has been settled in Indonesia since the 1600s. Aveleven, resents that people with little experience suggest staple Bali family meals, like Nasi Goreng, can be created with alternative ingredients like pineapple, ham, and bay leaves. Instead, Aveleven offers this international cookbook to detail the proper way to cook these dishes.


Master the basics of Indonesian cooking at home

Now that you’ve seen this list of the 10 best Bali cookbooks, it’s time to start creating authentic dishes from international culinary experts at home.

Balinese food originates from the Indonesian province of Bali and is heavily rooted in Hindu traditions. In Balinese society, foods can be categorized as either everyday food or ritual food, which is presented during festivals and meant to appease the gods.


09/28/2022 07:24 pm GMT

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AUTHOR

Chef Zara is the founder and chief editor for Bakeaholic. He loves bringing smiles to people with the delicious visuals, smells, and tastes of food. Chef Zara's passion for baking started at a very young age, and he has never looked back since. He enjoys experimenting with different flavors and combinations, and takes great pride in creating unique recipes that will tantalize your taste buds. When he’s not whipping up something delectable in the kitchen, Chef Zara can be found exploring new culinary delights around the world.

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