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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
First of all let me say that we're not all that big on "theme night" parties at hotels. When we first started exploring the world we got a kick out of them but then they more or less all started to look pretty much the same. However the theme night party at the Grand Hyatt Bali at Nusa Dua is not to be missed.
I must apologize for not posting any pictures here. Wouldn't you know it, our old fashioned film camera spazzed that night.
Bali is an enchanting island filled with surprises and the spread they put on at this hotel's theme night is probably the finest we've ever encountered anywhere in the world. Sure, we've had more food choices at other theme nights but add the exotic atmosphere of this place along with the warm, gentle Balinese people and this one's a home run.
An authentic Balinese village on the property (Pasar Senggol) hosts this evening party once a week. There are numerous food stations scattered throughout the complex. One might be serving skewered shrimp, another one sate, another one featuring Balinese fried chicken, etc. Beer, wine and drinks are included in this feast and the evening ends with an enchanting performance of Balinese music featuring young dancers and a gamelan band. This music is so different and exotic it will stick in your head forever.
Before you eat you'll be tempted by various village crafts on sale by local Balinese people. I got a beautiful mother of pearl covered fish and it sits on our fire place mantel right now. And unlike many craft sales, there is no high pressure to buy. Locals just remain with their merchandise and smile as you pass by. Mild bargaining is welcomed but please don't insult these sweet people!
The big party isn't cheap. It's quite expensive (as I recall it was $75 U.S. each) but it was a complete evening, included absolutely everything and was nothing short of wonderful. We'll always remember it and we highly recommend it to you.
Above and beyond the theme night at the Hyatt, the property has five different restaurants and they are all incredibly good. The Balinese eatery located in the village serves some of the neatest sate in the world. It is brought to your table in a clay pot with live charcoal keeping your sate nice and hot.
I'm not sure if he's still there now but during our visit the master chef at the Hyatt was Heinz Von Holzen and he is a co-author of one of the few Balinese cookbooks The Food Of Bali. It is published by Periplus World Cookbooks and can be ordered through any major bookseller. It's a fabulous book with beautiful illustrations. Even if you can't make it to Bali in person, there's no reason that you can't have some fun sampling authentic Balinese recipes at home!
The Grand Hyatt Bali web site is here.
A word about the situation in Bali. Even when other parts of Indonesia are erupting with violence for various reasons, Bali has usually been a safe vacation destination. That, of course, changed in the fall of 2002 when a night spot was bombed killing many.
The three main tourist resort spots in Bali are Kuta (where the bombing occured), Sanur, and Nusa Dua. Nusa Dua is where the Hyatt is located. It's pretty much a resort unto itself with several five star properties and it's several miles from Kuta. In fact, it's so removed from mainstream Bali that many travel books pan it saying you don't really get the real Balinese experience if you sequester yourself there. That may be true but if you want a great resort vacation and added security, it's a good place to headquarter. And besides, you can always take in the rest of Bali on day trips as we did, and really get the true feel of the Island of the Gods.
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