Divine Dining in Indonesia

I remember arriving in Ubud after a lengthy car ride exhausted and starving. My travel companions didn’t mind a quick stop off at McDonalds half way to our destination. But, I’m particularly opposed to eating at fast food restaurants. First of all, I haven’t consumed a burger since I was 9 years old, which was over a decade ago. But, looking past my aversion toward eating animals, I’m weary of mass production chains that seem ever expanding in the Global South. So, in spite of a grumbling tummy I waited to order until arriving at our hotel. Mindful traveling will sometimes create moments of tension where you have to weigh two or more competing desires. If you’re attempting to be conscious about where the products you consume are made and who profits from them… Well, things can get very hairy and sometimes even downright overwhelming. In that moment I was quite hungry, but I try to be thoughtful about what I fill my body with. I’m not trying to sway anyone in the direction of eating fast food or not. That’s a personal decision you’ll have to make for yourself. Life is short and we all likely engage in activities that are shortening it… I even have a friend who’s one of my favorite traveling companions that happens to be hyperglycemic. She doesn’t always have the option to delay a meal or be choosey about what she picks up between long journeys between accommodation. So, I’m completely understanding of those who simply do not wish to (or physically cannot) make their lives more difficult.

For me, it’s nearly always more comfortable to delay consuming anything than to eat readily available food that makes me feel mentally and physically ill immediately. Being a little hungry has never once caused me anything other than inconvenience. Beyond that, I made an amateur mistake and forgot my snacks. If you have dietary restrictions that might cause you to face limited dining options, the first rule is to carry supplies! I usually have some kind of dried fruit, nuts, bars or other simple goodies to help make long distance travel more bearable… But, after a full day at the beach we ended up rushing to Ubud from the other side of the island in the midst of traffic. It had been a hectic departure and one that didn’t leave time for a long meal or even a quick store run. My small discomfort was ultimately rewarded with a scrumptious meal that I enjoyed in bed. The dishes on the menu weren’t particularly catered to vegetarians, vegans, or other people with lifestyles that exclude consuming animal products. However, a quick call to the kitchen produced some of the most spicy and filling cuisine of my entire trip! Photographed above is the meal I had, it’s a made to order vego version of Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng.

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