I am craving the sun.
There I’ve said it.
To most people that might not sound very unusual. But you need to remember that sun worshipping is not a common activity for most people blessed with year-round sunshine as I have been all my life – having spent more than half of it in Goa and the past eight or so years in Dubai.
In India and the UAE you spend most of your time trying to avoid the sun. Add to that the incredibly rare occurrence of rain in Dubai and it really is no surprise that I have spent most of my holidays over the past few years practically chasing precipitation – rain, snow, fog, anything – wintry weather, comfort food and warm, sweet drinks have featured rather heavily on the holiday agenda.
But in the past few weeks, as an unusually chilly Dubai winter has given way to the first hints of a searing summer, I have found myself wishing more and more for the white hot sunshine of South East Asia.
And to what is irrevocably entwined with thoughts of sunny holidays spent in that colourful, chaotic part of the world – a LOT of food!
Like these gorgeous BBQ pork ribs from Bali…
Is your mouth watering yet? I found this photo while going through my holiday pics a few days ago and I can’t physically stop myself from salivating every time I look at it.
Or this one.
There are plenty of reasons why these ribs – the signature dish of a restaurant called Naughty Nuri’s in Bali –are absolutely legendary.
Let me start with the anticipation – you watch these great hunks of meat get basted and grilled in a smoky pit, the scent of roasted spices wafting over in bursts to your terrace perch every time the wind turns. Don’t wear something you love to this restaurant. One, you are going to want that smoky smell to stick to you as long as possible and two, there is no way to eat those ribs daintily so wear something you won’t mind getting a great big blob of BBQ sauce on.
And speaking of the sauce, it’s unlike anything I’ve tasted before – an aromatic sticky marinade, stuffed with tropical spices that is converted by the grill into the perfect charred and caramelized consistency so that it no longer just coats the meat but becomes a part of it, with just enough dripping through the ribs on to your plate to make you want to lick it.
I did say there was no ladylike way to eat this, right?
Naughty Nuri’s is an institution in Bali, having started of the green hills of Ubud before opening another outpost in Seminyak, in the chic area of Batubelig which is where I encountered it.
The restaurant is incredibly laid-back – don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing a table with a group of strangers – people are there to do one thing, eat! And you can be sure that one sight of that scorching hot BBQ pit will convert you to the communal dining trend (don’t worry, you won’t have to share your plate!)
With piggies protruding from every corner of the restaurant, you are left in no doubt as to what is the star dish on their menu. My friend ordered a tuna steak and although it looked pretty juicy, I can safely say I didn’t feel the need to steal from her plate because my own juicy platter of ribs completely dominated my thoughts for the entire time it survived – which wasn’t really for very long, considering it was probably one of the most tender pieces of meat that’s ever touched my plate.
The restaurant is also famous for its quenching lychee martinis which the waitresses will shake rather vigorously at your table – the staff take putting the naughty into Naughty Nuri's seriously.
Let’s just say if I were to put together a perfect meal to accompany a perfect day in South East Asia – those ribs and lychee martinis would feature pretty high on the list!
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