Bali: Ayam Betutu Pak Sanur

Bali: Ayam Betutu Pak Sanur

It’s not just all about Be Guling (Balinese suckling pig) in Bali; there’s also Betutu to satiate your appetite on the Island of the Gods. With the option of either chicken or duck meat, there’s only one place to enjoy a Betutu dish if you ever find yourself in Ubud: Ayam Betutu Pak Sanur.

Popular among both locals and tourists, its Ayam Betutu sells like hotcakes day in, day out. Unlike the fancy joints that litter the area, the food here are not prepared by a professional chef; instead, they are made by the husband-and-wife duo Pak Wayan Sutama and Ibu Ketut Chandra.

Once pursued a career as a painter, Pak Wayan would frequently travel to Sanur to deliver his paintings. This led to people calling him Pak Sanur, which he later adopted as the moniker to his eatery. The establishment itself was founded in 1987 in the form of a stall within Pasar Ubud.

Unfortunately, the traditional market was razed to the ground by an inferno. Although it was renovated a few years ago, it led to the couple deciding to serve their Ayam Betutu from their kitchen in the comfort of their own home on Jalan Arjuna. Located just a stone’s throw away from the marketplace, news began to spread of their relocation and their loyal patrons started to visit their house.

A portion of its Ayam Betutu consists of a piece of spiced chicken, chicken intestines, and scrambled eggs. They would slow-cook the chicken in spices for 24 hours, resulting in a juicy, tender and flavourful dish. This, along with the tender meat of the chicken and its spicy aftertaste, is why customers keep coming back for more. Although punters have dubbed it “the most authentic Ayam Betutu in Ubud”, Ibu Ketut made it clear to me during our short conversation that they no longer use the traditional way of cooking it. She told me that the original technique requires pelepah (palm fronds) and an oven made from rice paddy chaffs – both of which are difficult to find nowadays. To overcome this obstacle, they had to be creative and find a new way to make it without doing away with the true essence of Ayam Betutu.

To be honest, however, I couldn’t care less about how they cook it; as long as it tastes good, it merits a place in both my heart and tummy. And Ayam Betutu Pak Sanur’s signature dish is very delicious indeed.

Jl. Arjuna, Ubud
Open daily from 7am-3pm
Rp.30,000/US$2.30 per person

Started her career as a food writer in 2012, Jessicha Valentina is the online editor of Good Indonesian Food. Jessicha has loved Sayur Asem since she was a wee kid and spends her free time trying to cook it.


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