Bali: Siobak Khe-Lok

“The boiled pork was so tender. From the first bite of it you could tell that it had been boiled with some herbs to enhance its taste.

Singaraja – that’s located at the north end of the island –once held a big role as old Bali’s main gate for merchants from all over the world, especially from China, to enter the region for trading – which many of them ended up staying there permanently. This city then saw the acculturation of the locals and the incomers shaping up its way of life over centuries, even its foods. One of authentic Singaraja dishes that have been influenced by both Balinese and Chinese culture is Siobak (boiled pork in a brown thick gravy). Originally from China, this delicacy has been adjusted to suit the local’s taste buds – where it manages to be one of the local’s favourites, particularly in north Bali. Among so many eateries that peddle this staple in Singaraja, Siobak Khe-lok is ranked on the top of the must-try list by many.

If you’re in Bali for a short visit, and have no time to travel to Singaraja to sample out this delicacy, you can just head on straight to Siobak Khe-lok’s branches in Denpasar. Having been in the business since 1963, this shop has had two branches over at the capital of Bali. The first branch was opened in 1975 and the other one was in 1995. The latter one was the place where I had my first Siobakexperience not long ago. I did go to its older branch on my first try though. But, unfortunate for me, it was already closed when I reached there around 5.30pm. From its waitress, who was cleaning up the joint when I was there, I found out that it only operated up until 4pm – she then swayed me to go to the other shop instead.

Located over on Gatot Subroto Barat, this branch open until 7 in the evening – a bit later than the first place I went to. I straightaway ordered its famous Siobak right after I settled myself down. My plate of Siobak comprises boiled pork chunks and Kerupuk Kulit Babi (pig’s skin cracker) complete with dark brown, thick gravy as its dressing. You might also request for some pig’s innards to be thrown into the concoction. Its salted gravy was rich in flavour with a tad sweet and spicy trace. The boiled pork was so tender. From the first bite of it you could tell that it had been boiled with some herbs to enhance its taste. As it was about the shop’s closing time, I simply rushed it down and finished the whole meal in no time. Really wish I could’ve come earlier to be able to enjoy this delicacy bit by bit unhurriedly.

Jl. Gatot Subroto Barat
Denpasar, Bali
Open daily from 10.30am-7pm
Rp.40,000/US$2.90 per person

A die-hard fan of authentic Indonesian delights who loves the idea of travelling to the cradle of those enticing local treats. Yet, you might often find this young lad busy with his guitar – be it alone in his room or, sometimes, on stage.


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