This prickly looking green fruit tastes like a Capri Sun! Yep, the fruity packaged drink from your childhood actually took its inspiration from this Southeast Asian favorite. Except Sirsak is a vitamin C powerhouse with a LOT less sugar, that is said to even cure cancer! It is rich in antioxidants and fiber. Even its leaves are used for medical purposes. The fruit has a velvety texture when ripe, and it makes a delicious juice. This is the most common way you will find it prepared and on menus in Bali, and we recommend it as a delicious mid-morning or afternoon snack.
Jackfruit (Nangka) - young and ripe
Jackfruit is a massive fruit that grows on trees all over the island. They are pretty big and easy to spot, you’ll see jackfruit hanging on trees on the side of the road and in Balinese housing compounds. Young jackfruit is used in Bali as a meat replacement in vegetarian dishes, stews, curries, and commonly found in Nasi Campur - meaning mixed rice. When cooked, jackfruit has an incredible meaty texture, with a mild flavor, so a firm favorite for veggies and vegans. It is especially rich in Vitamin A, C, and fiber. It is said to help lower blood pressure as it is high in potassium.
When ripe, it is a bright yellow bulb with a big seed inside. It is called the “bubblegum” fruit, and the catchphrase does not lie! It’s a delicious, hearty bit of strawberry, banana, orange, bubble-gummy deliciousness. The fruits often drop on the ground and serve as food for chickens and dogs. You'll know you have come across a few if you smell something slightly sour (rotting jackfruit) coming from a large, ugly spiked mass on the ground. Don’t let this deter you…it is actually delicious.
You have probably tried papaya elsewhere, but it bears mentioning to make sure you have tried Bali papaya. It is unlike any other, naturally sweet and delicious, rich in Vitamin C to boost your immune system, and a great natural medicine for delicate stomachs suffering from travel and atmospheric changes. It is loaded with antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, Vitamin A, C and E, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium and several B-vitamins. Also Papaya seeds have significant healing effects. They, for example, help to improve digestion and fight parasites.
Dragon Fruit (Buah Naga)
Known as pitaya in many places, Dragon fruit in Bali is bright PINK. It is a delicious, fibrous snack. It looks like well… a dragon, as the outside looks like bright pink feathers or spikes. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which makes it a great food to prevent inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Other than that, it contains magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, calcium, and copper, all required to maintain good health. A favorite snack for many locals is to simply slice the dragon fruit it in half, take a spoon, and dig in! It also pairs as a natural lip stain and is amazing as a smoothie bowl.
Beware of the Noni. While it touts incredible health benefits, it tastes like a mixture of dirty socks and parmesan cheese. Several of the local juice warungs can make you a noni juice blended with young coconut water, and will cheer you on as you take on the challenge of drinking it.
It is said to be one of the most potent anti-aging, anti-cancerous fruit on the planet! It has a very distinct smell - similar to the taste - and looks a bit like an alien... In fact many locals in Bali don’t care for it, and you may spot (or smell) it laying on the ground if you’re trekking through more overgrown areas. Try it if you’re brave enough and you can be the true judge of the noni fruit!
Guava is a great fruit to calm your tummy and support digestion. In Bali it can be found with white or rose/pink inside and depending on the ripeness, it can have a fresh sour or juicy sweet taste. The seeds of the fruit are edible, so is the peel. It is full of Vitamin C and an excellent source to boost your immune system. It is rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which are great for your skin. Due to its high amount of water, it is a great fruit to extra hydrate yourself.
Similar to papaya, while you have probably had Mango elsewhere, you haven’t truly had Mango until you’ve had it in Bali! If you’re a real fruit lover, be sure and go to Bali during the mango season (December - May). They are so fresh and organic that you can taste the differences in the soils they’re grown in, depending on where you are on the island. It is an immune-boosting fruit that promotes healthy guts, and helps to prevent many diseases as it contains significant amounts of Vitamin C, A, B-6, K, copper, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. Mango is a healthy dessert, great for your skin, and beneficial for your overall health.
Jamu is a traditional Balinese medicinal drink made up of freshly juiced turmeric root, lemon or lime, young coconut water, and if requested, honey. It is an incredible anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial tonic (people will often drink Jamu instead of taking antibiotic medication). Its smoky flavor does take some getting used to, but when you notice how amazing it makes you feel, you’ll find yourself wandering into local cafes in search of the bright orange glass jamu bottles!
Snake Fruit (Salak)
Snake fruit is a small, pod-like fruit that is covered in brown scaly looking skin that looks like, well, a snake. Inside are little cloves that resemble garlic and have a delicious, tart sweetness to them. They taste like a mix of pear and apple and are rich in dietary fiber, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, as well as antioxidants. A very filling fruit that is an excellent remedy if you’re having a loose ‘Bali belly’ moment!
Passionfruit is a little round fruit that is smooth on the outside, but when you break it open with your fingers, you will find loads of small little jelly covered seeds. It is a fruit that you slurp out. It has a tangy flavor that becomes incredibly addictive! It is high in Vitamin C, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-carotene that boosts the immune system. It is also a source of iron, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B3.
Green papaya leaf juice (Jus Daun Papaya)
If you, unfortunately, find yourself hit with dengue fever, which can happen in Bali, find a local juice shop and ask for a green papaya leaf shot. It is a bit of a choke back to take, but it’ll get you feeling better in no time! The closest ‘cure’ to revitalize your body if you are wiped out with dengue fever is to pump you full of vitamins. It also helps if you suffer from menstrual cramps or Bali belly.
There are so many incredible healing herbs and teas available in Bali. Make sure to have a cup of fresh lemongrass and ginger tea from a local warung with your meal and enjoy the flavor burst! Foods are often massaged and spiced with herbs and roots that not only taste amazing but are incredibly healing for your body.
Moringa leaf is becoming more popular around the world as a next-level superfood, but you’ll find it growing on the side of the street in Bali! It is often made into teas, juices, and used in salads and Nasi Campur dishes. It is a semi-sweet leaf and a complete protein, packed with calcium, iron, and the essential vitamins. Moringa is a great detox support superfood.
Coconut sugar (Gula Kelapa)
Coconuts aren’t just great for drinking. They are great for sweetening as well! Coconut sugar is an incredible refined sugar replacement used in many places in Bali. It has a maple-like taste and is much easier to digest. It can be found in most restaurants to add to your tea and coffee, just ask!
Coconuts (Kelapa Muda)
They are everywhere. Young green coconuts are one of nature’s greatest gifts. Young coconut water can be used as blood plasma replacement and it is one of the most hydrating liquids for your body. They are great post yoga class, when you’re on the beach in the hot sun all day, after trekking through the jungles, or just because!
In addition to being able to replace blood plasma, coconuts are incredibly soothing for the body and carry loads of magnesium (essential for when in the tropics!), B vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and all of the vital nutrients our bodies get depleted of when sweating. Try drinking one a day while in Bali and see how you feel!
The raw cacao fruit can be found at local produce markets, and you can also find delicious raw chocolates in shops and cafes around Bali. They are bliss and often made with coconut sugar, so they are a guilt-free and natural dessert! Cacao is a great source of magnesium, iron, and incredibly high in antioxidants. It also supports your body in producing feel-good chemicals like serotonin! Not that you need any extra help feeling good while in an island paradise, but hey, why not feel extra good? Be sure and stock up while you’re in town!
Tamarind (Asam Jawa)
You’ll often find tamarind in tea & spices in Bali, and it has a tangy, sweet flavor that makes a great base for sauces and adds a unique flavor into drinks and dishes. It has long been used medicinally to treat upset stomachs and fevers, and you may occasionally find it in your Jamu!
Mangosteens are somewhat of a cult favorite in Bali and considered the food of the Gods. The little jelly cloves inside the purple shell taste like a lychee fruit with a bit of a kick at the end. You will find these little fruits in most markets in Bali and in many vendor carts lining the more urban streets. Mangosteen is believed to be a powerful cancer healer. It fights inflammation in the body and regulates blood pressure. Its high amount of Vitamin C makes this fruit another great immune system booster.
Oranges in Bali usually have a leathery green peel. They have a sour-fruity refreshing taste and are full of vitamins boosting your immune system. Oranges are high in soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and aids digestion. They may help to fight cancer and strengthen your heart health. Just order a Jeruk or Es Jeruk at your local warung, and you will get a nice freshly squeezed orange juice, either warm or on ice.
Lime (Jeruk Nipis)
Limes are a great source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. They can be found all over Bali at local markets and in supermarkets. Their high amounts of Vitamin C, A, B, and D make them an amazing booster for your immune system. Just add some lime to your glass of water for extra health benefits as it provides you with antioxidants, hydrates and rejuvenates your skin, and improves digestion. Just as the Es Jeruk, you can order an Es Jeruk Nipis or just Jeruk Nipis at almost every warung throughout Bali and enjoy it hot or cold.
These red distinct looking fruits can be picked up at any supermarket or street vendor in Bali. Once you master the skill of getting to the delicious lychee like fruit, you are rewarded with a snack high in fiber and iron.
Pomelo (Jeruk Bali)
Pomelo has a mild sweet and tangy taste and is one of the biggest citrus fruit in South East Asia. It has many health benefits as it is rich in Vitamin C, B6, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants. It boosts your immune system and can help to prevent and fight fevers, colds, cancer, ranging from immune-boosting to cancer prevention. It is great for weight loss and hair care.
Durian is called the King of Fruit in South East Asia. It is a large fruit with a green yellowish prickly outside and smooth custard-like sweet inside. You will certainly know when you see a Durian because of its typical smell. It is said there are only two kinds of people: either they like or they hate Durian. It is a great source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper and antioxidants and therefore supportive for your health by improving digestion, blood pressure, insomnia, cancer, bone health, sexual dysfunction, and anemia. You often find it sold on the sides of the roads here in Bali.
Sweet Potato (Ubi)
In Bali, you can mostly find the sweet potato with a purple peel and a light yellow inside. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are usually cooked as a curry or as Kolak, an Indonesian dessert made of coconut milk, sweet potatoes, and sugar.
Green beans (Kacang Buncis)
Green beans are typical in Balinese cuisine. You find them as part of Nasi Campur (mixed rice), in salads or as curries, mostly mixed with spices, soy sauce or lime, and coconut. Green beans are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin K, A and C, and folate. Thus, eating green beans can help to fight cancer, depression, support bone health, and strengthen the immune system.
Balinese love cabbage. It is part of each Cap Cay, Nasi Goreng, Gado Gado and many Nasi Campur dishes. As cabbage is high in Vitamin K, B6, and folate, as well as fiber and powerful antioxidants, it is a veggie for your overall health, especially to strengthen your immune system, aid digestion. It may help to reduce inflammation in your body.
Another main ingredient of a typical Nasi Campur, Nasi Goreng, or Mi Goreng dish is carrot. Carrots are high in beta-carotene, potassium, fiber, vitamin K and antioxidants, which make them the perfect healthy add on for your meal. Carrots may help to improve your eye health, lower cholesterol levels, boost your immune system, strengthen your hair, and are great to treat your skin.
Indonesia is one of the largest Cassava or Yucca producers in the world, and this nourishing root is prepared in countless different ways. Even its leaves are used as a side dish. It is gluten-free and rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and saponin. It is said to help with preventing Alzheimer's disease, lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation. It promotes the building and development of bone mass and collagen. In Bali you often find the leaves cooked as a curry in coconut milk and cassava itself fried or cooked.
Balinese eat potatoes as a side dish, as part of Nasi Campur or in a curry. They are usually mixed with local spices and come fried or cooked. Potatoes are amazing for your health benefits, as they are rich in fiber, Vitamin C, B6, and potassium. They are great to calm the stomach, diminish inflammation and are said to relieve stress due to their vitamin B6 amounts. High amounts of copper and iron improve brain function. They may help to fight cancer and other diseases, too.
Bali certainly has a great variety of local superfoods at hand. Most of them you can get at quite low prices, as long as you buy seasonally. If markets are closed these days, try to check local online communities about delivery services, which can provide you with the best fruits and vegetables available at the moment.