[SG] Babi Goeling | Balinese roast pork at Jalan Besar

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

While most would choose to visit one of those hipster cafes that have popped up all over the area, we were looking for something different for a change.

Spotting it from across the street with 2 red lanterns, it didn’t seem anything like an eating place, more like a temple or a place for rituals. It was only when we saw a review stuck outside on their roast pork that we decided to give it a shot. Stepping in, it was rather creepy with the music they played, the video which seemed like some documentary feature and greeted by an altar right at the doorstep.

Recreating the culture of Bali and the more rustic feel, there were many photos pasted all over, and a few of it were actually photos of ones of the princes in Bali, as one of the owner’s wife was actually a descendant of the royal family!

With its chef and owners from Bali, the place is designed to bring you a taste of authentic Balinese cuisine, with their roast pork as specialty. Though with good food requires much patience, it takes many hours of preparation for the pork hence they only open from 5 to 10pm each day (except Monday).

All-in set ($8.80)
Balinese roast pork with rice, soup, sayer urab (vegetable toppings), 1 pork satay and 2 pork sausages

This was recommended right upon we went in, good for first-timers who want a taste of everything. The roast pork lived up to our expectations indeed, tender and well-marinated to give a savoury touch, complete with a thin layer of fats for that smoothness. The roast pork skin and fried pork skin, however, were too hard for our liking. While I was expecting a crisp crunch to it, it was stiff and hard to chew, with a slight stickiness to it probably with the collagen from the skin. 

The satay and minced pork on stick was also too hard for us, with the minced pork having a strong pork-y taste to it. I would have preferred it to be more tender, and the minced pork could have been rinsed in hot water first to get rid of the pork-y taste that might not sit well with many. The dark pieces of sliced sausages went well with the waxed texture and the beans were surprisingly good to add a crunch to the dish. I loved the subtle fragrance of the rice possibly coming from the banana leaf underneath, that wasn't overpowering like nasi lemak, allowing you to appreciate each item better! The set also came with a bowl of broth, however we found it a bit salty and weird, and the soup was not hot enough.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Black rice pudding ($3.50)
Signature dessert from Bali

We thought this would be another one of those usual pulut hitam, but were pleasantly surprised when we tried a few mouthfuls and uncovered different flavours within! Served chilled, the first mouthful was the usual, with seemingly loads of coconut milk but just slightly sweet. Digging in further, there was then a sweeter side to it, having gula melaka in it to complement the coconut fragrance. Then just as you were feeling jelat or too full in our case, the middle portion had ginger taste to it, to add that refreshing touch. Unlike those typical pulut hitam, we loved how the grains were not cooked till the paste form, and it was more of individual grains. Cooked just right in our opinion, we find this a satisfying one with varying flavours and the right texture to go!  
Verdict: 8.5/10

Kopi Bali ($1.50)
Traditional coffee from Bali

This smells heavenly with a robust coffee aroma but we were greatly disappointed as it lacked the coffee taste and was overly sweet even for someone with a sweet tooth like me! Probably not something that I'll return for!  

Verdict: 5.0/10

We loved the hospitality and how the dishes were very value-for-money. Recommending a friend to try out this place too, he's also praised the Goreng Pisang they served, and it's on my to-try list the next time I visit! 

Now on my trip to Bali next time, I’ll be sure to try out this dish to see if standards can actually match up!

Overall Verdict: 7.0/10

Babi Goeling Balinese Roast Pork
279 Jalan Besar
Tel: +65 62975509

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