My Bali Belly…

It’s no secret that I never had any desire to travel to Bali.

When I was growing up, Bali was the place for partying young Aussies to have a cheap beach and beer holiday in the sun. It held no appeal.

But, I can say, after two weeks here, I am a convert.

We travelled here for a family holiday to celebrate Domenic’s 60th and immersed ourself in the luxurious resorts of Nusa Dua, experienced Balinese cultural highlights in Ubud and completely relaxed in the chill vibe of Jimbaran Bay.

Bali to me is warmth – from the climate and the spiced cuisine, to the sweet smiles of the beautiful Balinese people. It is the aroma of smoke and spice as my meal is being cooked, the lushness of tropical gardens dotted with frangipani trees that flutter their flowers into the pool of my villa so I can pick one to put in my hair. It is a friendly welcome, impeccable service, surprisingly good food and refreshing tropical cocktails over sunset at the beach.

Most of all, it is relaxation, after what was a very full year for us and, now that I have experienced its magic, I am sure I too, will be looking out for the next hot travel deal that will get me back here for that total holiday feeling, in just a handful of hours, as soon as I can.

Here are some of my favourite food experiences for the best sort of ‘Bali Belly’!


The first taste of Bali was arriving at our gorgeous Kayumanis private villa, complete with 3 master suites and pool, just a short walk to Nusa Dua beach and all the resorts and restaurants that line the shore in this gated area. It has definite Hawaii vibes that cater for the holidaymaker, and it is clean, family-friendly and well-serviced.

I can recommend the Prawn Salad, Balinese Bebek (crispy duck) and short ribs at Tetaring and Lobster Laksa at Ikan Restaurant and Bar.

You can travel outside the gates for a more earthy Balinese experience, which is what I love to do, with famous Babi Guling (suckling pig) at Wahrung Babi Guling Sari Dewi, or the Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken) and Ikan Bakar (Grilled Fish) cooked in front of you over hot coals, at Ikan Bakar Vichi for $2.50 AUD per plate! A whole fresh coconut juice, lime squash or Bintang beer will provide that much needed refreshment.

Head Chef Denny from Kayumanis worked with me to create a magnificent dinner on the beach to celebrate Dom’s 60th, complete with a curtained tent, beach candles, flowers and amazing service from the Kayumanis team. It was a magic night we will never forget.

We also had pre-dinner cocktails and tapas at the stunning Sky Bar at the impressive Mulia resort.

Early morning rising means you can experience sunrise on the beach, easy Summertime walks, a beachside massage and a leisurely Balinese breakfast before the heat of the day lures you in for a cooling swim.

Swim, eat, sleep, repeat…

We also took a market tour and cooking class with Chef Denny from the Kayumanis group which was a fun introduction to Balinese food, and created an amazing feast to share.

We swung into Seminyak for half a day to check out this busy, touristy town, bursting with bars, market stalls and cheap eats.

A friend recommended Waroeng Bernadette for their famous Rendang dish which really did live up to expectations.

For that quintessential Bali beach club vibe with cocktails and casual eats in your beachwear from dawn to dusk, you can’t beat Ku De Ta.


Drive north 40km to the uplands – it will take 1 1/2 – 2 hours due to traffic and winding roads – where Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali invites exploration.

The lush tropical jungle climate is ideal for the cultivation of rice fields, exotic fruits and coffee plantations.

The undulating rice terraces are a sight to see, and the Kumulilir coffee centre, set up to give a taste into traditional coffee production, is worthwhile. Here you can taste the famous Luwak coffee – produced from coffee cherries that have been partially digested by the civek – a native possum like animal (they call it Cat Poo Coffee – and it tastes bright and fruity to me – quite liked it!). The waterfalls are also nearby for a refreshing visit.

But you can’t visit Ubud without a bit of monkeying around at the famous sacred  Monkey Forest. Follow the rules and you will have a memorable interaction with these cheeky, sociable creatures in their natural habitat.

The boutique hotels and elevated dining options in Ubud make it a go to for food lovers and you can definitely feel the influence of highly skilled Aussie chefs in the modern Asian fusion cuisine that is evolving here.

We stayed at Como Uma Ubud where a la carte breakfast by the pond was as good as any brunch in Melbourne. The house Italian restaurant, Uma Cucina, turns out pretty good antipasto, pastas and pizzas for those looking for a break from Indonesian food.

Honey and Smoke combines Indonesian, Asian, Latin American and Euro flavours with a modern presentation in surprising, flavourful dishes under the hand of Aussie chef, Will Meyrick. Loved the Smoked Tomato Eggplant Dip and the good value Feed Me menu – it featured scallops, zucchini flowers, house made charcuterie, whole snapper with harissa, and spiced lamb kebabs, although sharing one small dessert between two left us wanting a little more sweet (which was fixed with a cone from Gelato Secrets – they’re everywhere!)

At Hujan Locale, also guided by Will, the Asian fusion continues with big flavours suitable for lazy grazing. The Tuna Betel Leaf and Slipper Lobster Dumplings were delightful bites to start with, and we opted for the Charred Octopus curry with Charred Romaine and the Jagung Bakar – charred corn dish.

The locals pointed us to Warangal Pulau Kelapa for freshly cooked, reasonably priced Indonesian food prepared from an organic garden. It was the best saté so far.

The most fun food experience though, was dining on crispy Balinese duck in an over-water hut, in a pond of hungry koi fish at Tebasari, around half an hour south of Ubud – a good stop on the way back South.


Originally a small fishing village supported by a local market, Jimbaran now boasts many 5 star resorts and accompanying restaurants, but its charm lies in choosing a beachside table at one of the seafood cafes on the beach to watch the magnificent sunset while your seafood is being grilled over coals for you. We had crab, calamari and prawns at the renown Menega Cafe.

For a more dramatic setting, the exclusive Rock Bar at Ayana Estate is Bali’s most glamorous spot to watch the sunset, perched on a clifftop as the waves crash on the rocks below. They even have a cliffside cable car to transport you to the bar area at the base of the hotel. The prime spots are reserved for hotel guests, but we booked a post-sunset dinner table and ended up with a day bed spot to watch the sun go down. It’s a ‘bar snacks-to-doof doof dj music-while sipping cocktails’ sort of vibe. They even offer you umbrellas as a shield from the searing sun.

Kayumanis Jimbaran also offers a magnificent environment to just ‘be’ in your private pool villa with excellent room service and an in-house spa. 

The Kayumanis Resto signature dish – Bebek Panggang Mekudus – celebrates Bali’s Hindu heritage with a celebratory dish of traditionally grilled duck marinated in Balinese spices, theatrically brought to the table on a smoking clay charcoal grill with various accompaniments. 

It’s just a 5 minute walk to the beach, seafood cafes and, at night, you can stroll to the nightime street food stalls for saté and charcooked meats – if you are game – which I always am!

The Puri Belmond resort that sits on the beachfront is also a good spot for dining with a view of the ocean. In the middle of the year the sun sets on the horizon right in front of it.

So a stay in Bali, short or long, will leave you feeling relaxed, full-bellied and, just like me, planning the next one!

P.S> Just make sure you pop a Travelan before each meal to avoid the other, not-so-desireable type of Bali Belly

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Melissa Matheson
Melissa Matheson
20:44 14 Sep 22
We organised a virtual cook-a-long for our team with Naomi which was absolutely fantastic. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the session, Naomi is very engaging and has an absolute zest for inspiring others to find their finesse is the kitchen.
Cate Tibbertsma
Cate Tibbertsma
14:07 10 Sep 21
I enjoy Naomi's online cooking classes immensely. The classes are well-organised with all relevant information sent in advance so that the cook-along runs smoothly. Naomi is an engaging teacher and generously shares her knowledge and skill with the class; her recipes are easy to master and . many of them have become family favourites in my home.
Lisa Anderson
Lisa Anderson
02:23 06 Sep 21
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few hours cooking with Naomi and some friends (virtually) last Sunday. What a delightful way to spend a few hours pulling together a delicious meal. Naomi made the whole experience so easy from booking, organising ingredients right through to putting the meal on the table. I loved hearing about her experiences of both the food we were cooking (Moroccan chicken) but also the places she had been. Oh and my family- being the beneficiary of a new take on Sunday night dinner were happy too. I would highly recommend this experience.
Sharon Thomson
Sharon Thomson
03:34 05 Sep 21
Naomi’s Cook-Along sessions are always fun and extremely informative. Ask Naomi anything about ingredients, food and wine and she will impart a world of wisdom. Not to mention the dish made in just an hour - so delicious and such a breeze online in the session. Thanks Naomi 😊
Carol Benson
Carol Benson
04:44 17 Aug 21
Naomi’s cooking classes are such fun plus they are improving my cooking skills. All the meals I have prepared with the classes are so flavoursome and have appealed to all the family (including a fussy teenager). All are on my ‘will make again’ list. I particularly like the extra little tips we get from Naomi – these tips are what helps a good cook become a great cook. Thanks Naomi
Jan Matheson
Jan Matheson
04:05 17 Aug 21
I've completed several of Naomi's Cookalong sessions and always learn new tips. The sessions are fun and we accomplish a delicious meal in 1 1/2 hours. Looking forward to more sessions.
Lorraine Aspinall
Lorraine Aspinall
09:13 13 Aug 21
“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” Naomi brings joy to the art of cooking and sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience. Looking forward to joining more cook along sessions. Thank you Naomi!
Andrea Wood
Andrea Wood
00:04 12 Aug 21
Hats off to Naomi, she has absolutely mastered the presentation of her easy and delicious recipes in her classes on zoom.This was our first zoom class and we were really impressed. Naomi gave an immersive experience, enthusiastically sharing her knowledge and tips along the way and at the end of the class, we had a finished impressive meal, ready to sit down and enjoy.Naomi’s classes are a fab way to prepare your evening meal in a social environment and all while increasing your confidence and prowess in the kitchen. Now that’s an absolute win in our book.Thank you Naomi. You’ll be seeing us again in your Zoom kitchen. :)
River P
River P
11:45 27 Oct 20
Who would have thought Thursday nights would become a highlight of the week! These cooking classes are great fun and set an easy pace. You start at 6pm, relax with a wine with a great group while things bubble away, and you'll have a fab dinner on the table by 7pm - and it really will look amazing as Naomi also shows how to present things beautifully. I thought I'd have to do a lot of prep before the classes as I'm a slow cook, but it's not the case. You really do cook along easily in the hour and can ask for tips and questions all along the way. I've loved learning everything from restaurant style duck to Persian rice pilaf. I also highly recommend the leisurely Sunday slow cooks - you'll have a beautiful Sunday lunch and pro tips for leftovers. Think slow roast Greek lamb, then souvlaki with the leftovers and you know you'll be happy!
Luke Todd
Luke Todd
02:28 26 Oct 20
Naomi's online cooking classes are so fun and the food is delicious. Can't recommend highly enough. Book yourself in for a class, you'll be glad you did!
Sharon Tein
Sharon Tein
02:51 11 Sep 20
Great fun classes full of tasty food and all within an hour! Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Loredana De Simone-Rybka
Loredana De Simone-Rybka
08:53 20 Jul 20
Highly recommend doing Naomi’s online cook along, it was such a great experience. Loved learning new recipes and learning new cooking tips along the way. Enjoyed making a few meals together with a great group of people and the food was absolutely delicious. Look forward to doing more classes. Thank you for creating this wonderful experience bringing foodies together sharing knowledge in cooking good simple, wholesome and delicious food. It was so much fun.
Aliki Zouliou
Aliki Zouliou
10:13 26 Jun 20
Cooking can sometimes be a chore for me but Naomi's cook-along classes have been so much fun! With her guidance I was able to whip up delightful meals that I normally wouldn’t have attempted, ready right in time for dinner – AND enjoyed by all the family!I found it was easy to multi-task when listening to voice instructions during the classes and being able to glance over at the screen at any time allowed me to visually check that I was on track. It was also reassuring having Naomi there ‘live’ in my kitchen to answer any questions along the way.Looking forward to the next Thursday night cook-along!!!
Patricia Colaci
Patricia Colaci
08:35 26 Jun 20
Thanks Naomi for another great, fun Cook-Along session last night. We always look forward to our Thursday night Foodcentric Cook-Alongs. The Moroccan Lamb Tagine was absolutely scrumptious and even had leftovers for today 😋 Looking forward to next week session - Surprise Mozzarella Meatballs & Brie & Garlic Bread. 😊
Julie Hughes
Julie Hughes
00:00 24 Jun 20
Best $20 ever invested in myself. This was my first on line zoom class, I was not sure what to expect. I found myself completely immersed in the experience. Fantastic collegiate experience, lovely to meet others over zoom and such fun!. Really helpful to be cooking with an expert. I learnt simple ways of tweaking dishes, so helpful! The class was structured and very easy to follow and to be honest it made cooking this family meal effortless. I was sad when the hour was up but very proud of what I created. I am a convert now! Naomi was very generous and thoughtful in the way she provided a shopping list before hand and the menu. Perfect for people who love to cook, want to learn more skills. For those who can't get out this online format provides some great social engagement and something to look forward to. Just do it!
Ursula Czubala
Ursula Czubala
23:36 23 Jun 20
Cooking classes with Naomi are fun, relaxed and educational! My favourite part of these classes, is I'm cooking from my own kitchen (don't go anywhere!), and I get to eat dinner with my family straight after the 1 hour session is done at 7pm. They're affordable and something to look forward to each week. Thanks Naomi!
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