Now that we have this gorgeous Bali, Indonesia house, even if fraught with problems, we started talking about a housewarming. We had enough room, the gorgeous view. We even had friends to invite. Eric came up with the idea around New Years of hosting a Balinese inspired party – with babi guling and Bintang beer.
Being a Hindu island surrounded by Muslim islands, the Balinese tend to embrace their love of pork. Babi Guling is a roasted pig, with crispy skin, stuffed with Balinese seasonings. It is possible to find local babi guling stands, and there is the famous Ibu Oka in Ubud. Babi guling in Bali is one of the main specialties of the island! The pork is served with some rice, slices of skin, perhaps some vegetables, often mixed with pork, a sausage or two, and other pork-related delectables. For a special occasion, like a wedding or important Balinese ceremony, an entire babi guling can be ordered and delivered to your house. Of course, this was what Eric wanted to do.
So, about a week before the big day, we had a consultation with “the babi guling guy.” He came to our house to talk about how many people we had coming and what services he provided. On the day of, at the perfectly appointed time, the babi guling guy showed up with a warm and toasty roasted pig about 20 kilograms, fully in tact, from snout to tail. He was glowing a gorgeous red color, and smelled so fantastic. Eric was in hog heaven, literally.
Shortly after delivery, Eric sliced off the skin, to keep it crisp. Our newly naked pig sat there on the kitchen counter, cooling, and still smelling oh so tasty. Occasionally, one of use would walk by and pick a gorgeous piece of pork off. What am I talking about occasionally? For the first hour, conversation seemed to occur only near the babi, so that we could pick.
Ordering an entire pig is a commitment. You need to ensure enough people arrive to eat the pig. And, we were living in a new town, overseas, for the first time. In the end, we were amazed to come up with almost 50 people to invite to our party. Eric actually told me to stop inviting people. In this town, you never know if 5 or 50 people will show up to anything.
In the end, about 20 showed up, and we made good progress on the pig. Needless to say, none of our vegetarian friends came over. Regardless, it was a good mix of people, including yogis, non-yogis, bule, non-bule. I think a good time was had by all. The weather did not really hold up for swimming, but we did get a decent sunset, with Eric’s 7 hour iTunes playlist in the background.
Pork Party in a Vegetarian Vortex
Just around the time where we peaked with the number of people at the house, some gathered around the kitchen table and others around the lounge chairs, pool side, a fire broke out. I mean, I know we have our daily problems with this house, but come on, a fire during a babi guling party? It was like the Ubudian vegetarian gods were striking back.
It was in a garden light on the far corner of the property, and it was small, but started to grow. Eric ran outside to turn the garden lights off, and everyone seemed to be running around wondering what to do. People were yelling about using the pool water to douse the fire. After, I learned we should not add water to an electrical fire, but at the time it seemed a good idea. The largest bucket we had was being used for beer and ice, the second largest for rice for the babi. I could not think of anything else that was large enough.
Next think you know, I grabbed the world’s largest plastic tupperware style bin, just at the same time as Emerald grabbed our large stew pot. The most genius was Aryo, who grabbed the inside of the small kitchen garbage can. Immediately, in a way that could not have been timed better, all three of us ran outside, through different doors, and ended up in the same place, poised to save the day, with a dousing of pool water onto the fire. Only to find, the fire was out. Our efforts were for naught. If it was, in fact, the vegetarian gods, they allowed us to go back for round two on the babi.
The Day After Pork
The day after the party, the fun continued. Of course we had the typical post party clean up. Then, Eric busted up the rest of the pig and made a killer babi guling soup. We ate soup for days, and still had some bits and bobs to place in the freezer for another soup in the future. In fact, we kind of have an entire pig in tupperware in the freezer.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.