Seven dishes you must try in Ubud, Bali: Janet Deneefe, Ubud Food Festival

1. LECHE DE TIGRE CEVICHE, PICA SOUTH AMERICAN KITCHEN

This cosy, pocket-sized restaurant in the middle of town specialises in authentic South American favourites sourced from local ingredients. I love the clear, fresh flavours of its ceviche with its marinade of leche de tigre, that zingy traditional Peruvian mix of lemon, chili and onion. It's perfect with a chilled glass of Chilean wine on a balmy night.

Facebook: PicaSouthAmericanKitchen

2. ACEHNESE SEA BASS CURRY, HUJAN LOCALE

Led by Will Meyrick, Indonesia's street food chef, Hujan Locale plates up loads of exciting dishes from across the archipelago. I'm crazy about Sumatran food and his Acehnese curry of sea bass is to die for. There's that hint of Indian-Arab flavours with curry leaves and cumin, balanced by the refreshing punch of dried chillies, tomato and finger lime all floating in an elegant pool of flavour.

hujanlocale.com

3. BETUTU AYAM, PAK SANUR

Tucked behind Casa Luna Restaurant in a small laneway is the legendary Pak Sanur, who dishes up melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted chicken from about 8am until sold out. Once upon a time, he ran a small warung at the Ubud market, but when the market was renovated he decided to set up shop at home instead. Life has never been the same since! For special ceremonies, we always order his chicken and my children love it. The multi-layered flavours of all the spices, coconut oil and aromatics sums up the essence of Balinese food.

facebook.com/BetutuAyamPakSanur

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4. TEMPE TOSTADA, CASA LUNA RESTAURANT

I'm a tempe addict, and my favourite lunch these days at Casa Luna is the Tempe Tostada. A slab of tempe, Indonesia's soy bean super food, is topped with my kind of salad – loads of fresh avocado, tomato and cucumber mixed with mint and lemon basil. If I want a chilli kick, I add sambal matah. It's my go-to-food when I feel like something light but highly nutritious.

casalunabali.com

5. PORK BELLY BURGER, LOCAVORE-TO-GO

Locavore in Ubud can do no wrong; its restaurant just moved from No.49 to No.22 in the 2017 S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards, earning it the "highest climber" award. For when you can't get a seat in this establishment, you can zip across the road to Locavore-To-Go and wrap your chops around its famous pork belly burger along with a side of Ubud's best fries.

locavore.co.id/togo

6. NASI CAMPUR, MOKSA

For a trip to plant-to-plate heaven, I head to Moksa. This nirvana-like estate is complete with its own sprawling organic garden just 10 minutes from the heart of Ubud. Sit in the open-air pavilions and enjoy both raw and cooked (ever so lightly) vegetarian specials. I love its nasi campur, which is braised in fresh coconut oil and served with organic red rice and seasonal ingredients from the garden.

moksaubud.com

7. KALIO DAGING SAPI, KAUM

At this new restaurant on the premises of Potato Head you can't go past its Kalio Daging Sapi, which is rendang's baby sister of braised meat served in a luscious elegantly-spiced coconut-milk gravy. You can sit back, sip on cocktails, and munch on this tender beef curry while gazing at the huge expanse of ocean and the glam bods below in the pool. And the price won't kill you either. kaum.com

Melbourne-born Janet Deneefe has lived in Bali for more than 30 years. A cookbook author, restaurateur, guesthouse proprietor and owner of the Casa Luna Cooking School, she founded the Ubud Food Festival in 2015 and remains its director. In 2017 it returns with the theme "Every flavour tells a story", May 12-14. ubudfoodfestival.com

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