After a heavy night of drinking in Bali, my more travelled companions insisted that we ended the night with a ritual that they had performed in Bali every time they were here – supper at Laota.
Laota is an institution on Bali Island; Laota was established in 2002, the first outlet is opened in Tuban area, which is very close to Ngurah Rai international airport. What’s amazing about this place is that it is open 24 hours a day throughout the year, offering buzzed tourists like myself a refuge for solid and traditional Cantonese porridge and cuisine.
The open kitchen at the outdoor area showed how the chefs prepare the porridge from scratch in each claypot, so as you wait for your seats in the air-conditioned indoor are, you get to smell the wonderful fragrance of boiling seafood in the porridge, among other ingredients that can be added to the porridge. VIP area is available in second floor for those who have family/business gathering party but reservation a day before is needed.
Ayam Putih Ala Hong Kong | Steamed Chicken In Hong Kong Style | 香港風自鶏蒸し | 香港白切雞
Chickens used for this dish are free-range local chicken, and pack a lot of the chicken goodness that I grew up with, but they can be a bit too lean and skinny to produce any much good eats. But the technique was perfect; there was the skin with was flavourful and the meat was just poached to the right doneness. Topped with deep fried garlic and accompanied by a ginger-scallion-sesame oil dip, it was a great appetiser to the supper.
Tauge Tumis Ikan Asin | Stir-Fried Bean Sprout with Salted Fish | 塩魚とモヤシ炒め | 咸魚炒銀牙
The salted fish was deep fried and had the texture of pork crackling. It was not like the flaky threadfin 馬友魚 that is commonly used in Hong Kong. But it was a dish that would be perfect with the porridge. But it came much earlier than the porridge so we finished this dish by that time.
Kangkung Tumis Terasi | Stir-Fried Water Spinach With Shrimp Paste | 空心菜炒めテラシ風味 | 馬拉盞通心菜
It was not what we expected, the chilli used was fresh chilli and not paste. There’s a strong harjeong taste, but not as fragrance as the Malay version that we grew up with.
Bubur Ayam Sathin | Porridge With Chicken | 鶏のおかゆ | 生滾雞球粥
We added century eggs into the porridge to produce a chicken and pitan porridge. You can customise the porridge any way you want – with fish, crab, eel, prawns, anything they have in the live tanks or in the fridge like beef and offals.
Bubur Pelangi Laota | Porridge With Seven Kinds Of Seafood ｜海鮮おかゆ | 生滾海鮮粥
This was supposed to be what everyone was craving for, but it turned out to be underwhelming. The seafood in the porridge included prawns, squid, fish, cuttlefish, clams, but there were not seven kinds. The porridge was sweeter than the chicken porridge and full of umami.
There are a few more things that you should add with your porridge order without any exception.
- Cakoe | Chinese Cruller | 中華風あげパン | 油條 – these are quintessential item that are eaten with porridge in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. They are deep fried, something to a crips, but they soak up the liquid from the porridge and turned soft and soggy;
- Telur Asin ｜Salted Egg ｜塩茹で卵 ｜咸蛋 – they add a lot of flavours, and most are made with duck eggs which are more intense in flavours;
- Telur Phitan | Thousand Year Old Egg | ピータン| 皮蛋 – although they are called century eggs or thousand year old eggs, actually they are only a couple of months old, and are added to porridge for that alkaline and funky taste.
Ayam Steam Tausi | Steamed Chicken With Fermented | 鶏の豆豉蒸し | 豉汁蒸滑雞
This last item was perfect with the porridge, especially the seafood one, which I find a bit bland. Chicken thigh was cut into smaller pieces and steamed with fermented black beans – very heavy tasting and salty.
The food was simple and delicious. And they were not too expensive. Although they have four branches in Bali, remember only the Tuban outlet is opened 24 hours. You don’t want to be disappointed after being so buzzed.
Warung Laota Hongkong Porridge & Seafood Steam Specialist Tuban Road
Jl. Raya Kuta No.530, Tuban, Kec. Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Tel : +62 (0) 851 0042 9068
Visited Mar 2023
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