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The Art of Evicting Evil

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cover story

The Art of Evicting Evil Photo by: Gusmank

One month before the Caka New Year, known as Nyepi, you will see similar activities in almost every Bale Banjar (community house) in Bali, as men and boys gather daily to create gigantic statues resembling evil spirits. Known as ogoh-ogoh, the statues are usually made from bamboo and paper. Its heart-felt work, especially if the ogoh-ogoh they make is registered for one of the competitions regularly held by the city or regency government. 2 let’s eat! culture

A day prior to Nyepi, when twilight arrives, every family starts performing the magegobog ritual, walking around the house with fire torch, broom, and anything else they can find to create loud noises. The aim is to evict any evil spirits. After the ritual is done, people go to their bale banjar to start the ogoh-ogoh Parade. It is mostly men and boys involved in the procession, while the females and children are spectators.

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cover story

I asked my father his most memorable ogohogoh story. He told me he never made any and there was no ogoh-ogoh back then. In the village where he grew up, the villagers paraded around the village carrying burning torches, brooms and beating kulkul, traditional instruments made from bamboo on the evening before Nyepi. I’ve asked several other senior citizens and they came up with the same answer, which is that there was no ogoh-ogoh during their childhood, which was long before the 80’s. So, apparently ogoh-ogoh is not a legacy from our Balinese ancestors. Wondering about how the ritual started, I looked up on the internet and found a blog about the history of ogohogoh. The blog owner, Nyoman Mahardika, claims that he is the man behind the art of ogoh-ogoh, writing that on the evening before Nyepi in 1981, he watched a group of boys creating a scene by carrying a coffin as if escorting a corpse to cemetery. The boys were tagging along with the villagers who were conducting magegobog in Batu Agung Village 4 let’s eat! culture

in Jembrana Regency. The event inspired Mahardika to create a statue with scary looks as a symbol of evil spirit. The statue would be neutralised after it got paraded around the village. His first ogoh-ogoh was made in 1982 together with Ketut Wirata, an artist from Yeh Embang Village in Jembrana Regency. According to him the name ogoh-ogoh derives from the word ogah means shaking, because the group who carry the statue often shake it to make it looks alive. The art of ogoh-ogoh quickly spread all over the island after the ritual was included in the Bali Art Festival in he early 80’s. There is a village that had a bad experience with ogoh-ogoh – Renon, Denpasar, which made an ogoh-ogoh once. As the story goes, the statue came to life and the dancers who were assigned to perform the sacred baris dance in the village’s temple went into trance. Scared to death, they burnt the ogoh-ogoh in the form of wild pig without parading it out. Dewi

balinese street food

Sate Beringin Legian Opposite Legian Village Cemetery, there is a huge old banyan tree in the parking space of Legian Sport Stadium. Under the tree, fragrant smoke continuously appears from 10am to 6pm and people come to savour delicious pork skewers. 25 years ago, Ibu Made started selling skewers under the tree. In those days the area wasn’t anything like today. Her customers were only local residents and those who had ceremonies in the temple. Some say that back then she was selling sea turtle satay, but others say that it has always been pork. When

I ask her she just smiles. Whatever meat is used, Ibu Made’s simple tenet is that she has never lacked customers from the day she started. Originally from Jalan Imam Bonjol, she has lost count of how many skewers she makes per day and I have to say this is one of the most delicious street pork satays I’ve ever tasted. The seasoning is a perfect combination of sweet and hot flavour, and it gets well absorbed by the meat. A portion of satay includes 6 sticks, rice cake, and a simple mix of chilli and salt as condiment. Dewi

Getting There: Jalan Patih Jelantik, Legian (Under the Banyan Tree Opposite Legian Village Cemetery)

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authentic recipe

Jukut Paku Urapb Paku, also widely known as pakis in Indonesia, are vegetables from the forest fern series, often found on a Balinese menu. This wild plant usually grows in the wet jungle or by the river. Jukut Paku Urap is a delicacy that is rich in flavour and has many benefits for health. The taste is fresh and savoury and the crunchy texture of the plant makes a great combination with the soft texture of boiled red beans. This cooked salad can be served together with warm rice.

Ingredients 1kg Paku/Pakis young forest fern 200gr red beans

Seasoning 15 cloves shallots 8 cloves garlic 10 chilli 1tbs shrimp paste a pinch of salt 1 kaffir lime 1/4 coconut

Method Fill a pot with water and heat it into boil, then put the red beans into the pot. When they become soft add the ferns. Boil for about 7 minutes, then drain until no more water is dripping from the ferns and beans. Cut the shallots, garlic and chilli into thin slices, then dry fry all together. Dry fry the shrimp paste. Grill the coconut till fragrant and then grate it. Serve the fern and beans on a plate and pour the seasoning on the top. Mix everything together right before eating. Add a pinch of salt and juice of kaffir lime for unique flavour and fragrance.

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authentic recipe

Sambal Matahb

Courtesy of foodcomas

Sambal is Indonesian condiment famous for its fiery hot taste, which is strongly connected to chilli. Each part of the country has its own authentic sambal, such as sambal ijo from Padang, and sambal dabu dabu from Manado. In Bali it is sambal matah is the famous one and was traditionally found in warungs and restaurant selling Balinese food such as babi guling and ayam betutu. Nowadays, many five stars hotels also offer sambal as part of their local and international cuisine.

Ingredients 10 cloves shallots 5 cloves garlic 5 stalk lemon grass 10 chilli 3 tbsp. fresh coconut oil ½ tsp. shrimp paste 1 kaffir lime

Method Chop the shallots and the garlic. Peel the outer layer of the lemon grass and then chop finely. Cut the chilli into thin slices. Dry fry the shrimp paste Mix everything together, then pour the fresh coconut oil and the juice of kaffir lime.

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street food directory Soto Sapi Bali

Warung Makan Ria This warung sells Soto Sapi – clear beef soup cooked in a very simple way without involving too many varieties of herbs and spices. Radish and a few drops of lemon juice add freshness to the savoury flavour.

Location: Jl. Letda Made Putra No. 77 (behind Tiara Dewata Supermarket)

Warung Bundaran Renon A dining room that turned into a warung and is located in the heart of government office area in Denpasar. The warung sells Bali’s authentic mixed rice and is also very famous for its Babi Guling – suckling pig. Location: Jl. Raya Puputan No. 212, Round about Renon – Denpasar Phone: +62 361 234 208 - 7855 800

Mak Beng

Location: Jalan Tantular No. 11 Denpasar Opposite Bank Indonesia

Warung Rama Located in the heart of Denpasar, the simple restaurant sells siobak - pork served with special gravy, an authentic food of Singaraja in North Bali.

Location: Jl. Letda Made Putra No.56 Denpasar Phone: +62 361 243726

Babi Guling Pak Malen First opening its doors in 1941, this warung just sells one type of meal, a plate of white rice, fried tuna and fresh tuna soup.

Location: Jl. Hang Tuah no.45, Sanur

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This humble warung sells Sate Plecing, an authentic dish from Singaraja Regency, made with a choice of beef, chicken, goat meat or bone marrow.

A warung nestled at one corner of Sunset Road in Seminyak specialising in Babi Guling- suckling pig.

Location: Sunset Road No. 5, Seminyak (opposite Sunset Point), Kedewatan - Gianyar

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