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DUCK FROM DENPASAR

Tulips from Amsterdam - who hasn't heard of them But who has heard of Duck from Denpasar Sit tight This Omission is about to be rectified.

For the benefit of those as ignorant as myself - time was when Bali was divided into realms ruled by rajahs. Today, there are Still kingdoms in Bali - ruled by mastercraftsmen. Batubulan is famous for its stone sculptures, Mas for woodcarvings, Celuk for silver and Penestanan, so help me - for Smoked Duck Yes, Penestanan, a little village just a few flaps of a heronbird's wing from Hotel Tjampuhan. Wedged in between terraced ricefields and awash with young artists churning out violently Coloured paintings at an alarming rate, it is nevertheless the unchallenged titleholder for the "Best Betutu in Bali".

Nor does Penestanan take this honor lightly. The Eiffel Tower may topple, the waterways of Venice run dry, but the good people of Penestanan still jealously guard the fame of their spiced duck, made by a village priest from a secret receipe, which take 24-hours - give or take a few prayers - to prepare. First, the carcass must be

kneaded and massaged with coconut oil, a multitude of herbs and spices are then added, and finally it is wrapped in palm leaves, buried in the ground and slowly smoked - until the entire body is ready to crumble into a myriad succulent morsels. Such is Penestanan Betutu.

Against this background, picture my consternation when a lady from Denpasar proposed meeting me at the hotel, and bringing with her a smoked duck for our lunch. Not just any old duck, so she assured me, but a special Betutu - prepared, from a secret receipe, by the best cook in Denpasar And, if you think the