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Warung Mak Beng

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Mak Beng has been dishing up steaming fish head soup since the end of the colonial era (est. 1941, to be precise). As a result, it’s a bit of a Sanur institution, revered by locals and sought out by many a foreign backpacker whose dining due diligence led them there. Its location, slap-bang on the route to catch the Lembongan and Penida fast boats, makes it a popular stop-off for those heading to the islands.

 

Beng’s broth comes with bobbing fish heads and slices of steamed cucumber. It’s the kind of meal that makes you noticeably sweat, and it’s loaded with enough turmeric to cure a common cold. Lemongrass and lime juice add a welcome bit of freshness, but the warm soggy cucumber is a bit odd. The deep fried fish is delivered bones ‘n all, and needs a good smothering in Beng’s sambal terasi, (an earthy chili relish made from shrimp paste), for flavor and moisture.

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