Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Legendary Naughty Nuri's a.k.a Warung Nuri

Here's a little market research, go start a convo with any of your Blackberry Messenger friends, I bet they've heard of Naughty Nuri's or Warung Nuri in one or another way. That's how legendary they are. They've always been the talk of the town for tourist who are visiting Bali. If that's not enough, then this is the real deal, they are featured in New York Times. Also Anthony Bourdain once visited Naughty Nuri's and wrote in the guest book "The best martini in the world" (ehm, you mean the best after yours mister? =p)

As for the name, you could've guessed it right on first try. Yep, it was the owner's nickname. Isnuri Suryatmi, an ambitious amateur chef from Java, started this in 1995 with her expat husband Brian Aldinger, and been having a lot of fun until now. 

While NYTimes claimed Sushi as their specialty dish and Bourdain gave full thumbs up for their martini, many knows Warung Nuri for their pork ribs. I, myself, fell in love with their ribs when I tried it for the first time back in May 2008. For the sake of relieving that particular moment, last month I went all the way back to Ubud where it's located and ordered myself one plateful of this. 

This rack of ribs said to be original Balinese pig, and were claimed to be one of the best local produce. This is true, as Balinese people eat a good portion of pork, just as Jakartans eats a good portion of chicken. I believe that when one is popular, people will put more amount of effort to breed, grow, and maintain the quality to continually supply the surmountable demand. Anyway, let's not go into economics.

Halfcooked from the kitchen, I reckon the ribs must have been boiled with spices to remove any smell left and tenderize the meat. It was then dipped on a special barbeque sauce and char-grilled on medium fire.


I bet you do. I am now. How could you not. From every angle in the photo, this ribs could not go wrong.

However, on this trip I failed to relieve the remarkable taste I had three years ago. Took a little note while eating, I wrote: "Good, tender meat. Spicy. Sweet. But feels like any other barbeque sauce for grabs in the supermarket."

Some said my tongue has advanced in a way that my threshold for good food has leveled up over the years. In other words, what used to be good for me is now below my par. (Dalam bahasa Indonesia, ini maksudnya, dulu lidah miskin, apa aja yg pake micin enak, sekarang udah tau nikmatnya dunia, Hahahaha.)

I'd like to believe that it;s true, but then again, there are lots of other foods that I still in love with after years. Soto Bang Mamat, Nasi Kari Babi Aladdin, Kwetiau Bagan Bandengan, to name a few. So that must not be it. To support my hypothesis, I did a little research on Trip Advisor, and the comments on their article in NY Times. There are a lot of praises and there's an amount of negativity about it too. My conclusion, consistency is the issue here. Similar case happen to their newly establish branch in Kelapa Gading, Jakarta. Visited it twice and had different outcomes on both visit. Mixed comments as well among friends who have tried it.

It's sad to know I might not be able to relieve the first-time experience. I still keep my hopes up though. Maybe next time I'll get lucky and the universe will conspire for my tastebuds satisfaction. Until then, let me know what you think.

Oh, and this might be the end of my Bali Culinary series, you can catch the rest of them on these links:
- Vigorous Fish Soup at Mak Beng (Sanur) 
- Flapjaks Pancakes & Crepes (Kuta)
- Kafe Moka (Seminyak)
- Sate Penyu / Sate Celeng (Kuta) 

See you when I see you. Oh, tomorrow is Friday. Have a splendid blissful weekend Biters.

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Snack on my Tweets at @Wanderbites 


  1. The ribs in your pictures looked different than I what I had several while ago. It was tough, dry, and lacking legitimate amount of sauce. I also noted that they use more to Indonesian style seasoning instead of american style BBQ sauce. I actually prefer the latter :P

    Btw in case you're still in Bali, I suggest you to try Massimo or Ultimo or Metis.

  2. @IROCKETBRAM: Again, lack of consistency, that's what happen with Nuri. =(

    Agree with you though, its more Indonesian as it is sweeter to fit Indonesian's preference. Funny, I just tried Smoking Joe's ribs recently. As a St. Louis based resto, the taste was foreign to me, pepperish, a good amount of strange spices, oregano likes. Was that American BBQ that you meant?

  3. @Ruby:

    Concurred, lack of consistency it is.

    I haven't tried smoking joe's so I'm not really sure, but it sounds like a dry rub based on your description. I was referring to BBQ sauce in liquid consistency, just like the way Tony Roma's is serving their ribs with.

  4. Nice review. How much is the ribs in Nuri?

  5. @COCOLOLYPOP: 80K for the ribs =) forgot whether its included tax or not though.


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