Food + Beverage
Why would someone order a hamburger in a Balinese restaurant specializing in chicken and Chinese food? Because he hadn’t noticed the sign … or the name of the restaurant. So how was the hamburger?
Ayam Ayam Restaurant is an open air eatery in Ubud, Bali, specializing in chicken and Chinese food, but there are other dishes on the menu, as well, including pasta, pizza, and hamburgers.
There is something a bit reckless – not to mention ridiculous – about ordering a grilled hamburger at a restaurant in Bali with a sign out front saying that it specializes in chicken and Chinese food.
But I hadn’t noticed the sign, nor the name of the restaurant, Ayam Ayam, which is Indonesian for chickens – by doubling a noun you pluralize it.
Actually, I was in the mood for either Balinese or Indonesian food – something light, but spicy.
For some strange reason, however, the minute I walked inside the outdoor eatery, I was overcome by an intense craving for something that – to paraphrase French Chef Julia Child – only a hamburger could satisfy.
Was it something about the décor or the ambience – or that lily pond at the rear? The dining room overlooked a lovely lily pond and a cluster of Balinese style cottages that served as a boutique hotel.
After taking a seat, admiring the surroundings, and perusing the menu, which included a full page devoted to Chinese food, I summonsed the waitress and ordered a grilled hamburger, which came with potato wedges and barbecue dipping sauce, and an iced coffee.
I waited and I waited and I waited. Things take time in Bali, so much so that the previous day I observed an Australian couple leave the café I was eating lunch in because the waitress was slow in coming to take their order.
Open Faced Hamburger
My hamburger arrived as all good hamburgers SHOULD arrive: open faced and served in a basket.
With apologies to a food reviewer at Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, who was nonplussed when served an open faced hamburger, I think hamburgers – except at fast-food joints – SHOULD be served open faced.
This allows diners to apply as much or as little sauce – mayonnaise, ketchup, and/or mustard – as they like.
Not only that, not everyone likes as much onions, lettuce, and tomato in their hamburgers as I do.
I have a friend in Macau who doesn’t like ANY veggies in her burgers, whereas I like as many as will fit – even if the burger starts falling apart after one or 2 bites.
Some people like pickles in their hamburgers and some people (for reasons that I don’t understand) don’t like pickles in their hamburgers.
There is a final reason why hamburgers should be served open faced. it prevents the hamburger bun from going prematurely soggy (though the sign of a good hamburger I think is if it starts falling apart half way through).
The potato wedges, meanwhile, were cooked perfectly, something few restaurants seem to get right. A Chef friend informed me it was the type of potatoes used rather than the cooking method that was the culprit resulting in doughy potato wedges.
I was disappointed with the chips, as the Brits call French fries, I was once served at Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street in Hong Kong.
While the fish half of the Fish and Chips I ordered was downright sublime – the best I’ve ever had – many of the chips were doughy inside.
So there you have it. I was in the mood for a Balinese or Indonesian meal, and I stumbled upon a cafe specializing in chicken and Chinese food.
Something told me to order a hamburger, and it was one of the best hamburgers I have ever eatern.
Bali is known as the Island of the Gods. Had one of those Gods whispered something in my ear?
Photo Opps with Staff
Ayam Ayam Restaurant, Jalan Hanoman No. 73, Padang Tegai, Ubud, Bali. Telephone: 62 361 971555.