The bustling Warung Biah Biah grabs you by all five senses as you enter this Ubud institution. The air is filled with delicious smells of authentic Indonesian cuisine and lively conversation. Long tables hewn out of tree trunks are occupied with people from all around the world. Waiters fill the remaining gaps as they move between tables shifting countless banana leaf-lined baskets in and out of the unique sunken bar.
Jalan Goutama is a welcome escape from Ubud’s traffic-choked ring roads. This thriving narrow laneway is lined with small eateries and has a constant flow of foot traffic and buzzing scooters. Warung Biah Biah is noticeable by the small, fast-moving queue perpetually lined up at its entrance. Ubud has more restaurants than you can poke a pair of chopsticks at. Biah Biah is one of the few who manages to keep full occupancy on its tables the entire evening.
It can be difficult to get a full immersion of Indonesian cuisine in a short Bali break. Warung Biah Biah offers small portions of authentic local cuisine at uber cheap prices. We were frequent patrons during our 3-month visit to Ubud. It was a pleasure to watch the world go by on its street-side tables enjoying cheap authentic and delicious Indonesian food.
Biah Biah Starters
With some dishes going for as little as 7,000 IDR (70 cents AUD) it is easy to mow through the menu. The service certainly allows for a self-selected degustation menu and you can keep on ordering until your belly is full. We recommend an early round of chicken satay (Sate Ayam). Then add it’s pork equivalent. I mean, why not? This will all arrive in a few minutes, likely before your ice-cold Bintang.
If you haven’t tried Tempe, now is your time. This tasty soybean savoury cake is authentic to Indonesia but quickly going viral in the US and Europe. The pork & turmeric sausage (Urutan) is another traditional favourite to carry you through to mains.
Biah Biah Mains
Four versions of Nasi Goreng appear on the mains. If you skipped the Urutan in the starters, you can make it up in this home-grown version of Nasi Goreng. The side dishes are nearly as mouth-watering. Pickled veggies and garlic green beans were our favourite.
There is also nothing stopping you from regressing back and forth on the menu and getting a few extra helpings of Sate Ayam should the stomach be willing!
Biah Biah Service & a Souvenir
The narrow sunken bar is the hub of Biah Biah through which everything flows. The organised chaos of drinks, dishes and bills being dispensed efficiently is a sight to behold. The turnover is high and the queue moves quickly. Still, you don’t feel rushed out of your seat. You can eat a little or a lot and stay a while if you need. It’s communal dining at some tables whereas others you will have all to yourself. The staff may move you around to accommodate others which is all part of the experience.
After three months in Bali, only one souvenir was brought back. This was a Warung Biah Biah t-shirt. Sporting a large dish of Nasi Goreng on the front, it is actually the very opposite that attracted us to Biah Biah. That is its small portions and the variety of dishes along with impeccable and friendly service.