Lawar – A Traditional Food Of Bali

Lawar Bali Photograph by Tania Gordon
Lawar Bali Photograph by Tania Gordon

If you’re adventurous and have a desire to connect with traditional Bali, you may be tempted to try lawar.

Lawar is a traditional Balinese dish prepared for ceremonies and other celebrations.

Its main ingredients are meat and vegetables cut into long, thin slivers and mixed with spices such as turmeric, shrimp paste, ginger and coconut.

Lawar is often made in large quantities to feed crowds of over a hundred people.

The meat in lawar is traditionally pork or turtle. Lawar babi (made with pork) remains the most popular choice in Bali.

Common variations include lawar ayam (made with chicken) to accommodate Muslim palates and even meatless lawar made with jackfruit, melons, mango or coconut.

Vegetarians beware: an important ingredient of traditional lawar is blood which lends it a red hue, hence the name lawar merah (red).

Lawar with an abundance of coconut, on the other hand, may appear mostly white (lawar putih).

Sampling the delights of lawar from a street vendor or a simple warung will cost around 15,000 to 20,000 rupiah per portion.

A high-end version to tickle your tastebuds is served at Bumbu Bali Restaurant in Nusa Dua

Visitors can sample their lawar udang – a version made with green papaya and served with shrimp sate – or lawar kuwir with minced duck and duck sate. Both cost about 100,000 rupiah.

If you would like to try making your own lawar at home (without the blood), here’s a recipe from Bumbu Bali Restaurant and Cooking School.

Lawar ayam

  • 600 grams (1.5 lb) long beans blanched and cut in ½ cm slices
  • 225 ml (1 cup) grated coconut, roasted
  • 56 grams (4 tbsp) fried chilli dressing


  • 250 grams (8 oz) boneless chicken minced
  • 28 grams (2 tbsp) oil
  • 177 ml ( ¾ cup) chicken spice paste
  • 118 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
  • 118 ml (½ cup) coconut cream
  • 28 grams (2 tbsp) lime juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper crushed
  • 1 bunch shallots


To make the dressing, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and then add chicken spice paste and sauté until fragrant.

Add minced chicken and continue to sauté until the meat browns.

Pour in the chicken stock and coconut cream. Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice. Cool to room temperature.

Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a deep bowl and mix in the dressing.

Season to taste and garnish with fried shallots.

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