Babi Guling (suckling pig) is a very traditional Balinese dish and especially so in Ubud, where it's sold at many restaurants. It's Ibu Oka's speciality and the reason they became so well known. They now have three sites around Ubud and I think we ate at the newest one. A large impersonal dining room hidden down an alley not far from the Ubud Palace. We were able to sit at the open side with a view over a wooded valley. A wooded valley that smelled like death and landfill.
On recommendation, we went for the house special, priced at 55,000 IDR – around £3.50. The special consists of pork meat, crispy skin, fried pork and black pudding sausage served with rice, sambal and a side salad.
I spoke to a few people on Instagram about our experience at Ibu Oka because I had been so SO ready to love it and couldn't quite compute what we'd just eaten to what I was expecting to eat. It seems that they'd had the same experience. Perhaps through their rapid growth in popularity, Ibu Oka has lost their charm. I think this is what happens when a small family-run place is catapulted to stardom. Naturally, they want to expand and feed more people and of course, make more money. But I can't help feel that in this example, that something special has been lost along the way.