Thursday, September 01, 2011


At Tulamben the sea greeted us. Our first couple of days on the island, spent in a mountain paradise, were sad to leave. But the first glimpse of the ocean calmed any regrets of moving on to the East of Bali. After settling into our room we wandered down to deserted beach. The black sand was dotted with fishing vessels but it turned out that the water produced more than just fish.

A few metres back from the waves sat a row of hollowed out palm trunks. (Is there anything that coconut is not used for on this island?) Though the milky liquid seemed unremarkable, the crystals clustered along the edge belied the treasure within. Salt!

A few days later in Amed, the full story of salt making was revealed. A labour intensive exercise involving carrying many heavy buckets of seawater from the shore to pools dug in the soil, sun drying, filtering the soil with more seawater, then finally drained and dried in palm troughs.

This incredible, arduous process is weather dependent. Rain being the enemy of the process. Something rather hard to avoid in the tropics. Many poor families in Bali’s East coast scrape a subsistence income during the dry season from salt making. How dull our food would be without this miracle flavour enhancer.

I’ll never look at this kitchen staple the same way again.

More on traditional Balinese salt making.

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Blogger Michelle Chin said...

ooh interesting. :)

9:53 am  
Anonymous Lucy said...

and there's Ari, our driver.

he was so much fun.

2:31 pm  
Blogger Cindy said...

Fascinating stuff!

Seriously, your and Lucy's Bali posts have me aching to go visit myself.

5:17 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Michelle...sure is.

Lucy, Ari...too nice to be a Amed cowboy but... :)

Cindy - we can give you some tips of places we enjoyed off the beaten track. Though for a hardcore vegetarian it would be difficult, but no more challenging than Japan. We did a vego cooking course in Lovina (will write about eventually) and the majority of recipes had shrimp paste and/or oyster sauce. But we did come across places in Ubud that would trust to be the real deal.

5:27 pm  

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