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Bebek Bengil Restaurant (Dirty Duck Diner), Ubud

4 December 2010 One Comment

crispy duck at bebek bengil

Crispy duck at Bebek Bengil Restaurant

Long before setting foot in Ubud, we have occasionally heard friends or associates talk about a particularly superb place for deep fried ducks in Bali. Some others claim that it is an expensive place to eat, and is little more than an overrated tourist trap. Not to beat around the bush – yes, as the post title suggests, we are indeed talking about the famous Bebek Bengil restaurant, which is so successful that they started a second outlet in Ubud, Jakarta, as well as a franchise store in Hongkong. This post however is only going to be a review of the main restaurant in Ubud.

On their website, the owners mentioned the reason for the name Bebek Bengil, or dirty duck. They said that one day when the restaurant was still nearing completion, ducks from a nearby field wandered into the premises and left their dirty footprints all over the place. Instead of being mad at the little trespassers, the good-natured owners considered the ducks to be their first customers, and therefore honor them by naming the restaurant after those dirty ducks. We admit that the name had us thinking whether these ‘first customers’ also had a taste of the restaurants’ famed crispy ducks.

bebek bengil restaurant

The Bebek Bengil restaurant occupies a large piece of land just off Jalan Hanoman, in south Ubud. Entrance to the restaurant is located by the road side, you would not miss the restaurant sign or the crowd entering or leaving the place. The restaurant seems to be busy all the time, and during lunch or dinner hours the inflow of guests can create a mini traffic jam in the vicinity. They used to have a rather normal looking reception area; but this has been removed, and work on a new replacement building was underway as of mid 2010. Once inside, it is easy to see why some people instantly fell in love with the place. A lotus pond and small rice paddies run in the middle of the compound, dividing the eating areas. To the right of the entrance is a big two storey building housing most of the tables. To the left are some Balinese-styled Balé where more seating is available, with low tables and cushions for seats. Looking far, adjacent to the furthest Balé are more rice fields with some amazing view. Simply said, the restaurant is beautifully manicured.

main building at bebek bengil

Main building

Balinese Balé

Balinese Balé at Bebek Bengil

gamelan players at bebek bengil

Gamelan players

We sat and ordered a selection of dishes from the restaurant’s extensive menu. First of all, there is so many ways to have your duck; crispy fried, smoked, cooked in chili, or used as salad topping. We found the specialty dish of crispy duck to be really crispy and tasty. The crispiness is a good thing, but we understand why some guests are turned off by it. The ducks used in Bebek Bengil is likely to be of the free range variety, and the meat is therefore leaner, has less fat, and is chewier. Needless to say, the deep frying process further removes any sign of juiciness from the final product. But hey, this is a crispy duck as advertised. The duck in chili is a little spicy, and not as dry as the pure crispy fried version. The crispy duck salad is an interesting combination; plenty of healthy greens topped with generous amount of shredded crispy duck, freshly cut onions and chili pepper, as well as peeled mandarin oranges. We did not try the smoked duck as those have to be pre-ordered a day in advance. We recommend trying any of the duck dishes, they are really good.

duck with chili
Duck with chili

crispy duck salad
Crispy duck salad
The restaurant also serves other non-duck dishes, which are mostly cooked Indonesian style. We tried the nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice, served with fried egg, two sticks of satay – which in Indonesia is written as sate, crackers, and pickled veggies), nasi campur (white rice served with a piece of crispy duck, sate lilit, and other small portions of meat and vegetable dishes), and the pepes ikan (steam cooked fish meat and herbs wrapped in banana leaf). All tasted pretty authentic (i.e. not overly ‘westernised’).

nasi goreng
Nasi goreng
nasi campur
Nasi Campur

Overall, Bebek Bengil is a must visit when you are in Ubud. The gorgeous setting alone is worth the visit. Just bring along enough cash, as Bebek Bengil is not a cheap eat. To avoid the crowd and having to wait for tables, try to make your visit outside the busy lunch and dinner periods. Service tends to be friendlier and more prompt, and there is also less pressure to quickly finish the meal because a bunch of other guests are waiting for their turn to eat.

Travel Info

Bebek Bengil Restaurant
Tel: 62-361-975489

Website http://www.agungraka.com/bebekbengil/Default.asp (as of Dec 2010, certain information, like the Menu section, seem to be outdated).

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