Lawar: a Balinese Delicacy

Added over 4 years ago

By Linda Heaphy (copyright 2012)


Lawar with roast suckling pig. Picture courtesy of saylow guling via Wikicommons


If you’ve ever been to Bali, you’ve probably sampled a version of the local savory delicacy called lawar. One of the island’s most iconic dishes, lawar literally means “thinly sliced” or “finely chopped”, and consists of chopped meat and vegetables mixed together with fragrant spices and herbs. It is typically served at important Balinese events and ceremonies. However, visitors to Bali can easily find different versions of lawar in most restaurants and warungs.

In Bali, no festive occasion is ever without lawar. On the day of a ceremony, Balinese people typically rise early to start the preparation of food and offerings. Men take care of food such as satay and lawar, while women prepare offerings of fruit and vegetables.  Both groups sit in their own circles, chopping, mixing, preparing and generally socializing. There’s little need to rush in Balinese culture and the men enjoy talking and sipping coffee laced with arak while making the day’s food.

Snake beans, grated coconut and meat are the principal ingredients in lawar. Coarsely chopped and blended together with shallots, turmeric, shrimp paste, galangal, kenkur, ginger and salt and pepper, it is the meat in lawar that provides the distinguishing flavour – chicken, duck, pork, catfish or turtle may be used. Some varieties of lawar have raw pig’s blood mixed in to add colour and flavour, while other varieties are strictly vegetarian, the meat replaced with young jackfruit, green mango or some other vegetable. Because it is prepared with fresh ingredients, lawar spoils easily and is generally consumed within half a day of being made.


Try this delicious chicken lawar recipe from SBS!

balinese culture

References and Further Reading

Lawar. Hello Bali Magazine, February 2012. Accessed 10th May 2012

Lawar (food). Wikipedia. Accessed 10th May 2012

What is Lawar? Accessed 10th May 2012


Tags: Balinese Cuisine, Balinese Culture, Beliefs And Customs, Indonesia, Lawar


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