Tulamben is all about diving, not gastronomy and unfortunately eating choices are pretty ordinary as it’s more a focus on refuelling for the next underwater adventure rather than gourmet fare. However, don’t just stick to the poor and often overpriced offerings in your dive resort, there are a couple of places to save you from culinary mediocrity.
If you’re a after a quick snack, your best bet is to pop into one of the local point and pick warungs around the car park near the Liberty dive site. The surroundings may be basic, but you’ll be served fresh and tasty food — but perhaps a bit too spicy for some pallets.
Five hundred metres south of central Tulamben, up the hill and round the bend, Segara Tegah is the place for local barbecued fish and great views. If ten minutes uphill is too far to walk, they offer free pickups from anywhere in Tulamben. The small local style restaurant is raised on an open pavilion above the kitchen with views to the sea and Gunung Agung — watching the sunset over the volcano is worth the trip alone. Standard Indonesian dishes such a nasi goreng and gado-gado will set you back about 25,000 rupiah, but go for the fresh fish. Ibu Wayan will sort you out with whole grilled snapper for 75,000 rupiah or the “Balinese fish combination” that includes satay, bakso and sambal for 65,000 rupiah — slightly higher prices than in your local warung, but you’re paying for the view too. If you have fussy kids in tow, they have pasta and banana pancakes, or tempt them with a local dessert — dadar gulung: banana, palm sugar and coconut deliciousness. Segara Tegah also offer cute bungalow-style accommodation.
For Western fare, Safety Stop Restaurant and Bar is almost hidden from the road at the southern end of the main drag by a jungle of plants. This place had been recommended to us by a couple of different travellers, however on an attempt to have a latish lunch, we were rudely told by staff they were closed. We eventually tried for dinner, and food was not bad in this popular place, nevertheless the service was still a little surly. Grilled marlin was fresh and not overcooked, served with a plate of tasty grilled veggies (a non-menu item we requested and they did excellently). At 90,000 rupiah it was a bit pricey, but the serving size with two large pieces of fish could have feed several hungry divers. Looking around, other portion sizes were also generous. The menu includes lots of schnitzel dishes as well as Indonesian favourites. We heard they do a good steak too. There’s a pool table and the beer is really cold, so the so-so service is forgiven.
Safety Stop Restaurant and Bar: Jalan Kubu-Abang, Tulamben; T: (0812) 4629 6152; www.safety-stop-tulamben.com/; open daily 10:00-22:00 (except when they are not!)
Segara Tegah: Jalan Kubu-Abang, Tulamben; T: (0819) 3644 0849, (0363) 430 1283; www.facebook.com/Segara-tegeh-restaurant-bungalows-1042078075871843/; open daily 09:00-21:00
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.