Hot cuisine at the scorched earth cafe
Steaming soils warmed by fiery Mt Batur offer one of the most interesting – and spiritual – places on Earth to cook up a quick feed, write Christa Larwood and Oliver Smith
we’d read about. There were Hindu temples – statues smothered in moss and creepers cascading over the stonework, making the holy buildings look as if they had just sprung out of the earth. A thin film of mist clung to the rice paddies. From time to time a volcano appeared as a hazy hump on the horizon.
Eventually we stopped at a beach where teams were practising ahead of the annual kite-flying festival.
Kites in Bali come in extraordinary shapes and sizes. It’s not uncommon to hear a whirring sound and look up in terror to find a life-size ship, or a bus, or maybe a shark hovering directly over your head.
For a while we watched a fish-shaped kite thrash about in the warm onshore wind.
A few young boys were holding the string on the dunes down below, looking up to the sky with an almost devotional concentration.
It didn’t surprise me to learn that in Bali some kites are believed to have souls.
COOKING DINNER ON A VOLCANO
Mt Batur rises jaggedly out of a cradle of foliage. From a distance, the scene is eminently peaceful – puffs of cloud gently grazing the peak, all reflected in the cool, crescent-shaped Batur Lake to the east. But come a little closer and the fiery heart of this mountain is revealed.
Bali is a tectonically lively place, with 129 active volcanoes and, at 1717m tall, Mt Batur is among the biggest. It’s far from dormant. Just over a decade ago it erupted, spewing ash 300m in the air.
Today, volcanologists report