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Bali Dining Festival

Bali’s culinary experts are attempting to promote the island’s fine dining scene by participating in the month-long Bali Dining Festival. Some 27 restaurants are taking part in the ongoing festival, which is the first of its kind on the island and aims to promote Bali’s best chefs and restaurants.

“We’re trying to increase the culinary awareness of people about Bali. Bali has really fine restaurants but not many people know of them,” festival spokeswoman Marije Dalm said over the weekend.

The festival is one of several events being held to promote tourism to the island.

The Sanur Village Festival is taking place this month, while the Kuta Carnival and Ubud Writers Festival are taking place next month.

The dining festival arrives at a time when the island is struggling through the recent blows of a human bird flu death and alcohol shortages.

Dalm said the wine and spirits shortages that have affected the island for the last two months have had an impact on restaurants participating in the festival.

Dalm said the festival wanted to reach high-end vacationers to show them what Bali chefs could offer.

She did acknowledge, however, that the festival needed more promotion.

“Because it’s a new thing, people seem to be hesitant to try it,” she said.

Bali is famous for its beaches, rice paddies and rich cultural heritage.

A growing numbers of five-star hotels and resorts have attracted more wealthy travelers to the island, long a popular destination for budget backpackers.

Dalm said one of the good things about Bali was that visitors could enjoy fine dining at affordable prices.

Every restaurant participating in the event has prepared unique menus created just for the festival. Some restaurants also are offering private cooking classes.

Lucienne Kristy Anhar, owner of the Hotel Tugu Bali in Canggu, said guests would enjoy traditional Balinese and Javanese cooking with Waroeng Tugu‘s chef Ibu Sulastri.

The festival also offers a new gastronomic experience, dubbed the Bali Dining Safari.

Guests participating in the safari will enjoy three-course meals at three different restaurants, with surprise menus prepared specially for them.

Mily, from the Japanese restaurant Kaizan in Seminyak, said the festival was a good way to promote restaurants in Bali.

“It’s good promotion for us. People should know that Bali does not only offer beaches, temples and clubs, but also fine cuisine,” she said.

Dalm said organizers planned to expand the festival in future years to include smaller restaurants and cafes.

Prodita Sabarini