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Gili Trawangan

Trawangan has a huge range of eating options from simple local warungs up to fairly grand places serving inventive modern cuisine. Many of these are attached to hotels or dive shops, and are not independent restaurants as such.

Budget places are thinner on the ground that they used to be, but still not hard to find. If you really want to watch the pennies, do as the locals do and eat in the local warungs inside the village, or at the night food market near the beachwalk south of the jetty. These serve the usual range of Indonesian staples: fried rice, fried noodles and bakso (meatball soup); on the night market, you will also find seafood (marked up for tourists’ wallets, though), pancakes, snacks, desserts, and even beer. The push carts and few “warungs” on the main beachwalk are overpriced as much as twice compared to Bali or Indonesian cities (for example, selling sate ayam on the street for Rp 20,000 or nasi padang for Rp 22,000). Barbecued fish is excellent here and every evening many of the better restaurants fire up the charcoal. The deal is that you chose your fish – red and white snapper and trevally are especially good – and it is grilled on the spot. Be very careful with locally produced spirits, especially arak. It can contain methanol and has caused many cases of serious injury and even death (as recent as new year 2012/13) among tourists and locals alike. If you suspect that what you’ve been served is not what you ordered, take it back. Sticking to western owned and managed bars will reduce the risk.

Gili Meno

Unsurprisingly, fish is the go here and many cafes set up a seafood barbecues every evening. Just choose what you want and wait while it is cooked over an open wood grill. The other widespread option is wood-fired pizza which has become something of a Gili Meno speciality. Most of the cafes are clustered in the southern half of the east coast and many are attached to hotels. After you have ordered, be patient as nothing happens very fast here.

Gili Air

Starting at the jetty and working your way north on the east side of the island up to Hotel Gili Air, there are lots of decent places to eat. Since there is no fresh water on the island, purified shipped water is the norm, which does not mean that salads are 100% safe, but the food is generally not problematic. Many restaurants propose delicious grilled fish, freshly caught from the ocean. Choose the fish from their display stand and discuss the price. Local cooking style normally tends to overcook the fish, so it is a good idea to specify your cooking taste.

For budget travellers, there are several warungs in the village, just go inland from the harbor. Nasi campur spesial (with chicken) is Rp 10,000, as well as soto ayam. There’s also a place selling bakso and (sometimes) martabak a bit further inland, almost in the middle of island. Rp 10,000 for bakso, opens in the late afternoon.

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