DD Warung is Thai. For many years there have been small warungs in the lanes between Kuta and Legian with Thai dishes on their menu, some are close to the original and others nothing like it.
This warung cooks Thai, Thai!
I often bristle when a waiter in a western Thai restaurant asks me if I want the food cooked 'spicy' [they mean with chilli, but in fact many spices are sweet?]. I always answer that I want it 'Thai'. Well, at DD Warung I apologise. Here if you say spicy, then KAPOW! You are hit with the full force, of a temperature not much less than what you would expect in Laos or over the border in the Isaan province of Thailand. So, for some dishes, a request for 'medium' is very acceptable from us 'farangs'.
Of course not all Thai dishes use chilli, and only a very few use much chilli, a common misconception. The balanced Thai meal should be a selection of totally different dishes.
Kra Pao Moo is Thailand's most common all-day, any day, snack. Supposedly what any Thai grandmother offers her visiting grandchildren on arrival. Krao Pao means basil, and it can be with minced pork [moo] or chicken [gai], stir-fried with fresh basil?.and chillies! Whilst I love this dish I admit I had to hide my quickly sweating brow, next time I will meekly ask for medium. However the Kra Pao at DD is amongst the best I have ever tasted, even though mine was laced with chillies. Even the mandatory fried egg is ?flash-fried? Thai style, the white crisp and crunchy whilst the yolk is still with a soft centre. The egg sits on a serve of rice.
Yum Pla Duk Foo is another very common traditional Thai dish that is rarely found in Bali. Fresh water catfish [in Indonesia, 'Lele'] is steamed then cooled. Just before serving the pieces of fish are dropped into a very hot wok, the result is that the fish explodes! The fish on the plate now looks as if it has been minced. As with all Thai dishes, balance is the key. The crumbly fish is topped with green mango salad, a perfect match. Again, at DD, 100%!
Pad Thai is probably one of Thailand?s best known dishes. It just means noodles that are cooked Thai style. Whilst normally just a vegetarian dish [egg noodles], Pad Thai Gai is with chicken added, and there is also a seafood version available here. This is probably the simplest dish in Thai cuisine, but still one of the best. Another simple dish and one that I often enjoy for a light lunch, or as an accompanying dish, is the Thai Omelette. Kai Jiew Moo Saap is minced pork [or chicken] beaten with egg, fish sauce and a little soy, the result a light fluffy omelette.
Pad Prik Bung Nam Man Hoy has earned itself the strange title of Morning Glory, no doubt during R&R leave for the American forces during the Korean and Vietnam wars. A stir-fried vegetarian dish with garlic, chilli and oyster sauce it was no doubt eaten for breakfast after a heavy night's drinking, although the title in reality often refers to something else. Curries are an integral part of any Thai menu. With the striving for perfection at DD they only prepare one main curry on any one day, and that is for the dinner service only. The curry menu is Panang Curry on Fridays, Yellow Curry on Mondays and the wonderful aromatic Massaman, from the South of Thailand, on Wednesdays. However you can enjoy a green curry, any day, for lunch or dinner, Gaeng Keow Wan Gai, chicken with eggplant, Bamboo shoots and coriander sprigs.
Pad Pet is a very mild but flavoursome dish. The base of seafood, pork or chicken is cooked with basil, lime, thyme and a little chilli. Another fresh stir-fry with only a little chilli is Gai Pad King, chicken with much grated ginger, tossed with onions, mushrooms and oyster sauce.
Traditional cuisines are very regional and often have varying 'authentic' recipes. Such was the case with their Kai Med Ma Muang [Chicken Cashew], no burnt chilli or any chilli at all but many healthy vegetables [broccoli, tomato, baby corn, onion and fungus] as well as the chicken strips and cashew nuts. Those classic Thai soups, the hot and sour Tom Yum Goong and the under-rated ambrosial Tom Kha Gai [chicken with galangal and lemongrass in coconut milk] are there,
Thais do not order what we call entrees as a part of a restaurant meal. Rather they are the world?s ultimate 'snackers', rarely able to pass through a street food area without stopping for a minute or two to select and eat something.
Such entrees here at DD are possibly the least attractive items on the menu. Perhaps they are for farangs only. The Chicken Wings are OK but hardly Thai fare, the Spring Rolls, far more Indonesian Lumpia style with their crisp but thick wonton wrapping, were for me the sole failure on the menu. But if 19 out of 20 is not good enough I do not know what is?
Not only are the dishes served here at DD Warung very traditional Thai, they are also very inexpensive, most items under Rp.60,000. For added value the serves are quite large, certainly large enough to share between 2-3 people, which after all the ultimate way to enjoy Thai cuisine.
A great find, not by me but by Jack Daniels who first mentioned DD Warung in his Bali Update, for which I will be eternally grateful. It has immediately become a regular lunch spot for me, what more can I say?