Widely known as Jimbaran Fish Market, the market that locals call Pasar Ikan Tradisional Kedonganan (Kedonganan Traditional Fish Market), is an essential Balinese experience. Every morning, brightly colored traditional fishing boats—and larger commercial vessels—unload an impressive catch. Locals will grill your purchases for a small fee.
Jimbaran Fish Market is easy enough to visit independently, though you’ll likely get more out of it with a good guide who can explain the types of fish and the tricks of the vendors’ trade, and direct you to quality product. Kedonganan is a popular stop on Bali food tours, while a few island tours that feature sunset fish dinners on Jimbaran Beach take you to the market first. (In general, due to heavy traffic, winding roads, and language barriers, booking a private guide or joining an organized tour can help you get the most out of your entire Bali trip.)
Things to Know Before You Go
- Jimbaran Fish Market is a must-do for foodies and market fans.
- As you’d expect of a fish market in the developing world, Kedonganan is a smelly place—exercise caution if you’re sensitive to smell or bringing small children.
- Especially late in the day, catch on display can be far from fresh. Purchase fish with bright eyes, shiny skin, firm flesh, and red gills. Or opt for squid or (farmed) shrimp, which are generally safe bets.
How to Get There
Kedonganan is a pleasant, if lengthy, stroll north along the beach from the Jimbaran beach resorts. Your best bet for public transportation from elsewhere—unless you have the Indonesian language skills and patience to navigate the bemo minibus system—is the Kura Kura tourist bus, which departs from the DFS mall in Kuta and stops near the market.
When to Get There
For the best and most authentic experience, visit Jimbaran Fish Market around dawn on a working day. You will see locals unloading their catch, have a chance at the best fish, and might even be able to buy a tasty grouper, red snapper, or parrotfish fresh from the boat. If you’re visiting later in the day, shrimp and squid may be a better choice than not-so-fresh fish. Generally, your chances of clear weather for a fish feast are highest during the dry season, roughly May to October.
Ikan Bakar: Indonesian Grilled Fish
An archipelago nation of approximately 18,000 islands, Indonesia thrives on fish. One of the few elements that unites its disparate population is a passion for grilled fish (ikan bakar), barbecued to perfection over slowly smoldering coconut husks. Accompanied with a selection of sambals—the chile condiment that’s a staple of the nation—and fluffy white rice, it’s both core sustenance and pure deliciousness.