You can get good meals on Lombok, but don't expect the often amazing and creative culinary fare you'll find on neighbouring Bali – or even the Gilis. In the beach towns around Kuta and Senggigi, Indonesian mixes with fresh seafood, pasta, pizza and burgers on menus. A few places aim for a little more style. Elsewhere, the local speciality, ayam Taliwang (spicy chicken) is a welcome and flavourful staple.
Lombok's Sasak people are predominantly Muslim, so Bali's porky plethora does not feature in their diet of fish, chicken, vegetables and rice. The fact that 'lombok' means chilli in Bahasa Indonesia makes sense, because Sasaks like their food spicy; ayam taliwang (whole split chicken roasted over coconut husks served with tomato-chilli-lime dip) is one example.
Ares is a dish made with chilli, coconut juice and banana-palm pith; sometimes it's mixed with chicken or meat. Sate pusut is a delicious combination of minced fish, chicken or beef flavoured with coconut milk, garlic, chilli and other spices and wrapped around a lemongrass stick and grilled.
Lombok has a fine selection of dining options. You'll encounter everything from dirt cheap nasi goreng (fried rice) to chic eateries with Mediterranean-Indo fusion fare. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered to.
- Restaurants Though nowhere near as sophisticated as on neighboring Bali, Lombok's dining scene rarely disappoints. For the most creative flare, head to Kuta or Gili T.
- Cafes A cafe culture has really taken off in Lombok's tourist centres. Most places offer smoothie bowls, healthy lunches and coffee brewed from local beans.
- Warungs High spice levels and low prices are two things you can count on at Lombok's family-owned eateries.