Monday, 29 June 2020

Turn up the heat

Arguably, there is one ingredient that separates the flavours of South East Asia from those of the western world: chilli. Being located in tropical Bali and well known for our passion of local produce, chili is indeed very close to Cuca’s heart, and to our kitchen! The challenge of working with chilli is getting the spice level just right, when, as anyone who has ever eaten a really hot chilli will testify, it can cause a lot of pain.

Chillies come in many shapes, colours, sizes and strengths, but one thing they all have in common is the burning sensation they cause in your mouth, eyes and any other part of your body they happen to get a hold of. Although most people think that the hottest part of a chilli is its seeds, in fact it is the white spongy layer you find inside, called the “placenta”. Bite into this and you will really feel the burn! That sensation is mainly caused by a chemical called “capsaicin”. When you eat a chilli, the capsaicin in its placenta is released into your saliva and reaches the heat receptors in your mouth and tongue, which in turn send a signal to your brain, fooling it into thinking that your mouth is literally burning.

Producing capsaicin was originally the ideal way for wild chilli plants to deter mammals (who have heat receptors in their mouths) from eating them while encouraging birds to do so (as they lack those receptors that detect capsaicin). But then along came the first chilli aficionado… someone who realized that beyond the pain, eating chillis triggered the release of endorphins, otherwise known as “happy” chemicals, that give you an instant head-to-toe feeling of pleasure.

And as you know, your happiness is our main concern so we in Cuca felt that it was our duty to satisfy the many spicy food enthusiasts that come our way, and with that mission in mind and after many months of failure, pain, disaster and uncertainty, this is what we came up with. 

We proudly present to you Cuca’s latest and most delicious adventure: Cuca Hot Sauce

Handcrafted in small batches, it combines a masterful blend of fresh home-grown chillies and carefully selected spices that definitely pack a punch while still delivering on vibrant and intense taste. Distinctively, Cuca’s Hot Sauce is slowly fermented for weeks, just like in the good old days, rich in probiotic bacteria and ideal to improve the health of the digestive and immune systems. The final step of blending it smooth and charcoal-smoking it results in a mouth-watering BBQ perfume and a bold, flavourful and opinionated recipe not for the weak. 

Cuca Hot Sauce pairs well with just about everything. It can be used to add depth during cooking or to splash a little, or a lot, on any dish. 

IDR 75,000/bottle. WhatsApp orders: bit.ly/WA_Cuca



Monday, 27 April 2020

Dancing in the rain

You may be wondering with the restaurant closed how we are spending this challenging time on an island isolated from the world…

Well, we are #WeatheringTheStorm as best as we can. There are those who have returned to their villages to be with their families and those who are still hanging around working a few hours on new ideas, new dishes and a new menu. One thing is for sure, we are all taking this time to learn how to be better and dance in the rain!

Stay safe and keep dancing, dear friends. We miss you lots and look forward to when we meet again!









Monday, 30 March 2020

Weathering the storm

After spending the last few days taking care of those stranded in Bali on their way back home and carefully deciding with our beloved team the best next steps to take for all, we are temporarily closing Cuca's doors.

Reflecting on these past wonderful 7 years, we are more grateful than ever to those who sat at our tables and kept us doing what we love the most. We are thinking of each of you, wherever you are in this fragile world, and we send to you and your loved ones our warmest and most positive best wishes.

Cuca may be pressing pause today, but our minds will continue working on evaluating who we are and redefining who we want to be. And, rest assured, we are determined to see you all on the other side, in a wiser, healthier and more caring world where, when you get hungry, you will still know exactly where to find us.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Om 🙏

Photo taken during Cuca's opening ceremony back in 2013

Thursday, 27 February 2020

The Kalimantan Journey

As you may remember, months ago, heavyweight Chefs Will Meyrick from Sarong Group and Kevin Cherkas from Cuca landed in southern Kalimantan, Indonesia, to discover the stories behind all its delicious traditional dishes.

They immersed themselves in the history, recipes, culture and nature of the region and put together their lifetime knowledge and passion for food to proudly bring a few lucky guests their very own Kalimantan inspired creations at a dinner held in Som Chai, one of Will's famed restaurants.

A true collaboration built on hours and hours of day long discoveries, late-night discussions and early morning trials, where guests experienced a jungle-inspired soiree full of sensorial surprises including, among many more, the premiere of a short documentary depicting the chefs’ exciting journey and their behind-the-scenes kitchen sessions to jointly create the dishes for the event.

But the highlight of the evening, of course, was the food: a story-like menu divided into chapters that conveyed the soul, flavors, and identity of south Kalimantan through the trained taste buds and fearless creativity of the two chefs.

Follow their journey and this delicious story in this video series!


Monday, 27 January 2020

Our Picks: Kuala Lumpur

As we mentioned a few months ago, we are always sharing our favorite restaurants from every city we know with the hundreds of customers we meet in Cuca every week in search of the tastiest food around the world. People seem to trust chefs’ favorites when choosing food and since everyone asks our humble opinion, we decided some time ago to start a proper “Our Picks” section where we give you our recommendations on where and what to eat.

We have covered Bali, Madrid, Singapore and Vancouver already and today’s blog entry is about Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur has some of the best street food on the planet, period. The food is so good that we go at least once a year just to eat. No one is very friendly or cares about your feelings, but they do care about the dishes they put in your mouth and that is fine by me. So, go hungry and get ready to eat some of the best food you have ever tasted.



We go back to KL every year for this iconic institution. Open forever and packing in the tourist crowd this place serves brilliant Chinese style street food that is seafood-heavy. The menu is all with pictures and dishes are as shown. Dishes are available in 3 sizes, order everything small and try more. A must in KL!
Price: **
What to order: BBQ chicken wings

This place serves the best dim sum we have ever had, seriously! Go for lunch and get ready to be impressed. Stick to the dim sum menu as everything else gets very pricey and unusual.
Price: ****
What to order: Xiao long bao

This place has been around forever serving classic hearty dishes. The menu is a mix of Chinese and western comfort food and the taste is like eating at Grandma’s house. Portions are big so go easy. Go for lunch.
Price: *
What to order: Crispy roast pork

This place serves traditional wood-fired classic Italian pizza and it is very good. Great ingredients, perfect cooking and astonishing quality for Pizza in Asia. A simple menu does the trick with great German draft beer on tap.
Price: ***
What to order: Mortadella e pomodoracio pizza.

This place serves perfect classic Spanish comfort food in Tapas form. Wine selection is solid and drinks come quick so you won’t get thirsty. A busy bustling restaurant so do book ahead.
Price: ***
What to order: Coca (a classic Catalan style pizza) 

This place is famous for its fish head noodle soup. It does sound a little daunting but believe you me, it is not. The soup is a light fragrant broth full of clean flavors and a deep delicious roasted smoky taste. Think Chinese style fish Ramen. We think this place is a must eat!
Price:*
What to order: Get help from a neighboring table by asking what is best. The menu can be a bit challenging. Rest assured it works out very well.

This place serves well-crafted cheeky Japanese influenced upmarket tasting menus. The chef Jeff Ramsey gained a Michelin star in Tokyo with his previous restaurant and the view of KL from the dining room of Babe is the best in town.
Price: *****
What to order: Tasting menu