Bali Diary: This is Not a Nanaimo Bar

This is not a Nanaimo bar. I’m not messing with you. It’s really not.

It’s part of a strange phenomenon which has haunted me in Bali: I keep on finding Nanaimo bar lookalikes which are not actually Nanaimo bars.

These lookalikes are three layer bars with a crust, soft and custardy midsection, and a chocolate topping. But in spite of these compelling attributes, they are not Nanaimo bars. 

I realize that I probably sound crazy, or at least you think that I am having a mirage of sorts because I’ve been in Bali too long and all of the coconut juice is going to my head. But this is seriously happening. 

To illustrate with an example, take a look at this. Looks like tray of Nanaimo bars, right?


BUT THEY ARE NOT NANAIMO BARS. They are actually a raw food sweet, made with cashew and honey, coconut butter, cacao, coconut oil, and dates. You can get them at the hyper-stylish health food cafe Clear Cafe in Ubud.

Raw chocolate bliss bar

Weirdest of all? They taste nothing like Nanaimo bars. Not a nanaimo bar

This made for a very strange experience. I mean, imagine biting into what looked like a bar of chocolate and it tasting like an apple. That would be weird, right? Well, it was weird biting into something that looked so much like a Nanaimo bar that tasted nothing like it. 

Not a nanaimo bar

Initially, it tasted "wrong" to me--but not because it was not a well made treat. It was more a matter of shock, which made it difficult to determine at first if it was actually good. But don’t worry, I rallied. And a few bites in, once I had talked myself out of expecting the taste of Nanaimo bars, I realized that it was actually quite good. The dates and cashew coconut flavors came together in a naturally sweet treat with just a bit of bitterness (good bitterness) from the cacao to cut through the sweet and rich flavors.

But, you know, not a Nanaimo bar. 

Mint chocolate spirulina slice

The second one somewhat resembled a top heavy chocolate mint Nanaimo bar. But once wasn’t a Nanaimo bar. 

It was a raw chocolate mint spiralina slice from Kafe, another healthy restaurant. Yup. Once again, hippie food. The crust was not as firm as a Nanaimo bar, and the fillings were quite soft. The chocolate in particular was mousse-like. It was a lovely dessert, and raw to boot. It was a highly pleasant dessert… 

Mint chocolate spirulina slice

but NOT a Nanaimo bar!

I don't know quite what to make of this phenomenon, my sweet friends. What can I say other than traveling is weird and wonderful? I can say resoundingly, though that it was an overall delightful and wonderful experience to encounter a whole new world of Nanaimo bar lookalikes so far away from home.

Love from Bali,
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Places mentioned:
Clear Cafe, Hanoman Street, Ubud.
Kafe, Hanoman Street, Ubud.