Ok, I know the place doesn't look like much, but let me tell you the story and perhaps if you are very lucky you will experience the Ch'luk or find your own Ch'luk. All it takes is a little bit of courage, some patience and luck.
The story: Toward the end of our 3 week Bali vacation, we found ourselves in Lovina on Bali's north coast. I had read that Lovina is famous for seafood (especially grilled fish) so naturally I wanted to try it.
I asked at our beach-side hotel and the receptionist gave me the names of a few places. Then I told her that I wanted to try traditional seafood and asked her where the "locals" eat. She told me Ch'luk and gave rough directions on how to get there. Of course I promptly forgot the name, but vaguely remembered the directions.
So Tina and I set off on foot in the hot afternoon sun (the place sounded close). After a lot of sweating and walking we wondered if we had gone the right way. When we saw the Tourist Police Post, we went in to get directions. Because I couldn't remember the name of the place I just asked where locals went for good grilled fish. Again I was told Ch'luk and given directions.
Since we had walked too far, we headed back and looked for that second street the policeman had mentioned. We were not sure that we had found the right one, but headed down the street toward the beach anyway. Along the way we saw signs for another Seafood eatery and later came to it near the beach.
I was hot and tempted to stop there, but something inside of me insisted that I find Ch'luk (maybe it was my Finnish sisu). Come hell or high water I was going to find that place.
So we started back toward town along the beach, after a while and seeing no signs for Ch'luk, I asked a local where it was. He pointed to a ramshackle house 50 feet away. With a little apprehension we walked through the gate into Ch'luk's compound (pictured above)
Inside the grounds we found a open air section with a Balinese family eating and a thatch shaded table where an ex-pat and his Balinese wife eating. We decided to sit at the thatch shaded table.
They gave us advice about the food and told the owner to give us the local price on the fish. It is fresh and stored on ice in the big red cooler you see in the first picture. We picked a couple of fish. The father of the family weighed them (the fish are sold by type and weight) and began grilling them on a wood-fired outdoor grill.
A while later our food arrived at the table ( this is a slow-food place ). I like spices and can honestly say that I have never had better grilled fish. Our meal consisted of the fish, a spicy salad, cucumber and cabbage, white rice, fresh coconut juice (drank from the coconut), and four types of condiments (sauces and tasty tidbits). The cost of the meal for the two of us was about 50% of the cost in the regular eatery or about the cost of a single McDonalds fish sandwich meal supersized!!!
Needless to say we returned to Ch'luk the next day and had another fantastic meal. Tina is very good at making friends with people, so they agreed to have their photo taken with her.
Simplified directions on how to get to Ch'luk: Start at the Dolphin Monument in Lovina (Kalibukbuk) walk east on the beach, past the fishing village, past the cement breakwater. The walk should take 20-45 minutes depending on how fast you walk. If you get to Spunky's Eatery you have gone too far. It is also good to ask for directions along the way and remember Ch'luk is about 100 feet off the beach.
May you experience Ch'luk and find many of your own Ch'luks....