Will Meyrick Recipe: Tuna Betel

Will Meyrick, whose Sarong and Mama San restaurants in Bali are among the island’s most popular dining locations, is as peripatetic as chefs come. His regular food forays around Asia yield recipes gleaned from the region’s home kitchens and street stalls, the best of which are then subtly reworked and added to his menus. But Meyrick didn’t have to look that far for the concept behind this fresh, clean-flavored dish. In his new cookbook, Sarong Inspirations, he says, “I was inspired to create these light,mostly raw canapes afterwatching some fishermen in Jimbaran Bay, Bali, eating a Balinese variation with local herbs served in a banana leaf in one of the beachside markets.” At Sarong (62-361/473-7809; sarongbali.com), the dish includes high-grade tuna and local betel leaves, together with a raw Balinese sambal of chopped shallots, lemongrass, red chili, and shrimp paste. –David Tse


  • 4–5 betel leaves
  • 100 grams sashimi-grade tuna
  • 1 small bird’s eye chili, chopped
  • 3 small shallots, sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned
  • 1 large red chili, julienned
  • 1/2 small bunch of lemon basil
  • 1 pinch of fried shallots
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. sambal matah
  • 1 tbsp. bumbu pasih
  • 6 lemons, juiced


Take a frying pan, add a tablespoon of oil, and raise the heat until the oil is very hot and almost smoking. Sear the tuna on all sides, making sure that the tuna is just cooked to rare. Remove from the heat and allow to stand until cooled to room temperature. Cut the tuna with a sharp sashimi knife into 5mm cubes. Mix the sambal matah and bumbu pasih spice paste together in a small mixing bowl and add the tuna, gently combining until evenly coated. Finely chop and add in the remaining ingredients (apart from the lemon basil, betel leaves and the fried shallots) then continue to mix. Taste and make any necessary adjustments to seasoning then add in the lemon basil. Prepare the washed betel leaves and trim the stem, place onto the serving dish and gently spoon the mixture onto the betel leaves in small mouthsize portions. Sprinkle the fried shallots on top for presentation and serve immediately.

Originally appeared in the October/November 2012 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Tuna Betel”)

Share this Article