It was 1994, and a young man named Brian Aldinger, from New Jersey USA, on a break from his Peace Corp responsibilities, was travelling around Java Indonesia, enjoying the scenery and the culture of Indonesia, and was loving getting to know the character of the Indonesian people. He found himself in Yogyakarta, Central Java, and met a beautiful and interesting young woman called Isnuri Suryatmi (Nuri). They fell in love and were married shortly after.
They travelled on a holiday to Bali, and when they arrived in Ubud, the artists’ area in the hills of Bali, they decided that this was the place for them, and they wanted to spend their life there. But they didn’t have much money, so they decided in 1995 to open a small warung (a small eating and socializing place in Indonesia), where they would sell some drinks, make some simple rice and noodle dishes, and talk to the customers who would come by their warung. Nuri loved to cook, and Brian loved to socialize and chat with the customers who came by. They called it Naughty Nuri’s! Nuri says the name was chosen because she was Nuri, and her husband Brian was Naughty!
Before too long, many of the local expatriate community and some of the local Bali people, would come by in the afternoons and evenings, to chat with Brian, enjoy Nuri’s great cooking, and have a few drinks. Some suggested that Naughty Nuri’s put a small BBQ at the front, and make some bbq sausages, and bbq pork ribs to go with the fried rice and other great dishes prepared by Nuri. The BBQ’ed pork ribs became very popular, and the BBQ became one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Ubud, if not the whole of Bali. Other drinks were introduced, the most popular being the Naughty Nuri’s martinis. One evening the celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and host of his famous TV series, shared several Naughty Nuri’s martinis with Brian. He wrote in the guest book that the Naughty Nuri’s martinis were the best he had ever had outside of New York City.
Many other celebrities, including fashion designer Donna Karen, and major film stars, including Julia Roberts have visited Naughty Nuri’s and loved the ribs, drinks and the atmosphere there. The author of the famous book, Eat, Pray and Love, Elizabeth Gilbert was a regular at Naughty Nuri’s for many years whilst she was living and working in Ubud.
Brian’s table in the corner at the front was famous, and so many patrons from all over the world, asked to sit there, and join the lively conversation and banter with Brian, with Nuri, and with many of the local Ubud characters.
Sadly, Brian passed away in 2012, and he is greatly missed by everyone. But Nuri continues the wonderfully tender and lipsmacking ribs, the magical martinis, and share the fun atmosphere at Naughty Nuri’s. Naughty Nuri’s is full every day, usually with queues of tourists lining up to get a table.
Over the past few years, Naughty Nuri’s has expanded beyond Bali throughout Asia, with outlets in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Seminyak, Macau, Melbourne and Phuket. Naughty Nuri’s will open soon in Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, and other countries including China are on the drawing board. So Brian and Nuri’s dream continues, with a fun atmosphere and great food and drinks continuing throughout Asia, and perhaps in future years, across the world.