Original Bali Black Swayback Pig

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Original Bali Black Swayback Pig

Babi Bali Asli

The Original Black Swayback pig, or Babi Bali Asli, was the traditional pig used for ceremonial roasted pig in Bali, Indonesia. It is traditionally cooked over charcoal in a slow BBQ technique with a special local seasoning. This pig is used for numerous side dishes, including uretan (sausages made using a variety of seasonings including leaves). One pig would often be prepared for a festival and shared by an entire community.   The Babi Bali Asli is much smaller than the now common industrial pink pig. It only reaches its adult weight at nearly one year, compared to faster growing commercial breeds. It also has a unique shape; it is a true swayback, and the stomach will drag on the ground if well fed. It has two large tusks in the mouth area. Generally the pig is all black in color, though some are found with some white markings, usually limited to the hoof area.  Probably most distinctive of this breed is the clear ‘swayback’ characteristic of the pig’s back. Until 1985, the Babi Bali Asli was, for the most part, the only pig available in Bali. It has now been almost completely replaced in the main markets and homes by an industrial hybrid pig. The original black pig can be seen in early traditional paintings, where it might be decorated during a festival, just before being sacrificed, cooked and shared by the community. With the tradition of masks in Bali, the special pig mask is very popular, and the pig represented is clearly of the black Bali Babi Asli variety, as seen in the coloring, tusks, and heavy tuft of hair coming off its head (a trait seen in male pigs).   Today, Babi Bali Asli pigs are raised in very limited areas in remote parts of north Bali and in very limited areas of Karangasem in east Bali. Because of their low numbers and the remoteness of the areas in which they are raised, it is very rare to find meat from this breed on the market. It is often used just for special ceremonies. Because Babi Bali Asli are free ranging pigs, they do not require the commercial feed or antibiotics that the commercial breeds to, and have a naturally varied diet including worms, insects, soft roots, native grasses and more. Their rooting was also used to prepare soil for planting. Despite this, the increase in faster growing, hybrid pigs raised in intensive systems since the 1980s has nearly replaced the traditional Babi Bali Asli in Indonesia.

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