One of the things I enjoy doing at home is cooking. Every so often, my mother and I attend a local class, and we enjoy it immensely.
When I was planning my trip to Bali, I discovered cooking classes were offered at one of the villas in Seminyak so we decided to sign up. A local chef would teach us to make Balinese food after we picked up fresh ingredients at a local market.
Everything about the day was perfectly planned out. A driver came to pick us up at our villa and drive us to the Jimbaran Fish Market. The chef shared our car, so we were able to ask him about the menu we were preparing and some of the other options they offered. He told us about the area and a little bit about the market we would visit.
We arrived at the market, a small series of enclosed buildings right off the beach. The view was incredible. While we waited for the other members to join us, we enjoyed watching the boats come back in with their catch, locals building nets on the sand, and the smells wafting from the food carts that lined the walkway.
Our chef took us through the first building where we gathered fresh vegetables. He explained how to determine the quality and told us the names of the vegetables that were unfamiliar to many of us. We then made our way to the building where the fish was kept.
The smell was overwhelming. The warm, covered building did nothing to minimize the stench. And the vendors were endlessly adding ice to the bins where they held their wares. I had never seen such a wide selection of seafood and was amazed at the range on display.
After finishing up at the market, we loaded back up into our cars and made our way to the villa where the class was held. The Amala is a gorgeous lodging with a gorgeous courtyard. The staff greeted us with a refreshing glass of iced tea, and gestured for us to find seats beneath the ciovered area of the courtyard.
They took the ingredients we had purchased to rinse and arrange in a large bowl, returning with a portable stove, and the other equipment we would need to prepare our food.
The chef showed us how to cut and prepare the ingredients and set us to task, dividing up the chopping, grinding and dicing fairly between us and the other students. Then the cooking began.
Our meal included:
LAWAR SALAD – green beans, fresh coconut & chicken salad
TUM IKAN – fish steamed in banana leaf
DADAR GULUNG – coconut crepes with palm sugar, pandan and coconut
Again, we each took turns at the pan, stirring as needed. Once everything was close to done, the staff returned to plate everything and bring it to the table. We were given glasses of water and dug in.
The food was delicious. Perhaps more so because we had a hand in its creation. It was wonderful to have the chance to learn to make Balinese food, experiencing the entire process from start to finish.
Overall, it was an incredible experience and definitely something I’d do again. I look forward to more cooking classes during my travels in the future.
For more information: Balinese Cooking Class in Seminyak at the Amala
What about you?
Have you ever taken a class when traveling? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.