By far one of my favorite things we did in Bali was take a cooking class. It really allowed us to speak with Balinese people about their culture, ask questions and experience the class from the chef’s home. Plus, we made some really delicious food. There is not a shortage of cooking classes on the island but we picked Lobong Culinary Experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Lobong Cooking School
When we got to Bali, we decided to book a cooking class. One of the must haves? Transportation to and from the class. I saw the streets in Bali… I was not about to attempt driving. We registered for the Lobong cooking class two days before and didn’t have an issues getting in. On the day of the class, we were picked up and driven to a market outside Ubud where we started our culinary experience.
Going to a market outside of Ubud was essential to this experience. The market was crowded but not with onlookers. It was crowded with people actually doing their shopping or eating at local street vendors. It quickly became clear that this was not a place we would be able to eat at but it was fascinating to see. After all of the participants were brought to the meeting point (my friend and I were the only Americans, joined by couples from France, Holland and Belgium), we began our tour. We weaved in and out of vendors selling rice, fresh fruits, meats and spices. I even tried a new fruit! It’s called a snake fruit – sweet like an apple or pear but very rough on the outside. There are a few cooking classes we saw that did not include a tour of the market. I would suggest making the market tour a priority when booking.
The Lobong Cooking Class
The first thing I noticed when we arrived after leaving the market was that we were actually in someone’s home. But it wasn’t a home that we are used to in the US. They are referred to as compounds and house entire families from grandparents to children. The house was beautifully crafted, intertwining nature into it’s very core. The home is built on different levels. As many Balinese are Hindu, the highest point of the home is the temple and the lowest point is the bathroom. After washing our hands and grabbing and apron, we began.
Balinese cooking is not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for a quick 30 minute meal, you aren’t going to find it here. But what you trade in time, you gain back ten times in flavor.
Ayam Bakar Sambal Matah: green shredded grilled chicken, lemon grass, chilli kaffir lime dressing
Ayam Bakar Bumbu Bali: BBQ chicken breast with balinese spice
Sate Lilit Ayam: Minced chicken, graded coconut, kaffir lime
Jukut Urab: mixed vegetables, grated coconut, garlic chili dressing
Sambal Ulek: tomato and chili sambal
Nasi Sela: Sweet potato rice
Bubur Injin: black rice porridge with coconut milk and palm sugar
It took a little over two hours to cook all of this. We were split into different stations, cutting different vegetables or cooking different meats. Fun fact: the best rice is steamed, not boiled. The staff plated the dishes after all courses were finished while we were taken to the temple to watch offerings being given to the gods (a Hindu tradition). After, we all sat down together to enjoy the meal we just made.
If you ever make your way to Bali, I highly recommend this cooking class. When I took this class in September, it was 425,000 IDR (or about $32.00). This included pick up and drop off, the market tour, all ingredients and the meal itself. Plus, we were even given a recipe book to bring home. Anyone want to have a Balinese dinner party?
If you want more info on the specific class I took, visit their website Lobong Bali Cooking.