Bali Cooking School

Traditional Indonesian spices and flavours

Try cooking traditional food the Balinese way!

The Bali Cooking School Taste of Bali class was about a couple of Australians learning to cook with traditional Indonesian spices and flavours in the traditional village way.

Exactly what we were looking for!

I never want to be that traveler!

One of the most awesome things about traveling to other countries is the food experience. The flavours and spices is one of the best rewards.

We try to eat as local as we can!

Many travelers I’ve known are quick to opt out of traditional foods in favour of buying a hamburger at the local McDonalds.

When traveling we try to incorporate a local cooking class into our experience so that we can learn about the traditional flavours and learn how to replicate the flavours at home.  (Not always successfully I might add)!

The Bali Cooking School is situated in Bali’s south, on the Bukit Peninsular central to Kuta and Nusa Dua and approximately a half hour drive from each it was easy to get to from our hotel at Nusa Dua.

First stop – the traditional markets

Starting early in the morning, our first stop was at the marketplace situated on the sloping side of a hill.

Strong fishy odours (perhaps not so fresh fish) wafted through the air on the humid summer morning.  Chickens were being carved up on big heavy boards in preparation for sale.

Tables of galangal, turmeric, ginger, garlic, onions, sweet corn and other fresh fruit and vegetables were stacked neatly in rows on each.  Women with woven baskets were intently inspecting the offerings before arguing loudly with the stall-holders to set an agreed price.

Small children giggled and played happily as they chased the piglets and chickens in and out of the stalls.

Our driver cum tour guide talked about the traditional food we would need to buy so that we could cook the specialties for the day and walked us through each of the stalls talking to us about the unfamiliar spices, herbs and roots that were on display.

Trevor and I met an enterprising lady who encouraged us to pose ‘Balinese style’ much to other stall holders enjoyment!  She was insistent that we had our photo taken together!

It was a fun morning with a small class of only 3 so a great opportunity to learn more about the Balinese culture, the traditional foods, spices and anything else we wanted to know.

Our fellow student was from Montreal and only spoke a few words of English which made it fun to communicate as we had very little French and a smattering of Indonesian (Bahasa).  Lots of hand signals and smiles!

Balinese woven offerings

Our first task was to make offerings to the gods which comprised of weaving a pandanus tray to hold flowers and other gifts to offer.

We then made a small woven box to cook a serve of rice in, which was very clever  (I couldn’t get mine right).  It was filled with rice, cooked in boiling water before being served, sliced in half with our lunch.

Our teacher was a very switched-on young man (21 years old) studying hospitality and very good at sharing his skills and knowledge about cooking – the Balinese way.

We taught him some Aussie lingo just to keep his day interesting!

The Balinese Cooking School Menu

We made a selection of traditional sauces and flavour bases then used them in the various foods that were cooked.

  • Sup Jagung (Sweet Corn Soup) – the flavour was amazing – far better than I cook!
  • Sate Lilit (Chicken minced sate) – click here for the recipe
  • Be Pasih Mepanggang – (Marinated Grilled Fish) seasoned with lime juice
  • Mie Goreng – (Fried noodle) traditional Balinese noodle dish
  • Dadar Gulung (Coconut pancakes) – served with fried bananas.

It was rewarding to sit down together to enjoy the food we cooked and reflect on the Indonesian spices and flavours.

Delicious!  Doing a Taste of Bali cooking school is highly recommended!

Have you ever taken a cooking class when on an overseas holiday?  Perhaps you could send me a recommendation?