What not to miss in Bali: Cooking traditional Balinese food

One of the best things you can do while on a trip is to immerse yourself in the local culture. An effective way to do this is learning how to cook an authentic local meal at a hands-on cooking class.


In our recent trip to Bali, we had the chance to learn how to cook traditional Balinese food, thanks to Bali Bee House, our host in Seminyak. 

Accommodation owners in Bali team up with tour agencies (like Amazing Bali Tours) to provide cooking classes to foreign visitors.


Our chef for the class was Mr. Putu. He gave an introduction to Balinese cuisine, discussed a variety of spices, and named some fresh meat and local vegetables set on the table. 

The ingredients for our cooking include turmeric, (more than three kinds of) ginger, red chillies, lemongrass, grated coconut, lime, bay leaf, some local herbs (I'll update the names later), papaya, taro, spinach, onions, lots of garlic, taro roots. For the meat, we used pork, chicken, and fish. Balinese are predominantly Hindu, so they never or almost rarely consume beef.

Balinese cuisine demonstrates influences from Chinese and Indian cooking. You can imagine the heavy reliance on herbs and spices. Glad they are not experiencing high cost of chilis these days! 

Inside Bali Bee House... the table is now ready for the amateur chefs!
Me preparing the satay wraps
just slicing a tomato... the real story though is about the use of the large mortar and pestle...
The large stone mortar and pestle you can see on the pictures is said to be "the backbone of Indonesian kitchen". 

Mr. Putu said they use it to make one of the key elements of Balinese cooking—the sambal or spice paste. 

It wasn't that easy to grind and pound to get the right consistency of the paste... 

first wanita to give her best to grind and pound... lol
the Indonesian sambal paste
used the paste for the papaya soup

The Papaya soup seemed like our local chicken stew or "tinola" except that it had the Sambal paste. 

the soup started with a saute :)
simmering

Another dish we prepared is the PEPES IKAN or the grilled fish wrapped in banana leaf. 

PEPES IKAN
We also grilled chicken satay...

preparing the satay... before grilling...
grilled chicken satay on lemongrass sticks!
my gorgeous friends ready to devour...
lovely interior of Bali bee house
the cooking class was fun.. made even more by a lovely company...

All the five of us took turns to contribute (at least taking photos LOL) and of course enjoy the huge meal we all had prepared! 

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    • Cooking class costs IDR 400, 000 (27USD) per person or IDR 700, 000 (47USD) for two pax.

      (Inclusions: hotel pick-up and drop off if you are not staying in Bali Bee House, 2 meals, recipe handout, 2 hrs cooking lesson)

      Morning Classes (08.00 AM : 7 am pick-up, 1am back to hotel) and Afternoon Classes from (04.00 PM : 3 PM pick up, 9 pm back to hotel)

      Contact BALI BEE HOUSE for other rates and packages

      If you are in UBUD, you may take the cooking class in MOCBA BAR AND RESTAURANT.

Parting Words


For an immersive travel experience in Bali, don't miss joining a cooking lesson. You won't only learn new recipes, you'll also have space where people of different cultures can interact and maybe talk about the food culture in their countries. I would definitely recommend anyone visiting Seminyak (or anywhere in Bali) to take a cooking class or any kind of cultural class for that matter!

Have you ever tried taking cooking classes when you travel abroad? How was your experience? Would you like to try cooking Balinese dishes? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!   

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