When you’re eating Nasi Campur (that traditional Balinese meal where you point at the plethora of items in the case), there’s always a distinct touch of something that makes it taste like Bali. Any foodie will be able to pick out the hints of garlic, lemongrass, and chilies, but it took a cooking class to pull the curtain back on the complete flavor profile. For any traveler, this is highly recommended as a way to get in touch with the local culture in the purest of ways, through it’s food.
From Kuta to Canggu there are at least a dozen hotels and resorts offering cooking classes and shopping excursions, my friend Peter and I decided to check out The Amala Resort and Spa in Seminyak. Their two hour class features an appetizer, main, and desert but the real secret is in the preparation, where you learn how to make Base Gede, the “all spice” paste that makes a humble chicken dish a Balinese delicacy.
Upon arrival you’ll be treated to a refreshing welcome drink laden with honey and lime, and a tour around the hidden gardens of the 16 villa boutique hotel. Waiting for you by the pool is everything you need to get satisfy your inner chef, including an apron you can keep as a reminder of your afternoon.The class is run by the head chef of their in-house restaurant “Bamboo,” Putra, a local gentlemen who has been cooking for his village, his family and professionally for over 30 years. He quickly runs you through all the MANY local ingredients that you’ll be using to create something special and unique, and the traditional holidays that the dishes you’ll be preparing are served.If you’ve got a small burner in your villa, a mini blender, and a steamer you can make everything on the menu, by yourself, with little effort. It’s an awesome way to impress your friends and the fragrant smells that come with sautéing turmeric, garlic, palm sugar, coriander and more are guaranteed to remind you of your trip, years after you’ve returned home.After an hour of chopping, peeling, sautéing, braising, steaming and whisking, you’ll enjoy the stunning meal you helped create from scratch pool-side, with fruit infused cocktails, and hopefully fantastic conversation.
The Amala Resort and Spa in Seminyak offers two menus for you to choose from and vegetarian options for your meat averse friends. If you love eating, and everything that Bali has to offer, take a culinary adventure and learn how to make your favorite dishes, the knowledge will last a lifetime, and the experience will stay with you forever.
For some other fantastic cooking class options check out InBali’s article (http://www.inbali.org/cooking-classes-in-bali/). For the truly adventures and serious chefs you’ll want to read about the all day experience offered at Bali Asil Restaurant and Cooking School http://www.inbali.org/bali-asli-cooking-class/.
We made, Sate Lilitayam (chicken sate on lemongrass sticks), Tum Ikan (steamed fish in banana leaf), and Dadar Gulung (coconut pancakes with palm sugar stuffed with shaved fresh coconut).
To book a cooking class at Amala Resort. Click the link.
Josh Gray-Emmer is a political consultant living in Bali, you can follow his adventures on his website www.JoshGray-Emmer.com