Cooking class in Bali: much more than a simply making a meal

Have you ever considered taking a cooking class abroad?

Know that a cooking class is not always just a cooking class.

In Bali, it also means getting to know the ingredients typically local, visit an authentic Balinese house, discover the importance of rice fields – long story short, it means getting in touch with the the local culture.

The class starts early. Before 8 am, the driver was already waiting for us. But you are mistaken if you think we headed straight to the kitchen. The first destination was the colorful and bustling Ubud Market. There we met our fellow collegues, about 14 people from different nationalities.

With the aid of the guide, we discovered some ingredients we did not know, savored different fruits, and saw women preparing the typical offerings (canang sari) made ​​with native flowers and banana leaves, and we still went through the clothes department of the market to better understand the customs and the way Balinese dress.

Paon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking Class Paon Bali Cooking Class

After shopping, we went to Laplapan Village. We stopped in a huge rice fields, where the friendly Wayan gave us a real lesson in Balinese agriculture, with details about the planting, collective irrigation system and the  rice harvest.

Paon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking Class

It was there that we can understand that rice is not a just simply a food for them. It is the basis of all Balinese culture. Rice cultivation is done according to ancient rituals, intrinsically linked to the local religion. In the rice fields there are shrine in honor of the Goddessof Rice – Dewi Sri – one of the main deities worshiped on the island, and the religious festivals coincide with the timing of planting.

From there we went to theWayan e Puspa‘s home, the couple responsible for the cooking course. Before all the cooking, they showed us their compound, and we discovered how a typical Balinese house is. Unlike Western homes, houses in Bali are like villages where members of same family live together. The head of the family has the best room. Ali lives with his wife and children. If the children are already married, they get a smaller house within the same compound.

Típica casa balinesa

Family and religion are of great importance in Balinese culture. Therefore, the residences have areas for family reunion and for prayer with temples where people can make offerings and thank the blessings already received. Divorce is looked down upon by the Balinese. A woman who leaves the marital home does not receive the share of goods and may even lose custody of children.After all this lesson on Balinese culture we went to the kitchen. There is no need of prior cooking experience. The talkative and friendly Puspa conducts the course in a fun way and promotes the interaction of everbody. Paon Bali Cooking ClassNo one sits still, not even husbands who had never cooked. Chop, peel, stir, taste … there is always a simple task to be done. Paon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassWe have prepared nine revenues, including dessert. All dishes typical. The ingredients were very varied: chicken, mushrooms, vegetables, peanuts, curry, tofu, banana leaves, lots of pepper and coconut milk. Coconut milk, in fact, is done there.

Paon Bali Cooking Class

In the end, everybody got together in one big table to try all the dishes prepared. It was difficult to choose the best one because everything was so delicious!Paon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking ClassPaon Bali Cooking Class

The lunch was long and so was the talk! When we left the place it was nearly 15 hours … We left happy, with the soul fed. It was one of the best experiences we had in Bali!

Helpful info

The cooking class is called Paon Bali Cooking Class and is located at the region ofUbud. The class is all in English. The course lasts approximately 6 hours. Lessons may be taken in the morning or in the afternoon (after 16h). After completing this course, students receive the recipes of dishes prepared. The charge is IDR 350,000 (about $ 73) per person. This amount includes transportation round trip to any hotel in the area of Ubud.

Entries can be made ​​on the course site.

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É louca por viagens! Nem acaba de chegar de uma viagem e já está pensando nas próximas (no plural, é claro!). Tem o passaporte carimbado em mais de 20 países e é apaixonada pela Ásia, ou melhor, por todos os destinos exóticos. Qual a melhor viagem? "Não há dúvida", diz ela, "a melhor viagem é sempre a próxima".

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