Taking a cooking class in a new country is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have while traveling abroad. Sure there are beach and water sports, touring around to learn about history and art, even eating out with the locals.
Yet when it comes right down to it, food is the bond that ties us all together. Anthony Bourdain showed us this many times through his travels.
If you want to learn about the local culture, a food class is how you can fully immerse yourself into the thick of it.
These days when we travel our trips are family experiences. We only have so many years we can travel with our kids before they fly the coop to live their own lives and have their own experiences.
When we plan a trip, the kids are part of the planning process. Even if it’s to say I want to see Mickey Mouse. By enabling them to be involved, they ultimately have a say in how their trip experience turns out.
We consider activities the kids want to do, adventures the adults want to do and combine it all so we can enjoy the experiences together.
My adventure choice for this trip, a cooking class of course. I was thrilled with how enthusiastic the entire family was about taking a cooking class with me before we left Canada and when we arrived in Bali.
An Indonesian Cooking Class
We booked three weeks in Indonesia and they were broken into four experiences. Our second leg was in Ubud and that is where we decided to research cooking classes.
We browsed brochures, reviewed online classes and finally decided to book our class at Bali Manggang with Chef Made Latra. Ubud ended up being the perfect setting for a cooking class.
Chef Made picked us up at our villa for the afternoon session. Along the way he took us to a coffee stop where we sampled local teas, coffees and were given the option to try the Kopi Luwak (poop coffee). Once our tasting was done we carried on to Chef Made’s home, the location of the cooking class.
How to choose a cooking class
When there are so many cooking classes to choose from, how do you pick? Gather cooking class brochures to review or google. Check off what is important to you. For us it was menu, cost, times offered, transportation, cleanliness and reviews.
We narrowed it down to two and tossed the other brochures away. We made contact and the first one to respond was the one we booked with. Chef Made was on it and we heard from him almost immediately.
Why take a cooking class
Taking a cooking class does not mean you need to start cooking Indonesian food at home. The experience is learning about ingredients other cultures use, techniques and cooking methods.
For example we learned about galangal, a spice relative to ginger that can be used in any recipe calling for ginger.
Additionally it was fascinating to see the Chef use coconut husks to start the grill. He says this is because the husks release less smoke.
We had no clue our cooking class would be in the Chef’s home and were awestruck to experience walking through his homestead to get to the class room.
As we wandered to our class, we caught a glimpse of the sleeping quarters, a communal kitchen, shared dining area and even passed a few of the family members along the way. Experiencing how Balinese live was almost as exciting as the class itself.
When we arrived in the kitchen we discovered the view of the Petanu Ravine. A cooking class with a view – doesn’t get much better than that.
Once we settled in, took pictures of the view and were given a welcome beverage we aproned up and got straight to work.
Chef had several tasks for us to do from grinding peanuts for peanut sauce, chopping, cooking with the prepared ingredients, plating and even styling the plate with garnishes. This part made me laugh. He knew we would be taking pictures.
Our menu was simple with big flavours. We made the following dishes:
- Basko Soup (Tuna fish ball)
- Tofu and Soya Bean Curry
- Nasi Goreng (Balinese Fried Rice)
- Bakmi Goreng (Balinese Fried Noodle)
- Chicken Satay (Sate Bumbu Rujak) with Peanut Sauce
- Sayur Urap (Vegetable with Coconut Sauce)
- Pisang Rai (Banana Dumpling with Coconut & Sugar)
There were six of us in the cooking class. Four Canadians (us) and a lovely couple from London.
We all dove in to try the food and had a glorious time chatting with our mates from Britain about their adventures so far.
We bonded over food, shared stories and made lasting memories.
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