Cooking classes in Bali: suitable even for those who dislike cooking

First of all, I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of cooking. While living in Lithuania, I used to cook (simple dishes) mainly at home, because it was cheaper than eating out and I didn’t have enough free time to go to restaurants. However, since I’ve moved to Indonesia, I stopped cooking almost completely. It is often much cheaper to eat out at local places than prepare meals at home (especially because I know a number of cheap places that serve delicious food), and it is more convenient: you avoid shopping, preparation and washing dishes. Also, I am one of those people who follow a recipe to the letter and who will not start cooking until I carefully prepare all ingredients which takes a really long time. Also, I can only look after one pot at a time! I was always really envious of people who possess that magic touch, who can open their fridge, have a quick look round and effortlessly create culinary masterpieces.

This long introduction is to show that cooking and I often go our separate ways. And I really wouldn’t have believed that one day I will be the one who not only takes part in cooking classes but also recommends them to others. I’ve discovered that, even for somebody who is not a natural chef, cooking classes in Bali are not only a great pastime, but also an opportunity to get to know Bali and its everyday life.

I’ve taken part at a few different cooking classes and want to bust some of the false myths about them. Do any of these seem familiar and is a reason why you haven’t yet chosen this activity while in Bali?

Maisto gaminimo pamoka Balyje

Cooking Classes in Bali – False Myths

“I cook loads at home already and don’t want to make food while on holiday”
Believe me, you won’t need to cook as much as you do at home. Everything is done much simpler, easier and quicker. Chefs have their assistants, who will gladly take over from you if you had enough of cooking. You will be able to observe the remaining process and eat delicious food at the end.

“It’s not worth it because I won’t be able to make this at home”
After the lesson, all participants receive recipes with clear description of the ingredients, exact measurements, and cooking process. During the lesson, chefs also advise which local ingredients can be swapped for products that are easier to come by in Europe.

“I don’t know how to cook, so there will be nothing for me to do”
If you know how to use a knife and can distinguish between a chopping board and a bowl – it’s more than enough. You don’t have to be a master chef. Chefs and their assistants will always be around to show the best way to chop ingredients, etc. Also, cooking classes in Bali are not only about learning how to make traditional food, but also deeper knowledge of Bali and opportunity to taste real, authentic dishes.

“It will be too hot”
Almost all cooking classes in Bali happen in outdoor gazebo with perfect natural air circulation. These tents even have powerful fans (although you shouldn’t expect them to have air conditioning). I never felt too hot during the lessons I’ve attended so far.

Do you have some other doubts about cooking classes in Bali or reasons why you wouldn’t try them? Share your thoughts and I’m sure I’ll manage to prove you wrong.

Maisto gaminimo mokykla Balio saloje

Why attending cooking classes in Bali is a great idea?

It’s a chance to see everyday life in Bali and to know more about local delicacies. Before the class, many chefs offer a trip to local markets where you can get to know Balinese/Indonesian spices, fruit, vegetables and seafood. Chefs tell you everything you need to know about any unfamiliar products, so you won’t need to stand there guessing “what on earth is this?”.

During one class, you will taste 5-9 different local dishes. So later, when you are at a local restaurant, you will be able to either order something new or go for your favorite dish tasted during the cooking class.

It is very easy to include these classes to your trip. They are often organized twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, nearly every day. So, you can choose a time that suits you best. Cooking classes and tasting the dishes (that you have made) takes around 2-4 hours, so you can easily spend the rest of the day doing other things.

Making food will be pretty simple. Chefs and their assistants are always on hand telling you what, when and how to chop, etc. You will never be left on your own with an unfamiliar recipe and ingredients. And if you ever get too tired, the assistants will happily take over and finish making the dish.

The menu will be adjusted to your needs. If you are vegetarian, vegan, have food allergies or avoid certain foods – chefs will always offer alternative ingredients or dishes suitable to your eating habits.

Maisto ruošimo pamoka Balyje

With whom I had the cooking classes in Bali?

With chef Ketut (Ubud)

Cooking classes in BaliHe is the most positive person on earth. Ketut will make sure you have a great time during your cooking class. Before opening his own cooking studio where he employs his relatives and friends, this chef spent quite a few years working in different restaurants. His studio praises itself for its hygienic environment, everybody works with disposable gloves. The space is very simple (as you can see from my photos), but this shouldn’t deter you from cooking with Ketut. Two people share one workspace. What you make together, that’s what you eat at the end. You can add stuff to your own dish if you like it to be more spicy or salty.

The place: 10 min. driving from Ubud center
Time: morning classes (8.30 am-1.00 pm) and evening classes (3 pm – 7.30 pm). Monday to Saturday
Menu: you will learn how to cook 9 Balinese dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu.
Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 30 people
Language: English
Advantage: free transportation to/from the lesson to your hotel in Ubud (possible pick-up/drop-off from other places but for an additional cost). Includes a visit to the local market.
Price: 350 000 Rp (~ 22 EUR)/person. Minimum 2 people. Contact me if you want to get 10% discount for the cooking class with Ketut.


With chef Mudana (Sanur)

Balinese food classesThis Balinese chef is very attentive and helpful. Previously he worked abroad and in a few restaurants in Indonesia, and now, together with his family, he opened a small, but very cozy cooking studio at his home. The food is kept and made following strict hygienic standards. They also have a small corner where you can get various cooking souvenirs. Two people share one workspace, but, at the end of class, all food is put on individual plates and shared amongst all the participants.

 

The place: 10 min. driving from Sanur center
Time: morning classes (7 am-2.00 pm) and evening classes (5 pm – 9 pm). On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays – Indonesian dishes. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – Balinese dishes.
Menu: you will learn how to cook 7 dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu.
Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 12 people
Language: English
Advantage: free transportation to/from the lesson to your hotel in Sanur (possible pick-up/drop-off from other places but for an additional cost). Includes visit to the local Jimbaran fish market (not possible during evening classes).
Price: 750 000 Rp (~ 47 EUR)/person, morning class. 500 000 Rp (~ 31 EUR)/person, evening class. Minimum 2 people.


With chef Wayan (Bangli)

Wayan cooking class in BaliWayan is a very experienced chef. He is quiet but very professional and friendly. He’s established his cooking studio in a rice field. It is a perfect environment for cooking and then eating the food, you simply don’t what to leave there afterward. Everything is also very hygienic. I especially liked that he donates some of the takings to the local community in his village: to fix the roads, help those in need, etc. Two people share one workspace and, after the class, all food is put on individual plates and shared amongst all the participants.

 

The place: 40 min. driving from Ubud center
Time: morning classes (9 am-1.30 pm) and evening classes (2 pm – 6.30 pm). Monday to Sunday.
Menu: you will learn how to cook 7 Balinese dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu.
Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 27 people
Language: English
Advantage: includes the local market visit. You can watch or even participate in the rice planting process. Near the cooking class, you can also visit traditional Balinese homes, spend half of the day with Balinese people and help them on their daily activities (but this is a separate service for additional fees).
Price: 680 000 Rp (~ 43 EUR)/person (transportation not included). Minimum 2 people. Contact me if you want to get 10% discount for the cooking class with Wayan.


There are other chefs who also organise cooking classes in Bali. I haven’t tried them myself, but heard some good things about them. Here are a few of them:

Maisto gaminimo pamokos Balio saloje

Finally, a few observations and pieces of advice:

  • The cost of cooking classes in Bali differs. So, before booking, check if the cost includes free travel to and from the cooking studio and free water (you will have to pay extra for any other drinks). Also, ask what else is included in the price.
  • I would strongly advise to attend cooking class during your first days in Bali. It will make it easier to choose meals from restaurant menus because you’ll be already familiar with the dishes, or choose to taste something new.
  • I would recommend to go for the morning cooking class. In the mornings, markets are busier and the stalls offer more varied products. Also, in the morning you will have more energy and after a great lunch will be able to continue with your exploration of Bali.
  • Before coming to cooking class, don’t eat at least for a few hours. Believe me, there will be enough food to not only have while you are there but also plenty of leftovers to take home with you.
  • If you choose to have your cooking class at the hotel, double check if it is happening somewhere else or at the hotel itself. Unfortunately, not all hotels have cozy spaces for cooking.
  • If you enjoyed your class, you can always leave a tip (but it’s not obligatory).

You know, even I, who clearly has a very conflicted relationship with cooking, really enjoyed to move around the kitchen during the cooking class in Bali. And I got to taste new dishes. Maybe I should rediscover my love of cooking also here, in Indonesia?

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  • Do you think a cooking class in Bali will make it onto your wish list now?
  • Maybe you have already attended cooking classes in Bali and would like to share your experience and thoughts?
  • Have you participated in any cooking classes in other countries? How was it?

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First time in Indonesia

I think Indonesia is a country of adventures and opportunities. Just you need to open eyes and heart, have a will to see, taste, discover, try new things, get out from your comfort zone and be curious.

I found out that during my stay in Indonesia some of the things I did or some of them happened first time in my life. No matter what, but all of them gave me new colors in my daily life. So, here is my list of things “first time in life – in Indonesia”:

First of all – Indonesia is the first Asian country which I visited in my life

And being in Indonesia gives me more opportunities to travel in Asia. Other Asian countries now are much closer than if I would travel from Europe.

I met eye to eye orangutans in Borneo island (Kalimantan)

Couple days in a jungle, living in a boat, meeting wild monkeys, birds, other animals and of course orangutans – was experience that I will never forget.

I took selfie (never before I did that)

It was on motorbike, when I was bringing mattress on my back to first home in Yogyakarta, Java island.

First time in Indonesia - selfie
Friend Otong helped me to take mattress to a new home

I learned how to drive automatic scooter

Driving scooter in Indonesia it means – I can drive now scooter anywhere in the world.

I tried trekking to a volcanoes

Even if mount Merapi defeated me  but at least I tried. But the second time was more successful. I went to Mt. Batur in Bali for sunrise. And even if in the trek beginning I was thinking why I do it, in the end I was happy that reached the top.

Batur sunrise trek in Bali

 

I was a “model” for the Yogyakarta sketchers community members

They wanted to practice and not every time it’s easy to find people who would like to spend their time doing nothing, just pose for a while.

First time in Indonesia - "model"

took a bathe” under the waterfall and was walking in volcano crater

It was in Dieng Plateau, Java island. Never before I saw waterfall and volcano crater in real. What to say about bathing under waterfall? It was powerful feeling.

First time in Indonesia

I tried sandboarding in “grey” sand beach Parangtritis

Never before I try snowboarding, so experience with sandborading was amazing. Just sand in the mouth when you felt down doesn’t “taste” so nice as snow. I got this opportunity while I was shooting in a video.

I celebrated New Year in October with Javanese Royal family members

New year in the middle of autumn? Something new, especially when you are invited to do that with Javanese Royal family members and have an honor to walk in a parade through the city with traditional Javanese clothes.

Javanese New Year

I eat fruits which I never tried before

Even I didn’t know that such fruits exist: “salak”(“snake fuit”), “jambu” (“guava”), “buah naga” (“dragon fruit”), soursop (“sirsak”) and many others.

First time in Indonesia - fruits

I try scuba diving first time ever

I really scare to be in deep water places so this experience was one of the biggest challenges for me but I faced my fairs in Bali.

I was a witness of Ramadhan and Lebaran celebrations

I heard before a bit about Muslim main celebrations Ramadhan, Lebaran but never knew how it looks like in real. But only staying in Indonesia I had this opportunity.

A photo posted by Ria | travel writer-blogger (@lifeinbigtent) on

I eat cobra meat and I liked it

I tried “Burger cobra”, “Sate cobra bakar”, ”Steak cobra saus cina” and drink “Ramuan empedu cobra” (traditional medicine from cobra gall and marrow). I was celebrating 6 months living in Indonesia anniversary.

First time in Indonesia - cobra meat

I was bitten by bee

Never in my life before nowhere I was bitten. Probably it was Indonesian style of “farewell” before my trip to Vietnam.

First time in Indonesia - bitten by bees

I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak

First time in Indonesia - kopi luwak

I got a first job offer – to be a guide in Vietnam

I never been a tour guide before, but probably my organizational skills can be used in any area. I liked it, that’s why till now I accompany people during their trips in Indonesia as well.

I was walking in the black sand beach

First I saw grey sand beach in Yogyakarta, Parangtritis beach but soft black sand I enjoyed in Bali, Tulamben beach. When all my life I saw only yellow beaches, see black – something unreal.

I try rafting

I’m quite scared of all water activities but I wanted to try rafting. I did it in Bali when the rainy season started. And it wasn’t so dangerous, even more easier than I thought.

Rafting in Bali

I had unique experience

I participate in Balinese sacred purification ritual which aimed to purify a human body and soul in order to prevent havoc, bad luck and sickness (also achieve self-purification).

Hindu purification

One of my dreams come true

I always wanted to see dolphins in their natural surrounding and I did it, in Lovina, Bali.

I started to write articles and blogging

I would never believe that one day I will start to write and blogging. But it happen exactly in Indonesia.

I’m willing to add more things in a future to this “first time in life – in Indonesia” list.

First time in Indonesia
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  • Maybe you tried something for the first time in other Asian countries?
  • What you would like to try in Indonesia?

 

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What can you do with 1 euro in Indonesia

Some people, when they arrive to Indonesia, feel like millionaires. Here, everything is counted by thousands and millions. In Indonesia there are only 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 thousands banknote and 100, 200, 500, 1 000 coins. Paradox but more than 57% of all Indonesian inhibits earn till 1,78 EUR per day.

Money are using not only for shopping
Indonesians cure fever with metal coins. They scratch the back with coins for wind get out from the body. Indonesians believe that wind, makes them get fever and metal coins attracts bad spirits. This “procedure” (others say it “massage”) called “kerok”.

As well, like probably in many countries, money is given like presents.

In the end of Ramadhan, during Idul-Fitri, when relatives visiting relatives, if in the family there are any kids – guests brings colorful envelopment with money inside (usually 10 000 Rp – ~0,69 EUR) for kids. Even before this celebration banks specially is changing big amount of cash to smaller. Nobody surprised when kids, during Idul-Fitri, comes to guests and showing their wallets (asking money).

In the traditional Muslim weddings you rare will see guests with flowers or presents. Almost everyone brings envelopment with money. When you come, first of all you need to “register” in guest book and beside this book is always stands the box to put the money. There are not written rules how much you need to put, but it’s good gesture if one person brings at least 50 000 Rp (~3,43 EUR).

Before Christmas, Catholics in Indonesia are used to give money for kids like a present. The amount is ~20 000 Rp (1,37 EUR). It should be new banknote in beautiful envelopment. Some street sellers, especially for Christmas sells new banknote already packed. Of course for this “service” you need to pay extra ~2 000–5 000 Rp (0,14–0,34 EUR).

Different prices in different cities and for different people
For example, in Yogyakarta prices are ~1,5 times less than in Jakarta or Bali island.
As well different prices sellers gives for local people and for foreigners. Even if you already know how to barge in Indonesian language, still usually the final sum will be a bit bigger than for locals. Some Indonesians even don’t hide, that foreigners they see like walking ATM’s, so they try to take as much as possible cash from them :).

What can you do with 1 euro in Indonesia?
So what is possible to buy for 1 EUR in Yogyakarta city? Like EUR currency all the time changing let’s take average -1 EUR=14 500 Rp.

  • Eat food in local restaurant “Rumah makan” (where is menu from which you can choose).
    1 portion simple rise (“nasi putih”), fried mushrooms (“jamur goreng”), sambal sause with guava natural juice – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR).
  • Have a dish in street restaurant “Warung makan” (food made and putted in the window, there are no menu, you take what is putted)
    1 portion simple rice, vegetables (“sayur”), 2 balls of smash potatoes (“perkedel”), 1 chicken thigh in sweet suce (“ayam bakar”) and natural guava juice – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
  • Eat in street restaurant (where you see how food is preparing for you)
    1 portion fried rise (“nasi goreng” – called national Indonesian dish) with chicken scrap, omelet, several vegetables and cold drink  “es jeruk” – 11 000 Rp (0,76 EUR).
  • Take away food from street vendors “kaki-lima”.
    1 portion rice cooked in coconut oil (“nasi uduk”), 2 peace “tempeh” and 2 peace of “tahu” – 7 000 Rp (0,48 EUR).

It’s really possible to find where to eat cheaper but I don’t go to places where I see that food is made and kept not in the best conditions :)

If you don’t have big requirements for food and don’t eat big portions, per day in Yogyakarta is possible to eat 3 times for 24 000 Rp (1,65 EUR): for breakfast instant coffee and 4 coffee cake; for lunch – rice, vegetables, chicken, simple drink; for dinner – rice, “tahu” and “tempeh”.

What possible to buy for 1 EUR in Surabaya city? (Thank you Abriani Ori Ratnasari for information)
1 EUR  Abriani calculate like 15 000 Rp. Here is the list what you can do with 1 EUR:

  • Buy food in KFC “goceng package”. You can choose: ice cream, soup, love float, melon float, grape float, burger and others.
  • Buy food: rice, chicken and ice tea – 5 000 Rp (0,33 EUR)
  • Buy books
  • Buy pensil case
  • Buy ticket for public transportation like “angkot” or bus – it’s only 5 000 Rp (0,33 EUR) one way, for 1 person
  • Buy 3 underwear units (for girls)

More things what can you do with 1 euro

  • Eat sandwich with cobra meat– 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR).
  • Order 2 natural juice in local restaurant – 10 000-14 000 Rp (0,69-0,96 EUR).
  • Try Robusta coffee from Flores island in local restaurant– 10 000 Rp (0,69 EUR).
  • In small shop buy 13 packages of instant coffee – 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR).
  • In small shop buy 10 packages of instant noodles (Indonesians just love this ”dish”)– ~14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
  • Buy ~ 1,2 kilo simple rice – ~14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
  • In big supermarket buy “Coca cola” 1,5 l – 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR). Or in small shop buy 3 small bottles (425 ml) – 12 000 Rp (0,82 EUR).
  • Buy 4 bottles of water in not touristic are (500 ml) – 12 000 Rp (0,82 EUR).
  • Buy 1 kilo tomatoes and cucumber in local market – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR) (locals can buy cheaper ;)).
  • Buy 1-2 kilo of seasonal fruits (banana, mango…) – 7 000-13 000 Rp (0,48-0,96 EUR).
  • In small shop buy food „package“ – 2 packages of instat coffee, pie, jam – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR) or 0,5 kilo of rice, small package of sauce and 2 pieces of “tahu” and “tempeh” – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR).
  • Put the fuel almost 2 l in petrol station – 14 800 Rp (1,02 EUR).
  • Buy bus ticket from Yogyakarta to Magelang city – 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR).
  • With “becak” go short distance (that takes no longer than 10 min.) – 10 000 Rp (0,69 EUR).
  • Pay for motorbike parking 7-14 times – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR). The price depends where you want to park – touristic places more expensive.
  • Go with taxi ~2-4 km – 12 000-14 400 Rp (0,82-0,99 EUR).
  • Buy local cigarettes 1-2 (with „kretek“) – 8 000-14 000 Rp (0,55-0,96 EUR).
  • Buy small souvenirs in Malioboro street, for example T-shirt– 13 000 Rp (0,89 EUR)
  • Visit 1 person, 1 time Sultan palace “Kraton” – 13 500 Rp (0,93 EUR) or Water castle “Taman sari” – 14 000 Rp (0,96 EUR).
  • Put to mobile “pulsa”– 11 000 Rp (0,76 EUR).
  • Buy cleaning stuff for home, for example in small shop liquid for cleaning the floor – 9 700 Rp (0,67 EUR).
  • Buy hygienic stuff (in small shop): tooth paste, soap, wet napkins – 13 700 Rp (0,94 EUR).
  • Take laundry service for ~5,5 kilos – 13 750 Rp (0,94 EUR).
  • Buy 1 pair of slippers – 12 000 Rp (0,82 EUR).

And some other things possible to do with 1 EUR ;).

Per day, if not spread out the money, possible to live for ~ 30 000 Rp (2,06 EUR). That’s why mostly people use banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 thousand. Those banknotes are mostly dirty and damage. Sometimes I see when locals get new banknote of 2 000 Rp, they are smiling while looking at them, because not many new banknotes you can see of such amount.

As well, sometimes it’s happens (especially in small shop) when they don’t have back change, they give back small candies (I really don’t like it). But when I tried once in the same shop pay with the same candies – I didn’t manage :D

What you managed to buy with 1 euro in Indonesia?


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