Lesson Three: Learning the Local Cuisine

For those of you who know me and know me well, you will know I’ve been having a love affair. For years. It’s got this hold on me like no other, and I just can’t let it go. No matter how hard I try. Maybe I’m just not trying hard enough.

So once in a while I will join others, who harbour a similar love affair, and we will talk about our problem. I believe it’s like AA. Only more fun.

Paon Bali Cooking Class* in Ubud was the meeting place. And it didn’t disappoint. The hosts, Wayan and Puspa, did a great job of welcoming the lot of us into their home. We needn’t feel awkward at all. It seemed they shared the same love affair.

The day started off at Ubud Market. We learnt about the spices and the fresh ingredients. We took a trip to their rice field and learnt about rice. When its planted and when its sowed. How much is kept locally and how much is exported. What manure is the best to use and why. After which we were driven to the house and our cooking class began.

Now, if you put a group of 14 Americans and Australians, dozens of fresh ingredients and 8 recipes together, what do you get? Conversations about food and a feast of course!


The wonderful display of the fresh colourful ingredients. We used most of them to make the basic sauce which you have to use the pestle and mortar to pound the ingredients. Wearing a rice paddy hat while pounding is optional.

Bumbu Kuning (Basic Yellow Sauce)

Sup Kamur (Clear Mushroom and Vegetable Soup)

Jukut Urab (Coconut & Snake Bean Salad) and Tempe Kering (Deep Fried Tempe in Sweet Soy Sauce)

Kare Ayam (Chicken in Coconut Curry)

This is the end result. A generous serving of everything we created. We shared many stories and conversations about our home towns, food, travels and sport over this meal.

And for desserts, a Kolak Pisang (Boiled Banana in Palm Sugar Syrup). I am not a big fan of cooked fruit because of the mushi-ness and flour-y texture of the fruit, but this was different. The banana and jackfruit was still crisp and had that crunchiness to it that I love. It was a good way to end the day.

All in all, my appetite was satisfied. My craving sedated. And I left feeling good about my love affair with food.

* Read my review on TripAdvisor here.


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