One particular class has taken cooking above and beyond simply eating, elevating it to an immersive peek into the rich culture that has blessed the island for centuries. Paon Bali Cooking Class is a must-do on your next trip to Indonesia. Worth it alone for the colorful team of staff that assist the head chef and the owner, Puspa, as she takes your through your culinary journey, this class should not be missed.
A Journey From Start to Finish
Your half-day class takes you from the location of your Bali resort and straight into the middle of a fresh produce market. Begin your day with a walk through the market, pointing out all of the vegetables that you will be cooking with, as they overflow from the baskets of the smiling Balinese women that sit beside them. Puspa’s staff is eager to stop and describe anything inevitably unfamiliar as you pass by, chatting happily with vendors as you gawk at the exotic items.
When you arrive at the kitchen from your Bali resort, either by motorbike or a van provided by the staff, the first thing that will strike you is the location. The Paon kitchen is perched at the top of a lush canyon, overgrown with foliage and opening up to a deep cavern below. Birds, monkeys and insects swarm above the canyon and omit a gentle hum, while the stunning view is the perfect introduction to the class.
Upon arrival, all of the ingredients will already be laid out on a long table, with each one most likely less foreign, given your recent trip to the market. As you sip your welcome drink, you are told what each ingredient is, how you will help prepare it and which dish or dishes it will be used in.
Next is prep. Each person in the class, which is kept small to keep it casual and personal, is given a job and starts chopping, peeling and dicing on cutting boards that can only be described as sanded slices of tree trunks. Once this is done, the meal starts to take form.
Back to the Basics
If you anticipate making famous Indonesian peanut or yellow sauce, you will not be disappointed. If you expect pre-ground peanuts or a blender to combine the peppers and pulverize the raw spices into a powder, then you are greatly mistaken.
Traditional Balinese recipes call for a mortar and pestle to ground the peanuts and chunks of candlenut into a paste suitable for sauces. Since this is the traditional Balinese way, this is exactly what Puspa has you do. After a few grounds with the pestle, your biceps will be aching, with your appreciation for a home-cooked Balinese meal growing.
Next, a Balinese soup of just vegetables, chicken broth, lime and hot peppers is served as an appetizer to your meal. The simplicity of the soup and the various flavors that emerge from just a few ingredients will both surprise and inspire you.
Of course, no Balinese meal is complete without satay. Several things may surprise you about the satay recipe; did you know, for example, that traditional satay is made with cane sugar? The sugar is perhaps the reason satay skewers are as truly addictive as they are.
Watch Puspa’s staff expertly fan the charred bamboo husks beneath a carefully arranged line of satay, the fragrance wafting up from the Balinese grill and undoubtedly throughout the entire canyon below.
An Unforgettable Meal
At Paon’s Bali Cooking Class, you will not only learn about ingredients you’ve never heard of, but also how to prepare them in the most delicious ways. A great example is the tempeh that just may be the star of your plate, deep-fried to a crisp and covered in a sweet, sticky and slightly spicy sauce.
There is something incredibly gratifying about eating the food that you have just meticulously prepared. With Paon Bali’s class, you will not only leave satisfied but also completely stuffed. Just when you think you can’t be introduced to another unique dish, desert comes.
A Souvenir to Last a Lifetime
There are plenty of things to take away from a trip to Bali; the grand temples, endless surf and stunning artistry are some of the most well-known. Many people experience the most pleasant of sensory overloads when the pungent snakes of thick incense and the explosion of spices overwhelms the palette. This leads to many wanting to learn how to recreate these memories, to take a piece of Bali home with them. And so they embark on a culinary adventure to create the dishes that they fell in love with.
If you are one of these people, consider booking Paon Bali Cooking Class online or through your accommodation Bali. Puspa’s vibrant staff and location will be as memorable as the meal. Learning to cook with traditional Balinese techniques and flavors will be the highlight of your trip through Bali.