Ubud // Balinese cooking class

today I want to tell you all about one of our favorite things we did in Bali. while exploring Ubud, we discovered that many restaurants offered Balinese cooking classes. Husband and I are nothing if not enthusiastic about food… so we immediately decided it would be a fun way to spend a day.

we chose to take our class at Warung Semesta, which serves a mostly vegetarian menu. [I won’t lie - part of this decision was based on my dislike of handling raw meat.] overall I was thrilled with our cuisine choices in Bali, since they are in a unique position of being the only Hindu island of a mainly Muslim nation. this means they offer vegetarian options nearly everywhere. in Taiwan... not so much. I am not a vegetarian and I don't think I'll ever be one, but having the option made me want to choose it most days.

vegetarian or not, Warung Semesta offers fresh, local, and mostly organic foods in a beautiful space. huge windows, painted brick... oh, but we are supposed to be talking about the food. we arrived at 9am and were greeted with a drink of sweet coconut water with lime, given aprons and shown upstairs to the cooking area.

Wayan, our chef and teacher, went over the menu of what we would cook and explained each ingredient to us. at first I was a little disappointed that most things seemed to be prepared already. but as the morning went on I realized we would have NEVER gotten to the actual cooking if we had to do all the prep for 7 dishes.

there was still some chopping and grinding for us to do, along with the actual cooking. Wayan showed us the traditional way of making the paste that is the base for so many Balinese dishes, and also let us try grinding our own peanut sauce and sambals [sortof the Balinese salsa.]

the climate of Bali allows them to grow so many things, herbs and spices and vegetables. so everything we cooked with was fresh and in season. and outrageously delicious.

we made a few dishes [soup, fried rice, pork in soy sauce] then took a break around 11:30 to eat one of the salads for an appetizer. then we got back in the kitchen to finish everything up and made our dessert - coconut and palm sugar filled crepes.

I can't recommend this class enough. we spent about 5 hours in total, cooking and then feasting on the fruits [or - mostly vegetables] of our labor. they offer both a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian menu for the class, and allow you to mix and match dishes if you like.

the food was amazing, but we also learned a lot about the why behind the cuisine. the class was well balanced between the actual cooking, the learning, and the eating. Wayan was a fantastic teacher and we all had a great time. plus - we got to bring home cookbooks so we can attempt to recreate the recipes!

have you ever taken a cooking class on vacation, or do you just prefer to do the eating?

the cup of coffee that fueled the writing of today’s post was sponsored by Hayley. she drinks her tea with 2 scoops of sugar and blogs about life, travel, and adventure over at livin' it up as HayUp.

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