Bali is a foodie’s dream. Exotic ingredients, stunning aromatics and addictive spices will make you fall in love with the island’s cuisine.
From family-run warungs through to five-star resorts, the Balinese peoples’ passion and pride in their cooking is always on show. Luckily, you don’t have to leave the memory of your favourite Indonesian dishes behind when you return home. Many of the island’s top restaurants and resorts offer renowned cooking schools, so you can take a little piece of Bali back with you.
See a different side of Seminyak with Alila Seminyak’s cooking class, which will lead you on a winding bike ride through rice paddies to the local markets. Back at the hotel, collect some produce from the organic garden and let the chefs guide you through a range of traditional Balinese recipes. If you’d prefer to get behind the bar, join a class at the hotel’s Cocktail Lab and learn mixology from some of the best.
Exploring Bali’s history and culture has never been more alluring than at Alila Soori, where you can learn about some of the staples of the island’s cuisine. Take a journey through the cultivation processes of rice, coffee and cocoa, as well as sampling the delicious produce on offer. The resort also offers cooking classes so you can use these ingredients in true Balinese style.
Join the chef at Alila Ubud for an adventure to Payangan market, where you’ll be immersed in local life and learn about Balinese ingredients. You might also have the opportunity to sample some special breakfast dishes: nasi bungkus, tipat santok or jajan Bali. Unpack your market haul in the picturesque hotel sculpture garden and you’ll learn to cook several authentic Indonesian dishes, just in time for an alfresco lunch.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Go on a culinary journey with Alila Villas Uluwatu – the resort offers full or half day cooking classes, starting with a tour of the nearby Jimbaran fish market and finishing with a Balinese feast for lunch (half day) and dinner (full day). Along the way you’ll have expert guidance from the Alila chefs, who will show you some of the best ways to use regional produce to create delicious and authentic meals.
At Bali Asli you’ll meet Penelope Williams, a well respected figure in the Balinese culinary scene, and an ideal guide to Indonesian cooking. Previously a chef at London’s The Savoy, Bathers Pavilion in Sydney and Alila Manggis, Penelope shares her love of Balinese cuisine through her renowned restaurant and cooking school. The unique classes are ever-changing. You might find yourself planting rice, fishing in a jukung canoe or sampling cashew nut wine – all part of an unforgettable adventure – before returning to cook local produce with Bali Asli’s chefs.
Janet DeNeefe has also spent many years mastering Balinese cooking, having taught many keen foodies since 1987. Her Casa Luna cooking school integrates step-by-step guidance with insights into the ceremonies and stories of the island’s cuisine. Depending on the day you might learn to prepare dishes such as green coconut crêpes, gado-gado and spiced fish in banana leaves. Sit down to feast on your meal, accompanied by a tipple of local rice wine or Janet’s own hibiscus tea. Casa Luna also hosts coffee tours, which will take you deep into the Kintamani highlands to discover the secrets behind Bali’s finest brew.
Whether you’re an amateur or an accomplished cook, Bali’s cooking schools are the perfect way to get the most out of your trip. With so many experiences and adventures on offer, you could find yourself hiking through rice paddies, exploring coffee plantations, haggling in the local markets or simply feasting in a traditional hut looking out over the scenic landscape. It’s also the ideal way to learn about the region’s incredible produce, history and culture, while learning to make some fantastic fare to impress your friends back home.