I read most of the reviews for this Paon Bali Cooking Class and wondered what the owners of this class paid to the students to gush so much about this activity. I will say this, they didn't pay me anything and I'm still rating this as 5 stars (dots in tripadvisor).
Firstly, Puspa and Wayan are hard-working, generous and yet unbelievably genuine people. They're a tag team Ubud-introducing, cooking hero-duo. They deserve all the accolades that the reviewers on here have bestowed onto them.
Puspa was the one that answered my phone call when I requested that we start our cooking adventure a little later than the usual 7:30AM since our friends were traveling in from Seminyak that morning and they of course were eagerly accommodating. "A friend" of Wayan and Puspa picked us up at the Komeneka at Bisma (free pick-ups in Ubud) at 8:45AM. All co-workers or employees are called "friends" in Bali. They promptly adjoined us to the marketplace tour that was already in progress with the rest of the group in the center of Ubud. Puspa was a charming Vanna White as she proudly introduced to us the unique Balinese ingredients that we would be using later in the day. The marketplace was in an open-air yet enclosed area with fruit, vegetable, flower, meat and tourist knick-knack stands. It was a bustling place but vendors weren't aggressive and it seemed like most people were busy making their little baskets of flowers for the day's offerings. Stray dogs were bold enough to shop the floors of the raw meat areas for any fallen pieces.
We were shuttled to local rice paddies where Wayan explained how the Balinese family systems maintain their plots of land planted with rice paddies. He briefly explained how the rice is planted, when they harvest, how they make sure which rice seeds to plant for the next season. We then walked from the rice paddies to Wayan and Puspa's home. They provided cool, refreshing drinks as they then explained the family compound.
The cooking experience itself is a bit less hands-on than some cooking classes I've taken here in the states, but I think was perfectly appropriate for the setting. Most of the ingredients were already cleaned and peeled and just needed some final chopping before cooking. Before starting each dish, Puspa would put all the needed ingredients together on a plate so we can get a visual of what's needed to create each dish. These were great photo opportunities to remember what went into each dish if you were to try to recreate any of these dishes at home. You weren't assigned to just one dish, you just helped out in chopping or manning a pan wherever you were needed.
In the end we had a feast that honestly was the best meal we had in Bali. Mind you, we did go to all ranges of places to eat ranging from Mosaic in Ubud, to Chandi in Seminyak, to seafood in Jimbaran - and I still say that the feast that Puspa and Wayan guided us in cooking in their home was honestly the best tasting and most satisfying meal during this entire trip in Bali.
For those interested, here are some dishes that we cooked:
- Peanut sauce
- Basic Balinese sauce (base for curries)
- Tempe Manis
- Mushroom soup (tasted a bit like a tom yum)
- Chicken Curry (using the Basic Balinese Sauce)
- Chicken Sate
- Steamed tuna in Banana leaves
- Banana Mango Dessert
akh78 3 contributions
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nov 1, 2010