Ubud: A Balinese Cooking Class, Rice Terraces & Water Temples

Day 3 was packed full of activities, from start to finish – we were non-stop.

We awoke in the jungle, in our wee treehouse; it was such a great way to start the day. Although, I did get eaten alive at night. Veera and I started our very early morning with an outdoor, somewhat cold shower – then we headed off to get picked up for our first trip of the day; a Balinese cooking class!

We made friends very quickly with an English couple, Emily and Will, who also stayed at our Air BnB. Small world! We hopped into a van and headed to the outskirts of Ubud, Veera had a wee nap and I looked out at everyone setting up for the day.

The first stop on the trip was a traditional Balinese market:

 

We tried new foods like snake fruit and took in all the sights and smells (some not so pleasant). The leader of the group told us how everything was grown, what the staple ingredients were in a Balinese diet and what we would be cooking with later.

Honestly, it felt like Christmas Day for me.

Next up was the organic gardens where the cooking class would take place. Before we did any cooking though, we walked around the garden and picked our own ingredients.

Oh, and Veera may have thought the basket we used was a hat…

 

It was so amazing to see how the Balinese use their land in such beneficial ways, without compromising anything.

Then it was time to cook!

Veera is a veggie, so we had to split up, luckily we were still next to each other and just had different partners. We all cooked at the same time and followed the instructions of the guide. It was so much fun!

 

Veera and I were clearly the stand outs of the group, since we decided to host a cooking show for our fictious YouTube channel. The staff loved us. We also left our station to witness what we thought was a mouse and frog mating ritual, but it turned out to be a bit more sinister.

Now, this is the difficult part where I must remember what we made…

I cannot remember the official names of each dish, so I’ll come back and change them (maybe).

1st dish:

This was a coconut, chilli and vegetable salad with shrimp paste, a lot of the food had shrimp paste in it, and my god it was so good! It was light and refreshing, perfect for an hors d’oeuvre.

2nd dish:

This was deep fried tempeh with chilli and A LOT of garlic. I had never had tempeh before and really enjoyed the texture of it, also who doesn’t love garlic?!

Next up:

This was Bumbu Bali, which is a curry paste and used as a base in most Balinese cooking. I’ll tell you it’s a lot of effort to make but so worth it once it’s done.

Dishes 3, 4 & 5:

The item on the left is pan fried tuna with a spicy salsa, the item at the top was a traditional Balinese chicken curry and, on the right, we have pork satay sticks.

 

Once we completed all our delicious meals, we sat down and shared our food together. It was great because Veera had different dishes, such as: corn fritters, peanut satay and egg dumplings. The group were so fun, the staff were fantastic, the location of the kitchen was stunning, and the food was unreal. We even got a recipe book and an apron to take home with us, so they got bonus points!

Our trip then came to an end and I really didn’t want to go. Good things did continue for us though; the English couple (Emily and Will) and Veera and I decided to get dropped off early on the way home, so we could see the Tegallalang rice fields.

 

They were gorgeous, and I was so happy I found another swing. You could go in and walk around the rice terraces, but we saw everything we needed to for free.

The four of us then decided we would go to the Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple, since it was close. However, what we didn’t realise was that we were in the middle of nowhere; no taxis or Grab’s were anywhere near.

To pass the time and plan, we stopped in a wee café where Will and I tried the famous Lombok (cat poo) coffee. There wasn’t much to report back on this, it tasted like normal coffee but was more expensive.

During this time, Veera said she’d sort out a ride for us and I told her to be careful; since she was already offered to be taken solo into the next town with a ‘taxi driver’ while we waited for her to come back.  Obviously, we didn’t let that happen. She went out of sight and I started to panic but she popped up and said she found us a driver.

Honestly, she was so proud of herself, bless and I don’t blame her – we would have been stuck otherwise!

We arrived at the temples and immediately had a Balinese guide, Veera and Emily didn’t want to go in the water, so Will and I changed into some very snazzy green robes.

Here’s me while Will was getting ready:

I knew briefly what to expect but I didn’t know how intense it would be. The first thing we did was make an offering to our ancestors:

Side note, all the incense used in Bali was wonderful – everywhere smelt so lovely.

Our guide then told us that each spout represented different things; one was to represent all the negative thoughts you have while another was about your hopes and dreams. And there were two spouts which you absolutely do not go under, because they represented death and the afterlife.

It was then time to get in the water and it was bloody freezing! The one day it’s not boiling and sticky, we get into ice cold water. So, Will and I got into the queue and began blessing ourselves:

 

However, what we didn’t realise was that we had to go under every single spout. So poor Emily and Veera had to wait for ages for us to go through each spout. However, not all was lost as Veera made best friends with the guide and learned all about Hinduism and their beliefs.

Once we finally were completely blessed, we got out and were told how we would feel much better in our mind and body from this experience. I can’t say I felt a drastic change, but I did have a wonderful experience, and it was lovely to see everyone interacting with the temple.

After that, we wanted to dry off so wandered around the rest of the temple:

 

The four of us were tired by this point so decided to head back home. Veera sorted out another taxi for us because she has found her calling in life, another random girl joined us too because that day was all about making new friends!

It was such a chilled ride back to Ubud, we passed locals working the rice fields – while listening to Bryan Adams (who Bali is obsessed with btw).

We arrived in Ubud and walked back to our wee Air BnB and chilled there for a while since it was such a busy day. We then decided to stay in Ubud another night and got a room for just $10 in the city centre. Treehouses are fun but not for more than one night…

The two of us moved into our new room, got changed and headed out to dinner. I had a gorgeous duck dish and Veera had a fresh salad. I didn’t picture my meal because it didn’t look that pretty, but it tasted to die for!

I did get a photo with another favourite of mine though:

 

Honestly, I’m in love with Bali coconuts.

Then we headed back to our room because we were exhausted; it was well worth it though!

The rest of the evening was spent watching obscure Bali horror films, where the antagonist was a pale/vampire/Bob Marley. It was hilarious and the perfect ending to a hectic day.

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