In my opinion, I feel Bali is overrated and hear me out. Bali is one of those places that have become really popular due to a large number of people traveling and taking similar types of pictures for an Instagram aesthetic. Travel bloggers especially have made Bali popular with pictures and videos of the swings, waterfalls, water villas, over water breakfast and many more. The attractions in Bali which includes temples, rice fields and lush landscapes are definitely breathtaking but in my opinion, it has become such a popular tourist destination that it is not as enticing as other parts of South East Asia for me. I think Bali should be visited at least once in order to experience the sights and the things that social media has made it popular for but in my opinion it is not a place I would visit more than once.
If I love a destination, I usually visit several times for example Cape Town (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), and Tokyo (Japan). I have visited each city at least 2 times because I just love the uniqueness of each city and what they have to offer. Cape Town has the beautiful beaches, nightlife and landscape, Nairobi has the vibrant nightlife and Tokyo has all the animation and quirkiness. Bali is famous for waterfalls and beaches and the waterfalls were definitely difficult to hike to and also secluded but this is the main thing that stood out to me on the island.
The island also has beautiful beaches but a lot of them are over crowded due to over tourism. I always dreamed of getting married in Bali because of the beautiful Balinese style bungalows with private pools that are so stunning that you definitely have to see and experience it. So like I said Bali is overrated but also worth the visit for a taste of certain things that you can only find on the island. One of those is Paon Bali Cooking Class.
My lovely friend, Soul who I met and spent time with in Bali
Whenever I travel, I usually enjoy partaking in cooking classes because it teaches me something different about the culture and food of the destination I am visiting. The best way to learn about a culture is by immersing with locals but this might not be possible all the time. I take part in these cooking classes to learn more about something that google cannot really explain to me till I experience it myself. Paon Bali Cooking Class is one of the most popular cooking classes in Bali. When I was planning a trip to Bali (pre pandemic of course!), I uploaded a story on my Instagram announcing that I would be visiting, and I wanted my followers who had been to this beautiful island to send me their recommendations.
Green Beans from the market
A lot of people sent me Paon Bali cooking class and said I had to find time to attend. I was curious to see what the rave was about so booked a class online. Booking a class online was not difficult. I simply put in the name of the class Google and the website came up. They have options of booking through their own website and reputable 3rd party sites which gave me more booking options for example additional times which their website did not list. I immediately booked the class and the countdown officially began.
The class fee included hotel pickup in Ubud and I thought this was fair considering the fact that the class cost under $30. The car picked several people up from their accommodation in the Ubud area, and we headed to the market to start the day. For the market visit, I definitely recommend wearing closed toe and comfortable shoes because it could get messy real quick!
Explaining the recipe and game plan before starting the class
Bali is a very hot and tropical island so I recommend wearing a breathable outfit for the whole experience. I wore a silk dress and it was the worst idea ever because I was sweating so much. I hate silk till this day because of that experience.
The class was introduced to different types of exotic fruits and vegetables in the market. Since Bali is so tropical, the island some exotic fruits which are not readily available anywhere else and I thought this was so cool.
After the market tour, the class was taken to the kitchen and we started cooking. I loved the fact that everyone was expected to participate in the class.
Balinese food is very diverse and it includes a lot of components like vegetables, fish, and chicken so this class definitely had a dish for everyone. A lot of the menu options cater to vegans and the main dish which was made with Chicken was also made with a vegan friendly alternative. The pictures below will highlight the cooking experience and also show what we made and how the food turned out. The food came out even better than I expected and it was so delicious.
On the menu
- Kolak Biu Kolak Pisang (Boiled banana in palm sugar syrup)
- Base Gede Bumbu Kuning (Basic Yellow Sauce)
- Kuah Wong Sup Jamur (Clear Mushroom & Vegetable Soup)
- Be Siap Mesanten, Kare Ayam (Chicken in Coconut curry)
- Pepesan Be Pasih , Pepes Ikan (Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves)
- Jukut Urab (Coconut and Snake bean salad)
- Sate Siap Sate Lilit Ayam (Minced chicken grilled on Bamboo Sticks)
- Tempe Me Goreng (Sweet & Salty Fried Tempeh)
- Tempe Kering (Deep Fried Tempe in Sweet Soy Sauce)
- Kacang Me Santok (Vegetables in Peanut Sauce)
- Gado Gado (Vegetables in Peanut Sauce)
After this cooking class, I attended more cooking classes in Thailand, Taiwan and Mexico and I absolutely loved them. I was exposed to different methods of cooking and some ingredients that I would never even have dreamed existed. I highly recommend cooking classes to all travelers because they are inexpensive and the amount of food consumed at the end makes the experience worth it! Making some friends along the way is always a plus too.