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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

WE TOOK A VEGAN COOKING CLASS IN BALI, INDONESIA - AND IT WAS AWESOME!



We absolutely fell in love with Balinese food while we were on this beautiful island. We couldn't get enough of the flavours of sate and gado gado - not to mention the abundance of delicious tofu, tempeh, fresh vegetables, and juicy fruits. So what do two vegan food lovers do when they just can't get enough of the cuisine? They take a vegan cooking class, of course! The wonderfulness of this experience was threefold for us: we got to have some fun and learn together, we got to eat loads of tasty foods, and we could take the skills and recipes we learnt home with us too. Even when we were back in the UK in the depths of winter, we would still be able to replicate the flavours of our Balinese adventure. What's not to love about that?


Where did we go for our Balinese cooking class?

While we were in Ubud, we headed to Bali Farm Cooking School, intrigued by their vegan cooking class. We had actually seen their page on Instagram before we even left the UK on our long trip though Southeast Asia - so by the time we visited, we had been keeping an eye on their content for months! Though the organisation isn't fully vegan, they have a strong focus on sustainability, with most of the ingredients grown on site or picked up from the local market (but more on that later!)


When you book your cooking class through their website (for the very reasonable price of Rp480,000 - approx. £25.03, €29.25, or $31.51) you will have the option to choose between non-vegan, vegan, or vegetarian. And the great thing is, the day is tailored to your requirements. Even if other guests at the cooking class have chosen to use meat or dairy in their cooking, your class and workbench are still entirely tailored to your requirements, with your own ingredients and instructor.


What did the day look like?

When you book your cooking class, you will have a choice to make: would you prefer a morning or an afternoon session? We opted for the morning class, since this also included a trip to the market! With a bright and early pickup from Ubud at 7:30am, we hopped into the included minibus, said hello to the driver and other guests (a lovely German couple) and began on our journey. After a short drive, we stopped at a local market, where we were greeted by our guide. He walked us around the market, introducing us to some of Bali's colourful and flavoursome local produce - educating us of its purpose in Balinese recipes along the way. He purchased a selection of fruits and pastries, before we piled back into the minibus to complete our journey to Bali Farm Cooking School.


There we were welcomed to their beautiful site, surrounded by lush vegetation and dreamlike tranquility. With a cup of tea and bowls of the freshly purchased fruits and pastries to start the day, we were introduced to the Bali Farm Cooking School staff, given our souvenir recipe books, and given an explanation of the day. We then joined the instructors on a stroll around the farm, and were given baskets and allowed to pick our own ingredients from the abundant plants and bushes around the farm.


After picking our ingredients - and drinking more tea - we finally donned our aprons and headed to our workbench to start work on the first of the five recipes we would prepare over the course of the morning. Our lovely instructor taught us the proper Balinese way to prepare the vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices that we would cook with - including working our biceps on the pestle and mortar! What could have been work turned out to be so much fun! Over the course of the morning we prepared a selection of traditional Balinese dishes... and then came the bit we had been waiting for: THE EATING!


What recipes did we make - and how did they taste?

Over the course of our morning at Bali Farm Cooking School we prepared, cooked, and tucked into a big selection of plant-based Balinese dishes. Starting with some sweet and sour tempeh, we then moved onto a gado-gado, a curry, some dumplings, before finishing up with some banana fritters. We loved learning all of the different ingredients that go into these dishes - as well as the techniques required to prepare them... and our instructor also gave us some tips of equivalent ingredients that may be easier for us to get hold of back home in the UK. Don't forget, you'll be heading home with that cookbook, so these tips are well worth paying attention to!


The absolute feast that we prepared included some of our absolute favourite Balinese dishes, made vegan. Honestly, I absolutely fell in love with gado gado while we were in Ubud, so it was a real joy to learn to make it from scratch... and then have the opportunity to tuck into it again too! Though the dumplings that we made weren't entirely to our tastes, we really enjoyed parcelling them up and steaming them in banana leaves, the traditional method. We were really surprised by how much we both enjoyed the sweet and sour tempeh we prepared: generally Mike isn't a fan of sweet and sour, and until we visited Asia I had never been keen on tempeh - so on the surface, this seemed like a dish we wouldn't like. However this sweet and sour tempeh was beyond anything we had ever imagined the dish could be: we really couldn't get enough!


The Balinese curry that we made was packed full of delicious veggies and would have been incredible had we not squeezed way too much lime into it! As it was, it was tasty, but with the extra lime, a little tangier than we (or anyone!) would really prefer. This wasn't totally a bad thing though, because the small amount of curry we didn't eat ensured that we still had room to devour our banana fritters. Everything happens for a reason, hey? These bananas finished the meal off perfectly. Not too sweet, but with a perfect sprinkling of coconut, these bananas were so tasty - I wish I had had room for more!


What were our lasting impressions of the vegan cooking experience? Would we do it again?

YES YES YES we would absolutely recommend a visit to Bali Farm Cooking school! This was absolutely one of our favourite experiences in our journey around Southeast Asia! We got to do so many of our favourite things: try something new, meet new people, see new places, and eat AMAZING VEGAN FOOD! And the fact that we picked, prepared, and cooked it ourselves? Well that made it all the more delicious! Honestly, for the price we paid, this experience was absolutely brilliant: from the pickup in the morning, to being dropped off early in the afternoon, everything was easy, friendly, and so much fun. Genuinely, the only bad thing I can say about this experience is that we both got quite a lot of mosquito bites... but what do you expect on a farm in the Balinese jungle, really? Get some bug spray on your arms and legs and you'll be set for an absolutely amazing day at Bali Farm Cooking School. We cannot recommend this place highly enough - and still can't quite believe that we cooked these delicious dishes ourselves!


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The centre of Vienna with tall, historic buildings all around
You will never get sick of Bali's views

Where should I stay?

As an established tourist centre, Ubud has some of the best accommodation in Bali. Whether you're looking for a social hostel to meet new friends, a wellness retreat to relax and do some yoga, or a homestay where you can get an authentic Balinese experience, there is something for you. For a comfortable dorm experience, Sunshine Vintage House offers friendly service, tour bookings, free tea and coffee, and a vegan friendly breakfast upon request. For private accommodation, with a traditional Balinese and the convenience of an en-suite, check out Pondok Permata Homestay, whose friendly service regularly receives incredible reviews.

Tours & Experiences

Ubud has multiple UNESCO-recognised sites for a reason. There are so many unique things to see on this stunning Hindu island, from temples, to rainforests; from rice terraces, to pagodas. For a real once-in-a-lifetime adventure, why not get up early and try this Mount Batur sunrise hike, which includes a visit to Lake Batur's hot springs? Or, if that's not for you, check out some of the top-rated Viator tours below!


Please note that the tours displayed on the left are automatically selected for their popularity by Viator, not chosen or recommended by us. Please check whether any food or drink based tours are suitable for your dietary requirements, and any animal-based experiences are ethical, before booking!

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