Before the trip in Indonesia, I was already asked to choose whether to take the Coffee Tour at Bali Pulina or to do a Cooking Class at Rumah Desa. Because I felt that the coffee tour is something that I can also do here in the Philippines and with my love for cooking and good food I decided to pick the latter.
Know the full story by starting here:
Day 00: Trip of Wonders
Day 01: Things to do in Yogyakarta
Day 02: Borobudur Sunrise
Day 03: Shopping in Kotagede
Day 04: When in Bali
When the time comes, I did feel that I made the right decision. The Cooking Class was our last activity for the Bali Indonesia tour. We were around 11 in the team who joined the cooking tour, but before heading to our location, we first started the day with a buffet breakfast at the amazing open-space dining at Golden Tulip Devins.
Breakfast Groupie with Gzul, Sasha, Tito Kama, Satya, Ate Liliane, Kisty, Ruth and Shani
After the heavy breakfast, we headed straight to Mengwi Market. There, we met Wayant Sudhi, a Balinese who toured us around the market. In Indonesia, kids are named in standard form, if you are familiar with it you will know if the person is a first, second, third or fourth child (and so on…).
‘Wayant’ is a part of the name given for the first child, and it is a tradition to have 4 children in Bali just to complete the set. If a particular family bears a 5th child, it will then be named again as ‘Wayant’.
Wayant told us that one of the best way to know the culture is through a local market. Even dominated by Hindi and Buddhist, Bali is one of the places in Indonesia where ‘Pork’ is one of the food staples and is very available in the market place. Tourism (I bet) got a big influence to that.
I also learned that each of the stalls in the Market were obligated to put a small temple. It was like a part of the requirement if you are going to put up a business in Bali. Check out the photo below.
Chili Talk: In Indonesia, Chili is called Cabe. There are two kinds of cabe based on sizes. The small one is called cabe rawit and the bigger one is called cabe merah. The smaller it is (most of the time) the spicier it is.
After buying the ingredients, we took the bus and headed straight to Wayant’s home. It was an hour and a half travel away from the market we went to.
On our arrival, we were welcomed by an elaborate design on their gate. A wedding is about to be held a few days from our arrival, and the whole community is busy preparing for it.
At first, I thought that we will be visiting an ordinary house in Bali, but I did not expected that what we visited was a compound consisting of the whole clan. There are (my thoughts) around 8-10 families there. Balinese family believes in close-knit ties (just like Filipinos), thus they make sure that each of the family members would have a space/place in their community.
Rumah Desa is definitely one of the places where you can learn and experience a Balinese Life. Inside, they have a place for the elderly, a home for the newlyweds, a place for the ceremony and of course a huge house temple. Entertaining guests and tourists in their place to experience how they live had become an added source of income to this family.
One of the elderly we encountered also made us try a concoction foreigners (specially white people) love! If there’s a whitening cream, here you can try the tanning solution made from different herbs.
Way at the back, a huge house temple will be found, a restaurant and a space where cooking is demonstrated and thought.
But before heading to the kitchen, we were then showed the art of Balinese Alphabet. The Balinese alphabet is quite similar to Javanese and each of it got different meaning. We were told that one should pronounce the word properly; otherwise the words may have a different meaning. We were also given a leaf with our name written in Balinese. Our names were carved on a leaf using Temutik (pen) rubbed with Macademia nut to make the word visible. It’s actually quite nice to wear!
Cooking the Balinese Way through Rumah Desa
In order to cook a real authentic Balinese Food, one must use healthy ingredients. Balinese believed that each of the colors of the ingredients to be use in cooking represents their beliefs. Thus, most of their cooking includes yellow (turmeric), White (Onion, garlic), Red (Shallot) and Black (Black Pepper) which when combined form a brown color which represents The Central.
We were given aprons to be use before heading to the kitchen. Red was given to the girls while black were given to the guys. And because we are many, we were separated into two groups, one will cook chicken while the other group cooks fish.
I joined the fish team, composing of Thanis, Gzul, Longdy, and Haley. Luckily we all love spicy food which makes it easier for us to not limit the spiciness of the food we are about to cook.
The chicken team includes, Ruth, Kama, Jia Qin, Becky, Kisty and Satya. Look at the video and see how we enjoyed it! Thanks Kisty for the Boomerang video!
What we bought in the market was used in our cooking. I guess Rumah Desa have been doing this for quite sometime that they can accommodate and teach a big group of people.
Ingredients are already prepared – all we got to do is to portion it properly and ground all the initial ingredients together to make a paste. You can do the paste by doing the faster way (using mixer) or doing it the conventional way (which is more fun to do in groups).
We did the old ways of grounding.
This paste will then be fried and mix with the meat – either fish or chicken.
The combination was then made into Kebabs or fish sticks.
Visiting the Rice Paddies + Buffalo Ride!
Before we fill our tummy, we were asked to visit their main source of living. Wayant’s family are farmers and depends most of their income through farming thus we were brought to their rice paddies. We trek for almost 30 mins (or more) heading to the fields. The whole family is self-sustainable with everything from rice, herbs and even chickens and the entire family works in this place for tourists to enjoy.
We pass through their backyard forest, cross a river, walk a few more before arriving at the fields.
There, we found other nationalities doing the buffalo ride. Which I eagerly wanted to do upon seeing it, not minding that I’m wearing a white shorts on that day. Lol! Such a bad idea to do but hell I go.
Ruth enjoying her Coconut Juice
It was a fun ride, trying my best to grip on the rope, maneuvering the buffalo while, mud were splashing on to my body. Good thing there was a spare shorts prepared to be worn before riding the buffalo, which covers up the lower portion of my body. It was one crazy farming-ride for me!
The farmers predicted that the rain would fall any minute so right after Thanis’ Buffalo ride; we headed back at Rumah Desa. The rain pours after a few minutes.
What everybody is waiting for started and as Haley Daso always says its “Chibog Time!”
On our table was what we had prepared with some other dishes added.
The Rumah Desa visit was something that I did not know worth trying not until I personally done it. It was a true immersion that I would never forget . Truly, an activity that will make one understand the life of a true Balinese.
Do not hesitate to try it and allocate a portion of your day at Rumah Desa on your next visit to Bali. For more information you can visit http://www.rumahdesa.com/
#NognoginIndonesia is a trip sponsored by Ministry of Tourism. Check out the tags #TripofWonders & #WonderfulIndonesia to find out the destinations we visited.