I’ve always wanted to join a cooking class. You’d think after visiting 20-something countries including Italy, Thailand, and Japan, we would have snuck a few in there, but alas, we failed to (shame). Because of this, we made it a point to schedule in a cooking class during our time in Bali, and for $27 USD we couldn’t pass one up.
Derik and I spent 30 days in Indonesian paradise last July, and found ourselves gravitating to Ubud on the days we didn’t have anything planned. I’m not sure if it was the cheap villas, the cultural experience, or the mind-blowing food, but Ubud was love at first sight in 2012, and better yet in 2015. After reading a few reviews online, and our good friend Melanie (who, crazy enough, was on our tour through New Zealand and ended up in Bali the same time) asking a few locals, we discovered Lobong Cooking Class, and booked our morning session as soon as possible.
We were expecting a simple cooking class, but got way more than that with Lobong — we got a true cultural experience. From the moment we were picked up from our hotel, we were treated with such kindness and care. Lobong Cooking Class is a family run business, and you truly become part of that family for a day. We were given a tour of a local food market (aka zero tourists) where learned about different spices, herbs, roots, and meats that were going to be used in our recipes that day, and were invited to taste some of the local flavors and ask questions to a few of the market vendors.
Once we arrived at the family compound, we were invited in to have tea and refreshments while the ingredients were getting washed and prepared. The Lobong business is mainly run two brothers-in-law who speak excellent English, but you’ll probably meet some of the other family during your visit…after all, you are invited into their home where they live. I couldn’t believe how beautiful their compound was, and it felt like we were stepping into a whole new place and time for the day…far away from the western cultural influence, and into a culture that’s been passed down through generations for hundreds of years. It. was. amazing…and we hadn’t even started cooking yet!
Our hosts were gracious enough to answer any and all our questions we had about their history and culture. They gave us a tour around their beautiful compound and told us to feel right at home…if we needed anything to not hesitate to ask. We were then led over to the cooking/kitchen area where a beautiful display of fresh ingredients were laid out for us, along with traditional and contemporary cooking tools used to make the Balinese dishes. A fire-fed stove was off in it’s own room, and already steaming rice for us to use for later. Everything was super clean, or in better words, pristine, especially for an outdoor kitchen! Call me impressed.
We had a small class (five people), and each of us had our own assigned tasks: chopping, stirring, sautéing, straining, etc. Our cooking instructor went over everything in detail, and you could tell he was passionate about his job. He took great care making sure we knew what we were doing, and the history of why we prepared the food the way we did. Every single ingredient we added into a dish was 100% fresh from the market…no pre-packaged powders or liquids.
After all our dishes were cooked, we got to eat everything we made…which was insanely too much food. After lunch, we were given a small parting gift: homemade coconut oil (lovingly made by the grandmother), and a cookbook filled with recipes from our class.
We had a phenomenal day, and looking back on our month in Bali, our time at Lobong is one of our favorite memories; it wasn’t just a cooking class, it was a day of cultural and culinary experiences. If you have half a day to spare during your travels through Ubud, I would highly recommend booking a class.
Time: Pickup around 8:00am, drop-off around 2:00pm
Price: 375,000IDR / approx $17 USD and they do have a CC machine if you need to use it for payment!
Hotel Pickup: Yes! In the UBUD area.
Ages Welcome: 10 years old +
Cooking Experience? Any! Derik and I have very little. :)
# People in Class: Maximum of 12, but like I said, our class only had 5 students!
I was not obligated or paid to write this review, I just loved our cooking class so much I had to let my readers know about it too! Lobong Cooking Class was just that awesome, and worth every penny.