The magnificent Puri Sunia hotel where we stayed in Bali offered a morning cooking course and tour of a local market, which we didn’t hesitate to sign up for. We woke up with the sun on Friday to head to the market with our guide, who pointed out all of the familiar as well as the interesting produce and other wares for sale at the food market in Ubud. It was an awesome taste of local life, where few tourists are found, especially in the early hours when many locals go to shop for their daily meals.
The way they loaded massive amounts of produce onto their small scooters was really funny. Having traveled more and experienced the wide, wild and crazy use of two-wheeled vehicles, I’m much less surprised now at what people haul around, but at the time it was a funny sight to see.
Surprisingly, Ubud is the only place so far that I’ve seen this sight at a market:
When we arrived back at the hotel from exploring the market, we had a quick nap before it was time to get to work on our lunch! First, we were served some delicious lemon tea. I didn’t take to sweet tea when I lived “down South” but the lemon and ginger teas they have been serving us all over Asia are refreshing and delicious! Also super delicious were the fried shallots and garlic pictured below that we used in part of our cooking that day.
The chef who worked with us first reviewed some common ingredients used in Balinese cooking, including turmeric, galangal, ginger, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, seafood, chicken, and of course, chili peppers. Surprise, surprise, we had purchased many of these at the local market! What delicious looking ingredients!
We each had a turn chopping…
…and molding some lemongrass skewers that were made with ground shrimp and fish. I know that sounds terrible, but you’ll have to trust me that they were delicious.
The soup dish we concocted was a delicious combination of chicken and spices with a coconut milk base. And although we didn’t make the dessert ourselves, the fried banana with ice cream and coconut flakes has my mouth watering right now!
One of my favorite things about Bali was watching groups of kids (and adults, too) launch these massive kites they fly when the wind is just right. When I say massive, I mean 15 feet long! It takes a whole team of people to get one of these guys off the ground, and maybe that’s why I love to watch it; it’s a great show of community, team work at its finest.
Every summer, they have a huge kite competition on the island of Bali. Maybe next year we can visit when it actually happens. It may have been more interesting when we were there this year, though, because they were all in practice mode. It was fascinating to watch them launch and make adjustments to prepare for competition. On our last stop before heading to the airport, we stopped at a beach and caught this glimpse in the short video below:
I can’t believe it’s been nearly four months since our visit to Bali! Though I dreamed of visiting the island, some things weren’t quite what I imagined they would be, in both good ways and bad. As we travel more, I start to compare destinations, but each place gives us a unique opportunity to learn something about ourselves and the people with which we share our little planet. Bali taught us to enjoy a physically and mentally relaxed pace of life and, of course, to not get too close to monkeys. Most of all, it gave us a little free spirit for the journey.