There is something in the air I think that keeps drawing me back to this magical place time and again. A short hop from Singapore, I come here at least twice a year. What started off as a shopping trip quickly turned into an adventure trip. I’ve since climbed Mount Agung (twice) and Mount Batur, gone white water rafting down the mighty Agung river and jumped off water falls while canyoning in central Bali. On recent trips, I have started to look more holistically at my life and that steered me towards spending a month in Bali learning all about the wonders of raw food. I’ll dedicate a blog post just to raw food in another blog post because there is so much to discover just on this topic.
On my most recent trip to Bali in April, I spent time in both Ubud and Seminyak. Here is a photo log of my top 5 memorable events on this trip:
Tropical fruits are in abundance here. With such a hectic lifestyle, I find that I never have enough time to visit the markets in Singapore so here I am, rushing across the road from my villa to the local markets to pick up my favourite fruits. In this case, it’s mangosteens. I love mangosteens for their sweetness and sourness. There is no other fruit that quite compares.
Indonesian food is at its best whether it’s eaten by a roadside stall or a small warung (coffee shop) or in a fine dining up scale restaurant. On my first night here in Seminyak, I ate at Merah Putih. Stunningly beautiful in architecture, the menu is equally impressive with both traditional and modern Indonesian cuisine sharing centre stage. I have been to this restaurant several times in the past and it still remains my go to place for a laid back feel, excellent service standards, and food served in the blink of an eye in a space that highlights local craftsmanship and eco sustainable materials.
When in Ubud, don’t forget to check into Chez Monique for a silver jewellery making class. Held at his home in a beautiful Balinese compound, all classes are individual and you can either choose a design from a comprehensive photo book or you can design your own. I choose a simple ring which I fell in love with at first sight and I proceeded to make it with the help of the silver smiths on hand. I first cut the ring to fit my finger, then stamped my initials and the date on the inside of the ring. I shaped the coils for the centre of the ring and the silver smith helped me weld the ring and the coil onto the ring. I helped in the polishing and buffing of the ring. All in all, my ring took about an hour to make but more complex jewellery such as intricately designed pendants and ear rings will take more time. I paid Rupiah 450,000 for the class. You can book a day in advance and they are very responsive to emails.
For some time now, I have been exploring making my own beauty and home cleaning solutions (that’s for another blog post too!) and when I chanced upon Nadis Herbal giving classes on how to make your own beauty products, I quickly signed up on line. The tiny rustic looking shop is tucked away off the main road of Ubud so it’s easy to miss but the experience is well worth it. Using organic and home grown ingredients, I made my own body scrub, massage oil, body mask and jamu.
Jamu is a herbal drink that is taken daily by Indonesians to aid in disease prevention and the treatment of serious health conditions. It is made of turmeric and ginger and sweetners such as honey and palm sugar, and sourness such as lemon and tamarind are added to the drink to round out the taste. I love this drink so much I am going to start making it for myself everyday. Here is the recipe so you can enjoy making it too:
Makes about 1 litre:
This recipe is very much agak agak (estimates) and you can put more or less of what you like.
4 small knobs of mother turmeric (the fat one, not the skinny finger ones)
4 small knobs of galangal
1/2 handful of tamarind pulp without seeds
2 tbsp of coconut palm sugar
1 litre of water
Blend everything together and then boil on low fire for 20 minutes. If there is left over pulp, sieve it before drinking. It can be drunk cold or hot. When it cools down, you can adjust the taste with lemon juice and honey. This can be kept in the fridge for a few days but it’ll be gone before the week is out if you love it as much as I do. If you don’t boil the mixture, the turmeric will be too harsh on the stomach to digest so in this state, you can only drink up to a tablespoon a day. Turmeric is seen as an antiseptic and is anti cancerous so drink up!
Last but not least, one of Bali’s most famous dishes is of course the crispy duck. On the way to Ubud, beside paddy fields, you will find Bebek Teba Sari, a restaurant famous for it’s local Indonesian fare. Highly recommended for a relaxing meal due to its endless 180 degree views of rice fields as you eat.
I have done many cooking classes in Bali (again, another blog post on this) but for those of you who are interested in Balinese or Indonesian cooking classes, Chef Alfie Mossadeg is one of our guest chefs and he teaches wonderful Indonesian Cuisine classes at Palate Sensations. Having worked for a number of years in Bali, he sure knows his nasi campur so do check out his classes here.