September 19th, 2019 in Eat

Preparing an Authentic Balinese Feast at Tresna Bali Cooking School

Preparing an Authentic Balinese Feast at Tresna Bali Cooking School

There are cooking classes in Ubud, and then there’s Tresna Bali Cooking School.

Tresna Bali is so much more than a cooking class — it's a hands-on, intimate, authentic Balinese culinary experience.

It's almost difficult to encapsulate our day at Tresna Bali Cooking School into a single blog post because it was THAT incredible. If you want to learn traditional, home-cooked Balinese recipes in a modern kitchen using only the freshest ingredients, then this is the cooking class for you.

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Why Tresna Bali?

There are dozens of cooking classes in Ubud and hundreds in Bali as a whole. While I haven't tried all of them, trust me when I say that Tresna Bali Cooking School is truly something special. The property is gorgeous. The food is heavenly. The hosts are a delight.

Here's what sets Tresna Bali apart:

  • Gather rare ingredients like torch ginger and galangal from Tresna's organic garden

  • Prepare authentic Balinese dishes that you won't find in restaurants

  • Enjoy a delicious farm-to-table Balinese feast

  • Take in the property's riverside views while standing beneath native coconut trees

  • Learn about the local culture

  • Reserve a night in the Little Wooden Cottage if you'd like to stay and cook

  • Plant-based classes are available for vegans

The hosts, Frances and Adi, are wonderful humans who have put their heart and soul into creating the most authentic cooking experience that Bali has to offer. Adi is a phenomenal chef and passionate gardener. He's very funny and will keep you laughing all day! Frances is a talented experience creator who has thoughtfully designed every detail of Tresna Bali. The aprons are custom made and have a pocket for your iPhone. The knives match the cutting boards. You get the idea.

The Indonesian food that you'll find in Bali is not actually Balinese. Most dishes come from nearby islands such as Java, or they aren't Indonesian at all (I'm lookin' at you, nasi goreng). This is because real Balinese food is either a) too plain for restaurants to serve, or b) too time consuming for restaurants to prepare. At Tresna Bali, you'll prepare real Balinese recipes that Adi cooked with his family as a child and has adapted to perfection over time.

Price & What’s Included

Tresna Bali Cooking School costs around $70 USD per person and includes:

  • Pickup from Ubud Center

  • Welcome drink

  • Individual cooking station

  • Hands-on experience

  • Cook at least 2 salads, 5 mains, 1 dessert and several sambals

  • 9-course lunch feast

  • 15 recipes emailed to you

  • Frances takes iPhone photos throughout the day and airdrops them to you at the end

I hesitated to book my spot at Tresna Bali because $70 seemed quite pricey for Ubud, but after experiencing it first hand I can promise that Tresna is 100% worth your time and money.

What to Expect at Tresna Bali Cooking School

When you arrive at Tresna Bali Cooking School, you'll be greeted with a warm smile from Frances and a sweet mint coconut water. After choosing your individual cooking station, you'll head outside to Tresna's 100% organic garden to gather ingredients like turmeric, lemongrass, green beans, cassava leaf, kaffir lime, and more. Adi is an expert gardener, so you can expect to learn all about the different plants, trees, fruits, and vegetables growing on the property.

The next few hours are spent cooking 15 different age-old Balinese recipes to be shared together as a feast. This may sound like a lot of work, but everything is prepped in advance and there's team of people working in the background to make the experience seamless and effortless.

Here's a small sampling of what we experienced throughout our day at Tresna Bali:

  • We hand-squeezed the milk from coconuts to make beautiful homemade coconut milk

  • We used traditional mortar and pestle to crush and grind ingredients into an 18-spice paste

  • We made peanut sauce from scratch

  • We learned the proper way to remove the root from lemongrass

  • And so much more!

The Feast

Not only was this the best food I ate in Ubud, but it was perhaps the best food I've had in my entire life thus far. We noshed on:

  • Homemade corn fritters

  • Organic veggies and greens tossed in homemade peanut sauce

  • Hand-chopped chicken with green beans and grated papaya

  • Skewered Balinese pork satay

  • Grilled chicken with lemongrass, shallot, chili and kaffir lime

  • Balinese seafood curry 

  • Sweet and spicy tempe matchsticks

  • Black sticky rice pudding

We usually had 1 spicy version and 1 not spicy version of each dish to accommodate everyone's tastebuds and spice tolerance. With so many dishes, there was plenty of food to go around and we were completely stuffed at the end of the day!

As I write this post nearly 1 month later, Tresna Bali Cooking School is without a doubt the best experience I've had in Bali and I would definitely do it again the next time I am in Ubud. If you want to learn about Balinese cuisine and culture while preparing the best feast you'll ever have, do not hesitate to book your spot at Tresna Bali.

This post is not sponsored and my booking with Tresna Bali Cooking School was paid for with my own money. All opinions and photos are my own.