Balinese cuisine is one of the most varied, fragrant, and complex in the world, with incredible blends of spices, local ingredients, and unique preparations methods defining the gastronomy.
You can find carefully prepared meat and fish on every menu, but vegetarianism is widely accessible across the island and one reason why Balinese food is so popular. Loved worldwide but less globalized than the cuisines of neighboring Asian nations like Thailand and Vietnam, taking your time to learn about the rich food heritage on your trip to the Island of the Gods promises to enrich your experience of the local culture.
Our guide runs through the best Bali cooking classes, taught by incredible local chefs at every corner of the island. You’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor and even take your skills back home to your own kitchen with all these immersive experiences. So let’s get into them.
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Flavours of Bali by KDongDing Cooking School, Ubud
Flavours of Bali leave no stone unturned when it comes to your journey through Balinese cuisine. You’ll get to perform all prep work yourself with this truly hands-on experience, starting with a trip to the Payangan Traditional market in the morning, where your personal chef will guide you through your local shopping list.
You’ll learn about the signature flavors of Bali gastronomy through the native meat, fish, and herbs you’ll pick up, and even get to practice Balinese bargaining to get a taste for local custom. Back at the Balinese compound house, you’ll experience an authentic open-air kitchen and be taught about the most critical aspects of Balinese cooking, from the sauce preparation and two different methods of blending Balinese spices.
With free pick-up transport around the Ubud and Payangan area and coffee, tea, snacks, and two meals included in the price, it’s no surprise this Bali cooking class is five-star reviewed. You’ll get your own station to cook up a storm, with in-depth knowledge influencing every minute of the course.
Prices start at just $46 for the entire day, with all ingredients, cooking tools, and on-trip transport included. Flavours of Bali guarantee a genuinely personalized and unique experience for every student.
Paon Cooking Class by Wondernesia, Ubud
For visitors to Bali wanting to take their appreciation of local cuisine to the next level, this Paon Cooking Class by Wondernesia is an affordable local experience. Students are also taken to a traditional market to interact with locals and learn about local food customs before trying their hand at cooking themselves with the supervision of a professional chef.
Expect an authentic taste of Indonesia and tuck into your local lunch at the end of the class. You’ll even receive a certificate to prove your involvement in the cooking class, and you can take your skills back home to impress family and friends.
Paon Cooking Class starts at only $35 per head, with the option of hotel pickup included. You only get one meal with this lesson, but the experience lasts five hours, giving you plenty of time to soak up the culture and enjoy the local shopping and prepping at your own pace.
Traditional Balinese Cooking Class by Traveling Spoon, Ubud
For a truly unique experience where you’ll get a taste for real village life, join a multi-generational Balinese family in their home for this private half-day of cooking. Not only will you learn about preparation techniques that have been passed through generations, but your host and her family will take you through their daily routines and crop harvesting before you sit down for a meal that you helped to prepare.
Your house Putu lives in her ancestral village in a traditional family home. You’ll meet Putu’s husband, Pasta, their three children, and their grandparents before being guided through the same techniques that Putu was taught as a young child.
Putu is now a private villa chef and takes pride in her presentation with artfully decorated plates boasting intricately carved fruit and vegetables. Still, authentic Balinese tradition influences all of her methods and is at the heart of her cooking and teachings.
From $60, you get two meals included with your cooking class and even the option of local alcohol. This is also a private tour, meaning you and your group will get to experience Putu’s family home exclusively.
Jambangan Cooking Class by Jambangan Bali Cooking School, Gianyar, Ubud
Starting at a traditional market, you’ll pick fresh herbs and spices and choose between meat, fish, or a vegan dish to whip up back at Jamangan Cooking School. You’ll even be given a tour of a paddy field and watch the rice farmers hard at work before heading back to a Balinese home to learn about local life and receive your cooking class at a traditional open kitchen.
All classes by Jambangan are in English but taught by authentic Balinese chefs, and you’ll be treated like family, nailing a nasi goreng or spicing up your sambal skills. Enjoy this experience with a group or privately, from just $30 per person. Choose between lunch or dinner and enjoy your own meal after class.
Hujan Cooking Class by Will Meyrick, Tabanan
Located in the central Tabanan regency, this Hujan Cooking Class takes you away from the crowded hustle and bustle of the island’s touristy areas and through authentic Bali with an upscale twist. Taught by celebrity street food chef Will Meyrick, you’ll be taken on a cycling adventure through Bali’s most stunning landscapes before cooking up a storm in an open kitchen.
After meandering lush green paddies, majestic volcanoes, quaint villages, and even a secret temple, you’ll finish with a trip to a traditional market to select fresh produce to take back to Will’s home, which happens to be at Bali’s luxury Puri Taman Sari Resort. With the alfresco kitchen set to the backdrop of the lavish infinity pool and expansive grounds, this cooking experience perfectly balances Bali’s luxury side with its rich culinary heritage.
Conduct dishes like Ayam Betut, Duck Satay, and Karangasem Prawn Sambal and learn about the local ingredients and Hujan techniques as you do. Enjoy your creatives poolside after class! This experience starts at $100 per person, including hotel pick-up, temple tour, ingredients, and bike ride.
Iboe Soelastri’s Cooking Class by Hotel Tugo Bali, Canggu
From local ingredients and exotic spices to age-old techniques taught only by the best, Hotel Tugu Bali should definitely be on your culinary shortlist and is the place to go for a cooking class if you’re in Canggu.
You’ll get to experience a traditional market like many of Bali’s cooking experiences offer. Still, with this Hotel Tugo, you’ll get to make the most of your central location and visit Bali’s biggest bazaar: the Badung Market. Badung will stimulate all your sense as you’ll get a taste for the busy market atmosphere guided by your chef.
Back at the hotel, you’ll enjoy an immersive class designed by Iboe Soelastri, the veteran Balinese chef herself, within a traditional Indonesian setting over wood-fired stoves. Prices start from $70, but hotel guests receive discounted deals.
Scenography Cooking School by RIMBA Jimbaran, Jimbaran
If you prefer sustainability and organic ingredients over the VIP treatment, then this is the cooking school for you. This class is all about getting hands-on with a multi-sensory introduction to Balinese farming and cuisine.
Choose from two experiences, both of which require you to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in but one which takes you on an exploratory journey through a traditional market and the other including an authentic Balinese offering ceremony.
With both classes, you’ll get to whip up a storm in the middle of the resort’s lush 90-hectare gardens. And why not book a stay at Rimba after you’re tiring day of journeying through Bali’s sustainable farming practices? Because the hotel has been named one of the best resorts globally, winning several awards.
Prices start at $70 per person for the class, and add-ons like the market tour and ceremony cost just $10 extra.
What food is Bali famous for?
From Babi Guling, the local delicacy of suckling pig, to Mie Goreng, the stir-fried instant noodles, Bali is famous for fragrant, spicy, and aromatic food. Nasi Goreng is arguably the national dish. The famous fried rice can be found on virtually every menu and is cheap, satisfying, and easy to make.
Like Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng is typically served with a fried egg, along with chicken satay, fish, or vegetables. The dish is also easily made vegan, and Western audiences favor Bali’s cuisine for vastly accommodating vegetarians and plant-based diets. Some other famous Balinese dishes include Gado Gado, the Indonesian salad, Pepes Ikan, which is fish steamed in banana leaf, and Nasi Campur, rice served with various meat stews, stewed veggies, and spicy sauces.
What is a traditional Balinese breakfast?
If you’ve ever visited the Island of the Gods, it’s easy to be fooled by the countless hippie cafes serving protein pancakes, matcha lattes, and smoothie bowls galore. But none of these foods are traditionally Balinese, even if they’ve become readily associated with the island. In fact, Indonesian’s consume savory and even spicy food first thing in the morning more often than they tuck into a pretty bowl of fruit.
Bubar Ayam is a popular breakfast in Bali. This rice dish is prepared with shredded meat, scallions, shallots, pickled vegetables, and chicken broth. But it’s not uncommon for Nasi Goreng to also be consumed first thing by the Balinese. Rice is a staple, and it’s considered excellent brain food. These dishes are filling and nutritious and a great way to set the Balinese up for their day.
What should you not eat in Bali?
You may have heard of the infamous Delhi belly that most foreigners get when visiting India for the first time, but have you heard of Bali’s very own strain of the stomach bug? As it is widely known, “Bali Belly” is something every visitor to the island’s exotic shores is sure to experience at least once. With the blends of spices, foreign ingredients, and sometimes poor hygiene requirements, Balinese food can be a shock to the system for westerners. Still, there are some things you can do to avoid a bad case of Bali Belly.
Firstly, make your own judgment calls about local eateries and the levels of hygiene. Warungs serve some of Bali’s best and most affordable food, but it’s easy to see when street vendors and local restaurants aren’t exercising adequate hygiene protocols. When in doubt, eat at reviewed restaurants and hotels. Also, make sure you only eat washed greens, especially when cooking for yourself. Soak all the fruit and vegetables you buy before eating in filter water, even if you’ve bought them from a big supermarket. Lastly, double-check any meat, specifically chicken, to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked through before you tuck in.