A Day In The Mountains: Green Kitchen Bali

bali market Bali Market 2 bali market offerings bali market 4 bali market five bali market six bali market seven Bali Market eight

Yesterday we were picked up at 7am from our villa for a day of market-visiting, rice paddy walking, vegetable picking and cooking lessons. Man. I am so glad we booked this tour.

Jero picked us up and drove us two hours out of Canggu – to Klungkung (where this amazing market is) and then on to Sidemen.  I just found out today that there is a huge textile market at Klungkung (which also sounds amazing) – but we were on a cooking-type-schedule yesterday so we visited the Klungkung fresh food market instead. I can safely say that a) this is NOT a tourist area, it’s far from the madding crowd and home to traditional Balinese village life and b) we were the only white people in the market.

I think it’s pretty easy to have a lovely-yet-generic-Westernised experience in Bali – so I was really glad we got to do something more authentic and put some money into this mountain village economy (albeit only $150-ish dollars, but still…)

Jero showed us all kinds of interesting things at the market – soap nuts (to use when washing your hands) and beans. Lots of different chilis and roots (Lesser Galangal was new to me!) Beans and sweets and some pretty bracing (unrefrigerated) meats and poultry. Heaps of different leaves and vegetables and spices. Baskets and flowers and incense for offerings. Outside there were stalls selling satay and nasi campur and cold drinks. We whipped around pretty quickly – three levels in around 15 minutes – taking lot of photos and trying to stop our eyes bugging out from the size and smell of it all.

Then we jumped back in the car and headed up into the hills to Jero’s family home. He gave us a quick tour – we met the family chickens and a nephew and a grandmother (perhaps!) Then we donned hats and headed into the rice paddies to pick vegetables and get laughed at by the villagers. It was pretty great. It was also pretty hot. And pretty muddy. I am really proud that I didn’t fall over even once. (Rin was with me for this whole adventure, with equally bugging out eyes. Rin also got to have a knife, but Jero didn’t seem to want to give me a knife. Probably a good call because I was a bit over excited at this point.)

jero green kitchen bali rosella rin rice paddy field huthillside village

Once we’d picked eggplant and chilis and snake beans and bean leaves and fresh basil and rosellas (and even more things) we walked through the rice paddies, across the road and up to an outdoor kitchen and dining pavilion where our cooking lesson began.

We pounded and chopped and sliced our way to lunch – with Jero and his sister-in-laws showing us what to do and explaining which ingredients were best, when and why.


tomato sambal boiling the sambal ingredients sambal ingredients 2 ingredients green kitchen bali ginger tea
We made raw sambal, tomato sambal, pork + jackfruit soup, chicken curry, tempeh with sweet sauce, tuna satay, vegetables with coconut, black rice pudding and…. our own coconut oil and coconut milk. We grated the coconut, extracted the milk and boiled some up to produce the oil. It was so great and totally mind-boggling. SUPER hands on and exhausting and delicious.

We drank ginger tea with coconut sugar and rosella tea made from rosella flowers steeped in boiling water.

There was no electricity – everything cooked over flames and smokey coals. All the pastes were pounded and smashed in natural mortar and pestles made from rocks and bits of wood. Everything was served in coconut plates and cups and bowls (and sometimes laid on pandan leaves for colour/good looks/usefulness.)

satay and salad temeph and salad and sambal curry and soup salad and raw sambal satay pre cooking tempeh two hands sambals cook togetherfinal lunch

Once we’d finished cooking – we made offerings and Jero told us a bit more about offerings, being thankful, demons and gods. And then we ate together and chatted about village life and how things work in the village and Jero’s family.

When it was time to go, we bundled a bunch of recipes and a little bag of presents from Jero’s family into the car and were driven back to our villa (to cool off, have a swim and talk A LOT about what we’d just witnessed and learnt.)

Such an ace day. If you go to Bali, maybe you could do this tour too? Jero says it’s mostly Europeans that learn to cook with his family – pretty much NO Australians ever visit.

How amazing does this all look?!

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  1. Hi Pip,
    I am looking for a place to write in Bali and wondered where you stayed when you were there? Or if you know of any nice private and not too expensive places? Thanks for your advice! Isabel

    1. I stayed in Ubud – at Ubud Green twice – which was lovely. Also in Canggu at Villa Askara (which was lovely but a bit far from everything – you need a scooter or lots of taxis/driver!) And at a very cheap place in Seminyak – when we got stuck due to Volcano – we were running out of money, but it was actually not SO bad and very central – Seminyak Square.

  2. Thanks for posting this Pip. I saw your post the week before I travelled to Ubud with my daughters and I booked us in. It was fantastic – the trip to the market, walking through the rice paddies, picking vegetables and then the cooking. We loved how so much of what we ate was growing around us. Grinding and mashing the food by hand was also surprisingly hard work – who needs a gym when you can pound a handful of peanuts into paste by hand? Thanks for sharing your holiday – you helped make ours great.

    1. Mel! That makes me SO HAPPY! Gosh it was hard work, right?! And so hot. But so worth it! Thanks for letting me know that you went. Means the world to me!! xx

  3. Your trip looks amazing Pip and your food pictures look soooooo scrumptious. I am all kinds of hungry now but I do hope that you’re having a lovely time!

  4. That looks amazing!

    1. It was so great! Just the best! Gobsmackingly good and also delicious!

  5. What an amazing experience! Do special.

    1. IT really was so special! What a day! x

  6. I have book marked this for my next trip.
    Thank you so much for sharing
    Recent convert to Bali, two trips in two years, I don’t know why I didn’t go earlier…such a beautiful place and the people and food and colours…

    1. It was the most amazing experience – a bit culture-shocky – but in a good way. In a NEED TO KNOW kind of way! Let me know if you go! x

  7. Oh my goodness that looks like an incredible day, such an authentic experience… and your lovely photos reminded me of the markets in Cusco, the non refrigerated meat (!!) and the smells and being the only white people there! We discovered a little side market in Cusco just like that, complete with all the ramshackle, yet slightly ordered chaos of stalls and bowls, bags, boxes, people and produce… that you captured so well! I love the sound of your cooking day, making your own coconut oil even…Wow! Sounds like the most wonderful thing ever to do, especially with your daughter! How fab, thank you for sharing x

    1. I am so glad we did this, because it’s such an ace memory to hone in on (MUCH nicer than the HOSPITAL memory, right?!) We had an amazing and bracing time!

  8. Good grief. I love the colours. I can smell the place, the food, the rice paddies, those grinding bowls. It all looks amazing.

    1. It was really fantastic and I don’t think I will ever forget the intensity of it all. SO good. x

  9. Oh, you cannot imagine how it gladdens my heart to see an Australian writing about an authentic Balinese experience rather than just shopping and eating in Western oriented businesses. Nothing wrong with some of that but there is so much more to Bali. Sidemen is especially beautiful isn’t it!

    1. I really think I’d like to know so much more about the real Bali. It’s so important to actually dig a bit deeper, right? Rather than just go and buy stuff and have a sanitised, westernised experience. Thanks for reading, Jan! x

  10. This looks like the best day! Wow! I love your photos – I wish I could eat it all. So lovely. Thanks for sharing, Pip!

    1. IT was crazy-good, Carly! I loved this day so much!! x

  11. Beautiful photos – the colours are so vibrant, and what a great experience!

    1. It is one of my favourite Bali memories EVER! Thank you for reading, Inese! xxx

  12. Truly, it does look amazing. I love the colours and the earthiness.

    1. Dani! It was ridiculous! I learnt so much about food and Bali (and a bit myself too!)

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