C and I left Miss F at home with my parents and jetted off to Asia for an amazing two week vacation. We Skyped daily with Miss F and missed her terribly, but the trip was worth it. We visited Singapore as well as Ubud and Nusa Dua in Bali. While in Ubud, we stayed at the wonderful Four Seasons Sayan. We always book our stays at the Four Seasons with Metaphor Travel, you get the same price as on the Four Seasons website with the added bonus of free daily breakfast, a $100 spa credit, free internet and a room upgrade. We were upgraded to an amazing villa right on the Sayan river. It was truly breathtaking. Our last morning there, C took advantage of the spa credit and got a massage, while I took a cooking class.
The class started with a tour of the market in Ubud. Ubud is a small town in the interior of Bali. If you have see the movie Eat, Pray, Love (I haven't,) it was filmed there. Ubud is about a 10 minute drive from the hotel. Driving in Bali is crazy! The streets are narrow and mopeds zip around at a insane pace. The market was quite busy when we arrived just before 8 in the morning. People were ordering breakfast at make-shift stalls. Indonesian pancakes with sugar cane syrup, Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and sesame balls were on display. It was so interesting to watch the women prepare food in such cramped quarters.
The market was so full of color. Fresh fruits and vegetables were laid out in massive baskets. The watermelons were tiny, about the size of a cantaloupe, and they were the sweetest I had ever tasted. They came in both the traditional red and a more unique yellow variety. Some vegetables were so much larger than what I am used to seeing in America. The carrots especially. The chef showed me the organic carrots which were what I was used to compared to the massive non-organic carrots. I am not sure what they did to get the carrots to grow so large. I was surprised that organic food was available at the market.
There were also baskets of rice and corn. Coconut and palm oil were for sale at nearly every stall. They were contained in bottles that had been re-used. I had seen the large bottles out in front of shops all around Bali. There were also an abundance of banana leaves that are used in many cooking preparations. They were also cut into circles and used to decorate many of the dishes we tried. I am hoping our Asian market will carry them because I have two recipes I am wanting to try in the coming weeks.
Besides produce, you could also purchase spices, cookware, toiletries, you name it. The market was nearly as well stocked as your local Super Target. The only thing food wise that they didn't carry was meat and fish. Fish is sold at the fish market closer to the sea. Bali does not produce beef, most are imported from Japan and Australia. The chef said that American beef was the costliest to import, but it was what he preferred to cook with. Offerings made from flowers and palm leaves were also a popular item for sale. The majority of people in Ubud are Hindu, they leave daily offerings of flowers, rice or money in small baskets made from palm leaves. The offering is a way to give back to the spirits who have provided for you well. I was so lucky to experience the Ubud market. Next week I will post about the cooking class portion of the day. Over the coming weeks I will share the recipes I learned in class, so get ready for some Indonesian delights.