In March, I took an amazing trip, some of which I have already shared on Chewing The Fat. But before I boarded Silversea’s Silver Muse for my culinary odyssey in Bali, Borneo and the Philippines, I spent a magical five days in Bali itself. It was timed just as Bali celebrated Balinese New Year. Unlike most Asian New Year’s Celebrations, Bali’s is unique as it is an intensely religious occasion in a country where Hinduism is practiced by 85 percent of the population. The minority Muslims, Christians and Buddhists all join in the celebration. I was able to celebrate in the confines of two extraordinary hotels: Four Seasons Jimaran Bay on the Indian Ocean and Four Seasons Sayan, near Ubud, which is considered the spiritual heart of the country. You can read my piece on Travel-Wise, where I am a Correspondent. Here’s the link and I hope you enjoy every word. https://travel-wise.com/bali-twice-the-magic/ To see all the images, use the toggle arrows on the sides of the main image. That will take you to all the magical photos that illustrate the article. They may be a bit hard to find, but I think they’re more than worth the effort. There’s a photograph of a little Balinese boy, attributed to me. The actual photographer was my Balinese friend Wahyu Widiyatmika, whom you will read about it the piece.
On the Culinary front, I was lucky enough to spend a half day at the Jala Cookiing School which is right on the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay property. Celebrity Chef Kristya Yuhda presides over the School. He is a master of Balinese cooking. We turned out salsas and spicy sambal matha. As you can see, I am one proud graduate of the school.
Returning to New York, I was anxious to share what I’d learned there with you. It’s been an uphill struggle. Here in New York, where I can find an almost unlimited number of ingredients to make Filipino food or virtually every other Asian cuisine imaginable, that’s just not true of what I needed to make the Balinese dishes I had been taught. Then I remembered that probably the most ubiquitous of all dishes, seen on virtually every chalk board I passed, was actually one of the very first posts I wrote for Chewing The Fat. It goes back to the second month of publication. In November 2009, I went crazy for a local Asian restaurant called “Fatty Crab”. The chef/ owner Zak Palacio patterned a lot of his food from what he learned in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nevertheless, despite its being made in Malaysia, the dish I glommed onto was Nasi Goreng. It is the national dish of Indonesia. And Bali is part of Indonesia. And here is the link to the original post and the recipe so good, it starts the day for much of Bali, population 4 million, two hundred thousand and counting.