Learning the Art of  Balinese Food at Casa Luna Cooking School in Ubud

A discovery of fresh ingredients and the magic of a mortar and pestle at Indonesia’s most famous island

Set in the gorgeous, lush setting of tropical Ubud at one of the guesthouses owned by Australian expat Janet De Neefe and her family. Casa Luna Cooking School is an institution and for good reason. Inside the cooking school, a semi open-air space you’ll experience a flavour altered experience.

Fragrant fish curries, smoked duck and sambal are just some of the tantalising dishes that you can learn to make. You’ll forget food processor’s and ‘quick’ methods, and instead learn to love your mortar and pestle, and what you can do with a few fresh ingredients.


Casa Luna Cooking School Bali


The classes and school, founded by Australian expat Janet De Neefe and her husband, balance demonstration with hands-on instruction, which makes the lessons constantly engaging. You cook together with your class mates, then eat together at a long regal-like table. It is so fascinating to watch everyone taste the dishes created together and watch their reactions (and satisfaction) with each first bite.


What is different about the classes is the focus on the ingredients, not only their purpose to elevate a dish, but their medicinal properties and use in Balinese ceremonies. Cooking classes are always a window into a culture, but at Casa Luna, you’ll find it a much more important element of your learning, and you’ll walk away with a deeper insight into Balinese cooking, as well as the culture and history.


Classes are run everyday and each class has a different theme. Monday’s focus on fish – this was one of my personal favourites as I am a huge seafood lover. I cannot express enough how wonderful the Fragrant Fish Curry is – this class is a must if you’re the same. The Tuesday and Thursday classes incorporate a trip to one of the local food markets. This is such an important experience because it really provides an intimate view of daily Bali life for locals, and not only what they buy, but also what they cook with. Take for example the hand made knife stall which is extraordinary, or some of the huge, wide local mortar and pestles made from local volcanic lava rock. Of course, just the local fruit and vegetables provide so much visual and sensational inspiration too. Note: On Thursday and Friday nights there is also a night market tour.

Wednesday’s class focuses on ceremonial dishes which makes it a great cultural culinary lesson. Friday’s class provides an introduction to Balinese basics like Nasi Goreng and Chicken Satay. Saturday’s class is completely vegan and focuses on the healing properties of certain ingredients. Finally on Sunday’s they leave one of the best and most exciting cooking classes last – the Smoked Duck Class. Smoked Duck like Suckling Pig is a famed and beloved local dish, and though time consuming, the experience of smoking the duck brings even greater enjoyment when finally being able to eat it.

For a unique and authentic food experience in Bali, I highly recommend a class or even two at the Casa Luna Cooking School. You’ll leave with a belly full and have a new-found appreciation for Balinese food, people and their treasured mortar and pestle.


Bookings: Essential. Can be made via phone or online.

Address: Honeymoon Guesthouses – Jalan Bisma, Ubud, Bali

Ph: +62 361 973 282.

Website: http://www.casalunabali.com/cooking-school/

Notes: While you’re here make sure you visit Janet’s Casa Luna Restaurant and try the five spiced duck rice paper roll – a must. If staying at Casa Luna, you must also try their freshly roasted coffee beans which are also for sale.



You’ll also like:

Foodie Profile #17 – Janet DeNeefe

Travel: Bali Food – Mini Guide

Travel: Locavore Restaurant Ubud


Ubud 80571, Indonesia