One of the most memorable gastronomic adventures I have experienced was a cooking lesson in a traditional Sri Lankan home. Sri Lankan food is highly aromatic and rich, featuring all sorts of tropical vegetables not to mention roots, herbs, chills and curry powders. However enjoying authentic Sri Lankan food can be a real challenge because most of the restaurants in Sri Lanka cater to tourists rather than locals. In Sri Lanka, it is commonplace to cook and eat at home with the family rather than dine out.
Gili Air is remote tropical paradise. Quite literally, it is an island off an island situated off the north-east coast of Lombok in Indonesia. It has always been my experience that an island getaway sounds better in theory than it ever is in reality. You turn up to these so called “island paradises” only to find one of two problems – either the beaches are overpopulated with loud tourists and rip-off vendors selling sunglasses and sugary-drinks. Or, you are faced with miles and miles of empty beach and nothing interesting to do except read a book. Gili Air is different though. Not only is it beautiful and remote (I mean seriously, they have ban on all motorised vehicles for god’s sake!) but there are so many interesting things to do on Gili Air without the usual masses of tourists. Plus, credit cards are welcome!
Bali is not my favourite place to go for a holiday. Too many tourists. Too many Australians. But I am grateful to my last trip there when, on a whim I decided to skip drinking cocktails by the pool and go for a half day Bali cooking class. My previous understanding of Indonesian cooking was limited to peanut satay and fried rice. However, attending the Anika Bali cooking class gave me a true appreciation for the complexity and richness of this cuisine as well as the variety of ingredients used. We prepared a several dishes during the class which all tasted delicious, from creamy beef curry and nasi goreng, to bean salad and boiled bananas with palm syrup.