A guide to Indonesia through the eyes of its inhabitants
2. Ayu Gayatri Kresna
Ayu is the co-founder and chef of Pengalaman Rasa, which offers authentic cooking classes and culinary experiences in North Bali, using traditional utensils and cooking utensils.
Bali’s must-try dish is betutu. A whole chicken or duck is covered with a complex blend of spices and aromatics known as basic genep, then wrapped in palm bark and roasted over a rice husk fire until 12 hours. The tender, smoked meat comes off the bone. It can also be steamed in a bowl for up to five hours on a wood stove. Often served during Hindu ceremonies, it embodies the richness of Balinese spices.
My journey to become a chef began in traditional markets. Over time, I became interested in knowing the sources of all agricultural, plant and marine products. At Pengalaman Rasa, we host taste experiences that reflect local artisan products, such as naturally fed black pigs, palm sugar, coconut oil, aromatic ginger, and galangal. We call our activities “know the origin” and we believe in conscious consumption.
Shallots, garlic and salt are essential in Indonesian cuisine. Indonesia is incredibly diverse – geographically and culturally – and our ingredients and dishes reflect that. Compared to other Indonesian dishes, North Balinese cuisine uses a more intense blend of spices, and since the region lies between the ocean, mountains and agricultural areas, its products are wonderfully varied. Farmers are always ready to plant local seeds, raise native chickens and ducks, and maintain quality every step of the way. With so many fresh and seasonal ingredients, we never run out of ways to present them to Pengalaman Rasa customers.