There are so many things I love about Bali, and so much passions about sharing the beauty, uniqueness and magnificence of this island where I have been living for more than 13 years now, to you, my dearest readers. Bali is world wide known for its rich and vibrant cultures, its sophisticated art forms, its extravagant religious ceremonies, its idyllic beaches, perfect summer weather, and eventually its friendly people. Many visitors also come to Bali to try the delightful cuisine, from the world class international food to the exotic fragrant local dishes, from the most elegant fine dining restaurant to the simplest warung eatery. The island has become one of Indonesia’s main culinary destinations.
As Bali residents, countless moment we did in our daily life, eating Balinese food with locals that could be : our neighbours, fellow co-workers, or friends. But from all the food tastings our blogs have been, NOTHING beats this special experience we had with the real traditional chef, a lovely Balinese family, inviting us to sit and dine and have a chat with them and be treated as family guests. We are going to the bamboo house that belongs to Pak Putu Witsen and his charming wife Ibu Ayu, located in the middle of lush green landscape in Batubulan, Gianyar Regency.
THE BAMBOO HOUSE
It was quite surprising to find Putu’s house once we entered this rather bumpy road towards a residential complex where most of the houses were built in a modern style, then to walk through all these bamboo trees, lotus ponds, a shaky bamboo bridge over the flowing river, green rice field…surrounding the bamboo house. Actually the house is just a small part of the compound! It is an open air living spaces of creativity, art, culture, gourmet, embraced by nature, covered with the love of all creatures residing in this beautiful place. We spotted a horse chewing his straws and ‘back to nature’ open style shower rooms with leaves as the doors – a very unusual sight you’d see at your front yard ! I can only imagine Putu and his family are living a harmonious life with animals and nature and definitely blessed with the fresh air they breath everyday. It is an incredible house to live in.
The Bamboo House is also served as the activity center of the mystical Balinese martial art called Mepantigan on which Putu is the founder and the senior teacher having the students coming from around the globe, others unique programs are being held here as well such as : Tajog Api (Balinese traditional games using bamboo as the stilt walkers and fire!); Balinese yoga mud with horse. The house environment is so incredibly beautiful, Putu and Ayu are opening their house for any kind of love and life celebration, ie. wedding reception, pre-wedding photography session, a unique mud birthday party (where else can you throw a birthday boy or girl into a rice field full of sticky thick mud!). Video clip shooting, mud action panting, kiss the duck, frog and eel catching games, horseback riding in the mud, Balinese ethnic performances and games are among the activities being held at this very special place. On our way leaving the house, we crossed path with a westerner guest who wanted to do a mud bathing as part of her post breast cancer surgery therapy You see, here, mud has something to do with everything, including a healing therapy.
This Balinese house compound is an integrated part between live stage to see Gede Witsen – Putu’s 11 year old son guitar tapping amazing performance to welcome the guests, yoga training field, Mepantigan Bali, installation art, chill-out open air lounge, paddy rice field, green garden, and a homestay place for nature worshipers!
Installation art and where the Ayam Betutu was ‘planted’ in mud for 24-hours!
Ayu is not just an ordinary housewife – she is a talented Balinese chef cooking from her humble traditional kitchen. This experience to eat with Putu Witsen’s family is something you should not miss when you visit Bali and wanting to do a culinary trip of the island.
It was an extravagant Sunday lunch with special Balinese-Indonesian menu : Mud Rice and Balinese organic food. Ayam Betutu (baked in bamboo chicken with Balinese spices, wrapped in banana leaves), Telur rebus (boiled eggs), Tempe Goreng (fried soya bean cake), Jukut Urap (mixed vegetable with spices and coconut dressing), Kering Tempe (spicy & sweet deep fried tempe with fried peanuts), Serundeng (crisp spiced grated coconut), Sambal (chili sauce) : these are all the dishes accompany the “Mud Rice” which actually consists of thick peanut sauce poured into a mixture of steamed white rice with sweet corn. All using local organic ingredients from Bali, and some of them even grow in the garden such as: water spinach, bananas, lemongrass, gingers, chilis, jackfruits, durians, even the coffee beans!
Preparing the Jukut Urap
Heating the ‘mud sauce’
As Indonesians who are used to strong spices taste, I know the flavor has been toned down to the international palates so that even the most sensitive stomach could enjoy this traditional dishes. Most of their guests who came to experience Eat Withlocals at Putu’s house are Europeans, and they’re the ones who love the most this delectable flavor of Balinese-indonesian cuisine, according to Putu.
Suggested kid’s menu: steamed rice with corn, boiled egg, tempe goreng as the finger food!
It’s interesting to witness the cooking process and the preparation where all the female family members and relatives were involved even the young ones. What’s more fascinating was to know these younger generations have no problem at all to use all the outdated utensils and cooking method, including the brick stove and bamboo kitchenware.
Uci, The Witsens second child, helping on the kitchen. Ask her to sing as well!
Ayu explained how she cooked the Ayam Betutu which has to go through a 24 hours mud-bath in advance, initiated by wrapping the chicken with Balinese herbs and spices in banana leaves, grilling, seasoning, before the betutus go into bamboo tubes for the last grilling process which resulted in a very rich deep spiced chicken you’ll ever taste in your gourmet life! When asked about why does she think this buried-in-mud cooking method will give something kicking in the betutu chicken taste, she simply said: “because we believe every good thing in life must come and be given from the mother earth”… A gourmet philosophy, only a masterchef possesses…
Vegetarian menus are also available, and only two legged animals are used, so expect no pork nor beef here. In fact, snails and eel skewers are among the favorite ‘meat’ dishes at Putu and Ayu’s house.
Balinese believes in Karma phala as the law of nature, we all know that, but more than that, as parents themselves, Putu and Ayu’s inheritance for their children one day would be : the love and preservation of Balinese art and culture, creativity above all things, and Menyama Braya – a centuries old piece of wisdom that views people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds as their own brothers (source: www.balidaily.com ). Living together in peace and harmony – what Putu wishes to see in this perishable life.
And he just learned the Balawan tapping style for only several months
Putu’s family and relatives have found cooking as their passion in life too, specially the traditional and slow cooking method in creating a scrumptious Balinese dish. They tried to offer this hospitality service to their guests who fell in love with the food and the house, they are now receiving bookings for Eat Withlocals experience as well as other activities and programs previously mentioned.
It is a wonderful experience of witnessing Balinese culture, art, and culinary melted in one fine Sunday afternoon…
Tugus and his wishful thinking..
Geo with his drumming skill – so sorry for the broken sticks, Pak Putu 🙁
BeeAmazing Team & friends with the host,Ibu Ayu & family. Where are you, Pak Putu?
About Eat Withlocals Trip to Batubulan, Gianyar : BeeAmazing.com was invited to experience a unique dining with a local family in their home within the island of Bali by Withlocals.com based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
About WithLocals.com : The Withlocals website is a marketplace connecting travelers from every corner of the world with locals in Asia offering unique travel experiences and home dining opportunities. Our experiences are sorted into three categories: EAT Withlocals – TOURS Withlocals – ACTIVITIES Withlocals.
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