Are you looking for an immersive cultural experience in Lombok? Are you in love with Indonesian food (and keen to cook it at home)? Anggrek Putih Cooking Class and Garden Tour might just be the right place for you. Set in lush tropical gardens and offering hands-on classes suitable for any level, the experience is as visually beautiful as it is delicious. In our in-depth review, we share what our experience was like so that you know what to expect and whether it’s right for you.
And just in case you’re wondering: We paid for this experience ourselves (and we did not disclose at any point that we might be writing about the experience). So you can be sure that the experience we had is what anyone else is likely to experience too.
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Who provides the cooking class and where does it take place?
The cooking classes are held at Pondok Anggrek Putih [Google Maps location] (meaning White Orchid Cottage), their beautiful property in Meninting – located between Mataram (the largest city on the island of Lombok and capital of West Nusa Tenggara) and the resort area of Senggigi on the Western coast.
When are the cooking classes being held?
Cooking classes take place daily from 1300h to 1700h. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation between 1230h and 1245h.
While the class is scheduled to take four hours, it may take longer. Ours finished well after 1700h (we were back at our accommodation at 1830h). So, don’t book anything else afterwards. Part of the enjoyment is to just relax after the meal, and chat with your hosts and fellow travellers.
Is the Anggrek Putih cooking class good value for money?
We believe the cooking class offers excellent value for money. Not only does the price include pick-up from and drop-off to your (Mataram or Senggigi) accommodation (in an air-conditioned vehicle). It also encompasses a range of other features such as
- a welcome drink and traditional Indonesian snack,
- a garden tour (you can borrow a bamboo hat for sun protection),
- the class (including a rental apron, all cooking utensils and instructions),
- all meals prepared during the class (plus a dessert),
- water/coffee/tea, and
- recipes/photos afterwards.
How was our experience at Anggrek Putih?
Review of the Anggrek Putih Lombok Cooking Class
At Anggrek Putih cooking class in Lombok, each participant prepares one dish, meaning the larger your group, the greater the variety to try. Participants in our group could choose their cooking station (and thereby which dish they wanted to prepare) on a first come first served basis. We had 10 people in our group and were able to prepare/taste: Beef Stew (Beef Rendang), Chicken Satay (Sate Ayam), Corn Fritters (Perkedel Jagung), Fried Noodles (Mie Goreng), Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng), Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf (Pepes Ikan), Vegetables in Peanut Sauce (Gado Gado), Chicken Soup (Soto Ayam), Sweet and Sour Shrimp (Udang Asam Manis) and Fried Eggplant (Terung Goreng).
The food quality is outstanding. Many of the ingredients come straight from the on-site organic garden. In fact, before the cooking class starts, participants are given a tour of the garden and are able to taste veggies fresh off the plants.
Our group had two instructors, one for every 5 participants, who would first show us (individually) what to do and then we would do it ourselves. Every now and then, they would check on our progress and provide tips. Recipes are shared after the class (as pdf documents) – so there is no need to take any notes.
Tiled and impeccably clean, the large covered open-air kitchen is set in a lush garden (together with other buildings, including a guesthouse and pool). Overhead fans provide a pleasant breeze in the hot afternoon. The L-shaped table layout with individual cooking stations for each person was a great set-up as it allows to observe and interact with other participants. There is a spacious dining table where all participants gather to enjoy the delicious dishes they prepared. Last but not least, a clean unisex toilet in easy reach from the kitchen completes the facilities.
The Anggrek Putih Cooking Class is a family-run affair. Chris, the Greek owner who has lived in Indonesia since 2005, led our tour around the garden and made sure our glasses were always filled. His Indonesian wife, Dewi, and another Indonesian lady provided the instructions during our class (and I’m sure did a lot of other things behind the scenes). All speak English well and are very personable. Even though the cooking class has been provided for years, the team genuinely cares, and the experience felt very personal. Nothing transactional about it (unlike some other activities in Indonesia).
At Anggrek Putih, sustainability is a priority. Ingredients are sourced primarily from the on-site organic garden. No food is wasted: cut-offs are composted and participants receive any leftovers to take “home”. To further improve, we recommend Anggrek Putih consider wrapping leftovers in banana leaves (where appropriate) or using other bio-degradable packaging instead of (single-use) plastic containers.
The Anggrek Putih cooking class and garden tour in Lombok is a great, fun afternoon activity – whether you’re a single traveller, a couple or a family (and whatever cooking experience you have). Chris and his team have perfected their cooking class experience over the years, and there is really not much the team can improve upon. Our only (other) suggestion would be to keep the photo session shorter: After the welcome drink, garden tour and welcome snack, we were just keen to get started cooking.
How to book the cooking class?
We booked our experience the day before. Given our group was full, we would recommend booking a few days in advance (especially in high season) to ensure you’re not missing out.
You can book the class via Viator or WhatsApp (+62 813 8110 8861). Upon booking, you will receive a sample menu and are asked to advise of any dietary requirements.
What else to know?
The team behind the cooking class doesn’t offer just an awesome culinary experience. They also conduct several tours around the island, including to Sendang Gile [Google Maps location] and Tiu Kelep Waterfalls [Google Maps location] on the slopes of Mt Rinjani, to villages showcasing traditions and crafts of the Sasak people and a snorkelling tour to the (Secret) Gilis. For more information head to the Authentic Lombok website.
Where to stay in Mataram
For accommodation, as with any other travel expenses, it’s worth shopping around. When we booked our accommodation, we looked across several booking platforms to find the best value-for-money option but found in this case that Booking.com offered us the best choice and price point. Wherever you book, do make sure you read the fine print to make sure you compare apples with apples. For example, your stay may incur extra charges (like local tourist taxes or cleaning fees). Some booking platforms include them, while with others, you have to pay them to your host upon arrival.
Below are my recommendations for accommodation options that fit the criteria of affordable, often meeting a sustainability certification, and that are close to public transport and points of interest.
|Dewi Sri Guesthouse
|Travel Sustainability Level 1
Beautifully decorated guesthouse
Outdoor swimming pool
Walking distance from the Immigration Office and Lombok's largest mosque
|Pondok Anggrek Putih
|Travel Sustainability Level 1
Lush tropical garden
The included breakfast is a feast
Very comfy beds
|Travel Sustainability Level 3
Beautiful tropical gardens
Year-round outdoor pool
Walking distance to Tanjung Bias Beach
Breakfast is delicious
Alternative options are listed below.
Still on the fence about joining the cooking class?
What other questions do you have that I didn’t answer in my review? Let me know, and I’ll try my best to help.