Dinner at Pak Bilal’s House in Java

Venetia Stanley

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My holidays in Java

One huge highlight for me throughout the whole Aman Journey was a private dinner at a local gentleman, Pak Bilal’s house in Java. Upon arrival at Pak’s house, I was instantly struck by the magic of his home; I had no idea what to expect when entering a traditional Balinese house, yet it managed to exceed any preconceptions of mine.

Built out of bamboo and local wood and with no electricity or running water and completely candlelit, it felt remote and romantic all at once. The dishes Pak created for me were delicious and fresh, all cooked on hot coals right in front of me. Not only were the smells and tastes exciting but hearing the story of Pak Bilal’s father who had worked with Aman for 20 years, and how his son had carried on the tradition of inviting guests into his home, was something very special. It was an amazing experience to interact with a local Indonesian in their own home, learn all about the ingredients and recipes and speak to him about his daily life and his work with the community. It was evident that Pak takes huge pride in giving back to the local community, with Pak’s son is now well-known in his village for helping young children attend school, investing part of his income to help others.

A truly standout experience, I was taken aback by Pak Bilal and the impact he has on the people he invites into his home – he is such a lovely and kind man, and so open in telling me about the history and traditions of his family.

I couldn’t recommend it more to clients looking for a real sense for Indonesian life and the chance to take part in something personal and unique. In one word, it was unforgettable.