A Very Special Balinese Dinner

Day 45, Grand Asia 2018

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, At Sea:

Not all food adventures on this cruise take place on shore. Tonight I joined about 60 other passengers for a seven-course Balinese dinner paired with wines in the Pinnacle Grill.

Chef Heinz Von Holsten boarded the Amsterdam along with his wife a few days ago and has hosted three Culinary Center cooking demonstrations. He has lived in Bali for 30 years and was executive chef at the Grand Hyatt before opening his own restaurants, Bumbu Bali and Bumbu Bali Two.


The highlight of his time aboard is tonight’s Guest Chef and Sommelier Dinner. At $79 per person, it is a bit more expensive than I usually spend to eat on board, where an excellent meal in the dining room is included. But given the culinary spin I’ve put on this cruise, I thought it would be worth it, and it was.

(I’ll just add here that I think it is a shame that Holland America doesn’t offer a non-alcoholic price for these dinners. One friend wanted to come but didn’t because she wouldn’t be able to sleep well after that much wine. Other passengers don’t drink for various reasons, and it’s sad that they would have to pay for wine they wouldn’t drink in order to enjoy the excellent food at these special dinners.)

Our sommelier introduced each course while the chef was in the kitchen cooking. He did a good job of pairing the wines – some didn’t thrill me on their own but they improved with the food.

Here’s the menu and a few photographs:

First Course

Villa Sandi Prosecco Il Fresco (Italy)

Krupuk (shrimp crackers), served with homemade sambal

Second Course

Laurenz V ‘Singing’ Grüner Veltliner (Australia)

Minced Duck Sate, accompanied by green bean salad


Third Course

Conundrum White (California)

Green Papaya Soup with Seafood


Fourth Course

La Fontana Albariño (Spain)

Prawn in Spiced Tomato Chili



Frozen Coconut Margarita


Fifth Course

Olivier Ravoire Cotes Du Rhone (France)

Braised Lamb Shank with earthy mushrooms and mild rice cakes


Final Course

Mystery Reserve Wine (it was a wonderful lemoncello)

Dessert Trio: Coconut Pancake, Creamed Black Rice and Mango Ice Cream