16th Jul 2012
Raw Food Binge in Beautiful Bali
All the way back in June, I visited Bali to visit friends and to indulge in raw foods. It was an amazing weekend! I feel very grateful to be living in a place that is so close to the beautiful island of Bali. It would be even better to actually be able to live in the island paradise, but for now, short visits to getaway from the Big Durian are enough to nourish my soul. Not only is it beautiful and peaceful on Bali, but it is a mecca for organic, whole and raw foods in Indonesia. Usually, I am relegated to my own kitchen to make my raw food meals, but when I am in Ubud, I can relax and let the chefs of the various cafes that feature raw foods to tantalise my taste buds. I was really looking forward to eating restaurant made raw food all weekend- and gave myself the mission to gorge. I'd like to say that I succeeded!
My sayang and I opted for the red-eye flight to Bali rather than the mad dash on a Friday evening to the airport. So we were a bit bleary-eyed when we arrived at our accommodation, the Swasti Eco Cottages. This was a beautiful place on a one-hectare garden space near the Monkey Forest, which even had its own organic vegetable garden which supplied a lot of the fresh fruits and herbs to the restaurant. It is a chemical free resort that used recycling bins and only natural products. I was also very happy to see some raw foods featured on the menu at the restaurant, and my raw food gorging began with a delicious cashew nut milkshake made with raw cacao and banana. My love had a similar shake that featured mint, which was maybe even more delicious than my choice (don't you just hate it when your choice isn't the best!)
I was so happy to do some shopping while in Ubud. I grabbed some products from Utama Spice, a local company that makes natural skincare made from pure and natural ingredients and using traditional Balinese recipes. I love these products, so I stocked up on the body lotions, liquid soaps, bar soaps, lip balms and incense that I was starting to run low on. Yay! Then I stopped into Bali Buddha and did a little happy dance to find agave, raw cocoa butter, cacao nibs, maca, natural nut butters and even buckwheat groats- all things I cannot source from anywhere in Jakarta. It is strange that a city of 15 million people has no shop that is anything like Bali Buddha which is in a small island town of a few hundred thousand people. In any case, I walked away with a lighter wallet but a bag heavy with wares that make this little raw foodie very happy!
Sunday's lunchtime feasting happened at Sari Organik, another of my favourite places to dine in Ubud. Set in the rice fields, it is in a tranquil location and features organic food for all its menu items. I loved my pumpkin salad and tumeric and aloe vera juice! My friends also loved their borag salad which was a colourful plate of beet and carrot and tomato on a bed of greens.
My final eating spot for the whirlwind weekend was at Soma Cafe, which had an entirely veg menu, featuring raw foods. They also had a small shop where I picked up irish moss, another impossible to find ingredient in Jakarta, as well as cacao beans AND an entire fresh cacao pod!
The food here was tasty, but the portions were quite small. I ordered a live pizza which was more like a snack or starter bruschetta than a main...so I ordered a papaya salad and a raw coco loco berry smoothie as well- all were delicious!
I can say that I definitely achieved my goal of gorging on raw food all weekend. Even though I gorge on raw food most of the time, it is nice to have the food prepared by another person and to be able to sample some gourmet raw meals. It was inspiring to taste new flavours that I can now try to replicate, as well as to be part a burgeoning community of raw foodies for a weekend. As always happens after a fun weekend in Bali, I am now dreaming once again of living in Ubud, where living the lifestyle I want to have would be so much easier than in Jakarta. That said, there is a small group of us in Jakarta too, and I am meeting new people all the time who have an interest in living a wholesome and healthy lifestyle. I'm hoping that the workshop series I'm running this month will also be an inspirational experience. But for now, I get to enjoy all my wares brought back from Bali and can be grateful that there is access to such amazing products- and if it takes a trip to Bali to get them, well, I can definitely think of worse places to have to go to for a shopping run!