I’m currently bombing around the south of England, staying in hostels, and doing the odd bit of TV work here and there, so there’s not much interesting to report at the moment (but maybe soon…!).
So anyway, it’s time for a little bit of retro blogging. And as the nights draw in, and the air turns cold, what better thing to contemplate than good, tasty food in warmer, sunnier climes?
I really didn’t expect Bali to be a haven for vegan food, but to my delight I was more than pleasantly surprised. Perhaps it was the fact that I was in Ubud, the more hippy part of the island, but when it came to vegan places to eat (and vegan options) I was spoilt for choice!
I won’t go into the many pizza places and curry houses that could and would easily, and happily, make minor adjustments to their vegetarian options to make them vegan. Instead I’m going to highlight the best three vegan eateries I came across on my many bimbles around Ubud.
The Yoga Barn Cafe
Naturally, this place I came across after doing a bit of yoga at the yoga barn below. Actually, from where you sit you get a nice view of the Yoga Barn itself, and the so-called ‘amphitheatre’ space in front of it.
It’s a nice place to sit, but though there seems to be plenty of room, I went there twice to eat only to find two of the big tables were reserved and all the rest were full, and so I had to abandon the idea. With that in mind, if you do fancy giving it a go, time your arrival for at least five minutes before one of the yoga classes turfs out.
As is often the way when I am somewhere new (and when there’s the possibility) I plumped for the burger. In my year of traveling I’ve had them in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Toodyay, Perth (twice), Pemberton, Adelaide, Byron Bay, New Plymouth and Queenstown, so why should Ubud be any different? :)
It didn’t come in a bun, but in a kind of pitta bread, which makes it more of a lentil patty than a burger in my book. But anyway…
Actually, the pitta proved useful, as the ‘burger’ – as so many other lentil burgers do – tended to fall to pieces when you bit into it. So having a pocket of bread to catch it in was kind of handy.
Integrity aside, the burger itself was pretty tasty. One of those ones that you can tell was put together from healthy ingredients, and so is good for you. I can’t complain about the quality of what I actually managed to get in my mouth.
I washed it down with a mint smoothie that was, as advertised, just a big bunch of mint blended with a lot of ice. It did the trick, not only quenching my thirst, but garnering the admiration of those around me, lol. To be admired for your choice of beverage is an odd thing indeed!
For dessert (and let’s be honest, the real reason I was there!) I had a raw mixed berry ‘cheesecake'; one of the many delicious desserts they had on offer.
It was, quite simply, excellent. I’d have it again and again. Then I’d have some more, and probably regret it. But then I’d take some home as well. It’s a good cake.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sort of place for you to indulge too much. Unlike a lot of Ubud, they know their clientele has money, and they set their prices accordingly. I’d say their prices were a good twenty percent above everywhere else. That’s not to say they weren’t serving quality food, and probably paid extra for good ingredients, but just so you know there’s cheaper places to go.
The Vegan Warung
The Loving Hut is one of those chain restaurants that I seek out wherever I am. The politics of their ‘religion’ might be a bit… unorthodox, but you can’t deny they do a nice bit of scran; if a little heavy on the mock meats.
So far I’ve been to the ones in Hong Kong, Camden (London), San Francisco (three of them), Los Angeles, Auckland, New Plymouth, and Singapore (to come in a future post). So with such a variety of locations, it should be no surprise they’ve made it to Bali as well.
Actually, the place I went to wasn’t called The Loving Hut, but the Vegan Warung (‘warung’ basically meaning cafe). Not that they were any different from the others. Same choice of menu – being vegan food; the actual options vary greatly depending on what country you’re in – and the ubiquitous TV in the corner playing often off-putting programs.
I liked it better than some of the other Loving Huts I’ve been in to be honest. It had it’s own low-key style, and thanks to that it was nice and comfy being there.
I had the nasi goreng, which is a kind of noodley thing. It was so good it barely touched the sides going down. I was absolutely starving when I went there! Thankfully, by the time I left, I was quite satiated.
I washed it down with a bit of green tea, a pot of which put out a good three cups or so.
It was a good, simple meal, that cost me about 39,000 IDR (that’s £2:10 to you and me! – 2:50 EUR, 3:35 USD, 3:60 AUD).
I was glad I’d stuck with the walking mission to get there, along Jalan Raya Ubud (east, away from the Palace). It’s further out than any of the maps make out. Not a million miles, but enough to make you doubt yourself. It’s worth the effort, but I’d be sure to pop to the loo before you head back: Not because of the distances involved though, but because it’s so darn cute. ;)
Sari Organik was recommended by the two American girls I met doing the elephant ride, and with it’s mix of vegan food and out of the way location amongst the rice paddies of Bali how could I stay away? I’d been itching to get amongst the terraces all week, and if I could walk there myself, well all the better.
The walk itself would test my navigation skills to their utmost. With no Google Maps to rely on (not that it’s the most reliable for Ubud anyway) I was reduced to doing it old school; scribbling things on freebie maps.
X marks the spot I was trying to get to, up near the top of the map, and my start point was somewhere off the bottom of the page, just below the Yoga Barn (the green blob near the bottom right corner). It’s a heck of a walk, but I had all day and nothing else to do, so I was in no rush.
Thankfully, my old orienteering skills kicked in. You’ll see on the left I’ve marked Campuan Bridge. I was confident of getting to Jalan Raya Ubud, the main road, and so I knew that if I headed along there and got as far as a bridge I’d gone too far. That gave me a small selection of turnings to choose from. One of them would be the one I wanted for sure. Would that life were so simple, lol. :)
I wandered past the turning I needed to take at least once. That’s because it wasn’t so much a proper road as a bit of a semi-private side street. I only investigated it as the two girls had said that the path to Sari Organik as a bit obscure, but if it wasn’t for this sign up near the end of the ‘street’
I doubt I would have ventured much further.
But now I was on the right path, and with a lack of deviations (thank God), all I had to do was walk and I was there.
Despite being hungry, I actually didn’t mind not knowing if I’d find it or not. I was also there to see rice paddies, and there was certainly no shortage of them!
It was a good 5-10 minute walk up the narrow path to Sari Organik, and not only were there fascinating views to enjoy, but there were many scooters whizzing past to keep you on your toes!
Scooters are a primary form of transport in Bali, and they’re also quite popular with visiting foreigners, but I’ve no idea why? Honestly, walking round Ubud, I’ve never seen so many people with scrapes and breaks on their knees and elbows. Seems like a lethal occupation to me.
Anyway, it wasn’t long until I reached Sari Organik.
The sign and gigantic rock were fairly obvious, but just in case you weren’t paying attention they even had their name written on the path itself.
Inside was lovely and open,
and even though the balcony (the place to be!) was all full,
I managed to get myself a prime spot in the corner with some excellent views.
Now here’s where I show my Bad Blogger habits (and we get an abject lesson in taking notes). I can’t for the life of me remember what it was I ate! I mean I got a photo. This is it:
But I can’t tell you what it was called? I just can’t remember. I think it was something beginning with C, but that’s the best I can do. I mean you can see from the picture, there’s some tofu stuff in yellow stuff, some tempura vegetables, some rice, a fried veggie patty thing, and some nutty creation (the brown stuff at the back), but that’s the best I can do I’m afraid.
I can tell you it was lovely though. A nice mix of food, very fresh, and very tasty. I approve of my random choice, even if I can’t remember what it was called. :)
What wasn’t so tasty was the chocolate sorbet I had.
I treated myself to a dessert after the mission to get there, but I wish I hadn’t. It was just plain nasty. I tried a few bits and then shoved it aside, utterly convinced that chocolate was not meant to be a sorbet, ever!, and whoever was responsible for this monstrosity should be punished. Ok, so I’m exaggerating a little, but the fact remains: Don’t eat the chocolate sorbet!
Thankfully I had another minty green drink to wash the taste away. Similar to the one I had at Yoga Barn, this had some other green stuff in it besides mint, but what it was I couldn’t say. It too escapes me. It was good though, that much I do remember.
Of the three meals I’m outlining in this post this was the middle priced of the three. Value for money, and not just because of the walk, I’d recommend going there any time.
COMPETITION TIME: How many chicks can you spot in this picture?
No prize other than your own smug self-satisfaction. Answers in the comments section below please. :)
After the meal I went for a wander further up the track, just to see what was there. And, in no particular order, here’s a few of the shots I took that you might like.
And my favourite three pics I took on my long, nay epic, walk along the Sari Organik path: