As a travel destination, Bali is a real paradise for food lovers. Home to some of the finest restaurants Southeast Asia has to offer, an incredible depth of culinary heritage to explore, and a booming health and wellness sector, flavor is everything in Bali.
One particular food trend is changing the face of culinary culture in Bali. The Farm-To-Table concept is soaring in popularity right now and is creating exciting food journeys for diners on vacation and playing an impactful role in supporting agricultural communities on the island.
The Farm-To-Table is exactly as its name suggests. Unlike in much of the service industry, where restaurants buy from a middleman supplier or even at a market, the principle allows chefs to create direct relationships with farmers who deliver produce straight from the field to the kitchen.
Head Chef Agus Ari Saputra is proudly utilizing the values of Farm-To-Table at Pistachio Restaurant on Jalan Bisma in Ubud.
Chef Saptura says that organic food and traceable produce are increasingly in demand by tourists.
He has consciously crafted a menu that showcases the best of Bali’s local, seasonal produce with sweet potatoes, cassava, and bananas all playing a keystone role in his dishes and is used in increasingly innovative ways.
Chef Saptura suggests that the Farm-To-Table principle, supported by tourist diners, can help support a transition to 100% organic farming in Bali.
He said “We are starting to think about organic food and to find suppliers for us to go 100% organic. If we go to the field or the plantation then we can be sure.”
Pistachio Ubud uses as much organic, locally farmed produce as possible and through building relationships directly with farmers can start to influence the production methods.
Chef Saptura said that health and sustainability, as well as quality and flavor, are all important factors for diners choosing where to eat.
He said “That’s why we started looking for ideas for local food ingredients, one of which is a smoothie bowl using local fruit, apart from being healthier because of its nutritional content, it’s also safer from chemicals”
Although many restaurants in Bali are serving up internationally inspired dishes, locally grown produce is ultimately the way forward for chefs and eateries catering to tourists in Bali. Pistachio Ubud is not the only restaurant in Bali dedicated to the Farm-To-Table principle.
Moksa, also in Ubud, is a vegan restaurant that has its permaculture garden on site. Many of the dishes on the menu are made entirely from produce grown just steps away from the restaurant’s ambient dining room.
Similarly, the world-renowned Room4Desert is establishing a food forest that surrounds the restaurant which is located on Jalan Raya Sanggingan in Ubud.
Ubud is the arts and culture capital of Bali and is arguably foodie central too. Yet, around the island from fine dining to casual beach club light bites, the Farm-To-Table principle is growing in popularity and tourists are raving about the flavors and dining experiences the concept provides.
A prime example of this is Kulkul Beach House in Nusa Dua. The laid-back beach club was renovated and relaunched earlier this year and the culinary wizards in the kitchen have committed to supporting local farmers, reducing waste, and showcasing Balinese cuisines alongside international favorites.
Kulkul Beach Club has also designed a cocktail menu to complement its food menu, which also calls upon the flavors of the food forests and traditional dishes of the island.
There is a small but impactful and growing number of farming communities, businesses, and land guardians in Bali who are working to generate more funding to transition the island to 100% organic farming.
Speaking last week, the ex-Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, made a compelling case for the need for high-quality food production in Bali for the good of local communities, the ever-increasing number of tourists on the island, and the land itself.
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