Dec 05 2011

Amid the paddy: Ubud’s Sari Organic

Published by at 8:57 pm under Food,Ubud


This is the tale of a little walk, up a hill off Ubud’s main street, and through relatively flat, slightly terraced rice paddy, now dotted with ever-more concrete villas and bungalows. It’s a 15-minute walk, or about 800 metres, a sign at the turn off along Subak Sok Wayah tells visitors, to get to a restaurant that has grown enormously in popularity since opening a few years ago. If you know a bit about Bali you’d have guessed by now: it’s Sari Organic or Warung Bodag Maliah.

Here it is, among the rice fields.

Here it is, among the rice fields.

It’s not a long walk, but it can be a hot walk along a meandering cement path that passes through some very typical Bali scenery: farmers at work, the devoted making offerings, a motorcycle whizzing past every few minutes. It’s not very well shaded, so do wear a hat.

Rice. It's hard work.

Rice. It's hard work.

And yes, you’ll need a drink as soon as you arrive. Juices, as you’d expect, are their forte. Their carrot, apple, ginger hit the spot for me (25,000 rupiah) but the menu includes plenty of options, such as a green cleanser — broccoli, apple, celery, lemon and honey (25,000 rupiah). If you’ve not tried a turmeric drink in Indonesia, give it a whirl: the turmeric here is juiced with aloe vera (25,000).

Not a mirage.

Not a mirage.

The organic restaurant has an attached farm, part of which you’ll pass on the way through to the restaurant — and part of which is actually the restaurant, if you take a seat in one of their outdoor cushion-strewn, alang-alang roofed bales.

Yeah, that's pretty fresh.

Yeah, that's pretty fresh.

Or you can sit inside the open air main building, at tables and chairs, or on little raised platforms with cushions. Either way, the view’s pretty neat. The crowing roosters act as orchestra.

Did someone say bucolic?

Did someone say bucolic?

The menu is short, sweet, simple and moderately affordable. Vegetarian nasi campur is 40,000 rupiah; pasta with house-made pesto is 35,000 rupiah; a vegetarian kebab of tofu and tempeh with zucchini, peppers and mushroom with rice is 33,000 rupiah. But there’s meat too: grilled chicken with veggies and pesto sauce and rice is 55,000 rupiah.

We went for the gado gado (35,000 rupiah).

So much for telling the kids they can't eat the leaves in our garden.

So much for telling the kids they can't eat the leaves in our garden.

And the raw papaya salad, a combo of raw papaya, cucumber, carrot and peanuts with a sweet and sour dressing (35,000 rupiah).

Crunch.

Crunch.

Somebody was surprised to see the size of the fruit salad.

"It's bigger than my head!"

"It's bigger than my head!"

Don’t forget to look up as well as out while you’re eating.

A rainbow for a cloudy day.

A rainbow for a cloudy day.

Sari Organic isn’t without its detractors, who fear that the restaurant’s opening has helped to bring crowds and development to the stunning area. Surely responsibility for development lies with authorities who fail to enforce zoning regulations — we’ve been told this area is greenbelt, which means buildings shouldn’t be in the area. This restaurant could be elsewhere, with the farm produce brought to it.

Sadly, this isn’t the first area in Bali to see its beautiful paddy eaten by rapacious developers.

Could the last person off the paddy turn the subak tap off?

Could the last person off the paddy turn the subak tap off?

Still, for now there’s beauty to be found, wherever you care to look.

Plump tomatoes, a scented rose.

Plump tomatoes, a scented rose.

Sari Organic/Warung Bodag Maliah
Subak Sok Wayah
T: (0361) 972 087
sari-organik@hotmail.com

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Amid the paddy: Ubud’s Sari Organic”

  1. Adam @ SitDownDiscoon 05 Dec 2011 at 9:49 pm

    The debate about development of these beautiful areas such as the one around Sari Organik is a tough one. Pros and cons sort of add up to a mass of confusion in my mind. I like the rice fields untouched, but they’re an asset for the Balinese. They can go from a farmer living just above the poverty line to an owner of a car in a flash. Good on them??? Each to their own.

  2. MIss Footlooseon 12 Dec 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I practically melted seeing the photos and reading the post. Especially since I am here in Moldova, Eastern Europe, and it’s winter. Not only is everything outside more or less grey or beige, the fresh vegetables and fruits are so limited.

    When I lived in the tropics — Indonesia, and Ghana, West Africa — we’d eat fruit salads like the one on your photo on a daily basis. There’s nothing better!

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