Baan Por Dee has to be THE BEST PLACE EVER. And that’s saying something, after having been in Chiang Mai for four weeks and experiencing a LOT of amazing places, cafes and restaurants.
All in Food
Being a photographer and choosing my food according to the looks of it, I spend a good amount of time looking at food pictures. I had seen several tropical french toast creations all over the internet before coming to Chiang Mai, and that’s exactly what I wanted for breakfast on my very first morning there. And I sure ended up finding the best one at SS1254372 Cafe.
Goodsouls Kitchen is a vegan cafe and restaurant inside Chiang Mai’s Old City. They offer all-day breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, all made with fresh, high quality ingredients.
I made the spontaneous decision to go to Morning Glory for dinner one night while in Chiang Mai. I had the restaurant marked on Google Maps, but it wasn’t on my “definitely must go list”. Turned out, I was glad I went! Their savoury food was some of the best I had had in Thailand (and I’m quite picky/have a high standard and expectations).
Rustic & Blue is famed for its unique, Melbourne-like food creations and beautiful, Instagram-worthy dish presentation. The cafe’s outdoor setting is beautiful, with a wide open space covered by trees in the heart of Chiang Mai’s Nimman area.
Broccoli Revolution is a vegan restaurant, cafe and cold-pressed juice bar. All their food is vegan, organic, seasonal, grown locally, healthy, and with a focus on zero waste and sustainability. 100% my kind of place.
I’ve tried a lot of street food during my time in Thailand, starting in Bangkok. Eating my way through Pad Thai to Pad See Ew to some unknown noodle soup served by local street food vendors missing any English menu description. Pad Thai and Pad See Ew were my safe go-to options, though I soon learned that being able to pronounce “vegetarian” (and ideally being able to explain that it means no meat at all) in Thai is of great help as well.
I always love getting away from the tourist crowds and exploring a city on my own terms. The best way to do so is usually by getting to know some of the locals and hearing their stories and recommendations.
When researching a country or city I’m travelling to, I always find a brief summary of all the best cafes and restaurants to be helpful, as long as I know that I have similar expectations to the person recommending those places. (To get an idea of my expectations and what I look for on my travels see this post.)
After writing my list of Bali’s Pros + Cons, general tips and recommendations and a list of experiences I’d definitely go back to Bali for, I figured I should also write a short Bali Food Guide - especially since food always plays such a huge part of any trip for me. So let’s get into it…
Green Ginger Noodle House is The Elephant’s (Ubud) sister restaurant, situated in Canggu. While The Elephant (and Dumbo of course) focus on Italian cuisine, Green Ginger serves vegetarian South East Asian inspired meals. They’re just as delicious - don’t miss this established, little Canggu spot if you’re after after a fresh, reliable and vegetarian experience.
The Slow in Canggu is a lot all in one: boutique accommodation, all-day dining, drinks, art, local culture, and interactive retail. It’s a contemporary, immersive experience of Canggu, perfect for anyone with an eye for detail or appreciation for design. Think Cereal mag opening a space.
The Chillhouse in Canggu is a relaxed lifestyle retreat, including accommodation along with organic food at its in-house cafe Cassava, yoga sessions, surfing, and a wide range of cultural and healing activities.
I continued my “healing journey” (which started at The Yoga Barn) at Fivelements a few days later. Fivelements was absolutely beautiful and perfect. It would be hard to find a place that’s more aligned with my values and taste than Fivelements.
My trip to Bali was quite a spontaneous adventure, so most of my planning happened last minute. I was hoping to visit Locavore for their famous 5 or 7 course dinner, but being so popular all the days that I was in Ubud for were of course fully booked. Instead I tried Nusantara by Locavore, which must have been at least just as good. I went for lunch on a weekday, which was a great time. It wasn’t empty, but it wasn’t busy either.
Alchemy is a raw and vegan cafe in Ubud. The space is pretty big and airy, though seemed rather packed when I was there, most of the tables taken by families, backpackers or young travellers working on their laptop.
Just like The Elephant, Dumbo strives to be an ethical, clean, green and earth friendly restaurant. They use fresh ingredients, serve free osmosis filtered water, good Italian wine. All the fresh ingredients are grown in compost enriched, spring fed soils on the shores of Lake Bedugul and the slopes of Mt. Batukaru, and their permaculture garden next door provides fresh herbs for the meal and garnish for cocktails.
Spice by Chris Salans is a French and Indonesian fusion restaurant in the heart of Ubud, owned by Chris Salans. He is a culinary genius and has become somewhat of a celebrity in Indonesia. He’s best known for his innovative approach to food, which first became obvious when he opened Mozaic, Spice’s sister restaurant. He keeps inspiring chefs to be more experimental and has won multiple international awards.
Anyone thinking of doing yoga in Bali, must surely think of The Yoga Barn. It is a bit of an institution in Ubud. A holistic centre for wellness and healing, offering plenty of yoga classes, workshops, retreats, Ayurvedic treatments, detox and meditation sessions, alternative healing, a vegetarian cafe and juice bar, and accommodation. The Yoga Barn provides everything you need for a body and mind cleanse and to feel the healthiest you ever have.
The Elephant is one of the three vegetarian, ethical and slow food restaurants opened by Jonathan Alexander Russell in 2013. Their aim of being at least 110% awesome in everything they do is very obvious, and many of our dishes can be adjusted to become vegan and gluten free. I love that The Elephant, along with Dumbo and Green Ginger, focus on serving healthy, organic food in a conscious and sustainable manner.