Between the countless satay varieties, the spit-roast bites and the Jimbaran seafood, it’s obvious that the Balinese cuisine is a fan of animal-based protein – which is why many vegetarians and vegans think of a trip to Bali as a week filled with fried rice and steamed veggies. But, to the benefit of our palates (and the planet), one local restaurant in Ubud dares to go against the grain and swap all that meat for Portobello mushrooms. Its name? Moksa Ubud Restaurant.

A word of advice, though! Before you file it under “another Balinese restaurant with Trip Advisor’s stamp of approval,” know that this eatery is more than just a place to satiate your hunger. The people at Moksa have combined Bali’s zen lifestyle with their love for anything that comes from nature, and the outcome is a unique dining experience that recruits not just your taste buds, but also mind and soul.

The Certified Plant-Based Chef

Moksa Ubud Restaurant is the vision of two bright individuals, one of which is chef Made Runatha. Having worked in many hotel restaurants in Asia and Europe over the years, the classically trained chef got acquainted with both cuisines, fusing them harmonically every chance he got. But, that was just the beginning. Urged by his passion to make healthy food taste great, the creative chef delved into the healing side of food. This career twist helped him learn more about the health benefits of a vegan/raw diet which he then embraced with open arms.

The restless chef even went as far to move to the U.S. to study the art of plant-based “uncooking” at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. There, with the help of Cherie Soria, the “Mother of Gourmet Raw Food Cuisine,” he became the world’s first Indonesian certified plant-based chef.

The Drool-Worthy Menu

Armed with his new-found knowledge in the gourmet vegan cuisine, chef Made Runatha developed many plant-based dishes and drinks for his own restaurant, Moksa Ubud. Of course, it wasn’t just his studies that made the menu stand out. His creativity and culinary background helped him take the dishes to a whole new level. In fact, you can think of his dishes as a balanced fusion of the European, Asian, raw and vegan cuisines. If this combo sounds like your cup of tea, make sure to try the Balinese “paella,” the Moksa “cheese” trio and the raw curry soup. PS: The caramelized banana crepes are the perfect ending to any meal.

The Peaceful Ambiance

Nestled amongst lush coconut and papaya trees, Moksa is the perfect way to escape Ubud’s hustle without having to drive for hours. The plant-based eatery is located just 10 minutes away from downtown Ubud, allowing both locals and tourists to enjoy their meals at peace. Besides the beautiful natural setting, the restaurant features a customer-friendly layout which enables you to take a look at the kitchen as your food is being prepped. That way you can check just how fresh the ingredients are and what exactly goes into each dish.

The Permaculture Garden

When it comes to restaurant trends, the farm-to-table movement is by far one of the best. This locavore type of eating promotes the consumption of fresh, organic produce, a habit that not only boosts the local economy but also saves the planet by reducing the total carbon footprint. Just imagine that your favorite supermarket produce travels 1.300-2.000 miles on average to get on the shelves. #notcool

Inspired by this environmentally sustainable trend, the people at Moksa Ubud restaurant decided to grow their own garden to which they would turn for fresh produce. But, they didn’t just stick to basics. Instead, they took the whole farm-to-table thing a step further by creating a fully functional permaculture garden.

This gardening approach supports the idea of planting, growing and harvesting plants that are a perfect match for the local climate/environment. By choosing their crops mindfully, the permaculture farmers at Moksa work with nature rather than against it and steer clear off of artificial and potentially harmful mechanisms such as pesticides. As a result, they end up producing healthier plants while revitalizing the soil they use, especially as the years pass by.

But, besides serving as a high-quality source for fresh produce, the eatery’s organic garden adds to its overall charm by offering patrons the chance to get in touch with nature. In fact, chef Made Runatha and his colleague, Janur Yasa Made, always urge visitors to take a walk around the garden and become one with the setting’s natural beauty. Talk about a cool way to nourish your body and soul!

The Cooking Class

Have you ever had a meal so good you wish you could recreate it at home? Well, the people at Moksa are here to make this wish come true. Hosting private cooking classes every Wednesday and Friday, chef Made Runatha makes plant-based eating a breeze simply by introducing you to the basic cooking principles of veganism.

From sharing his secrets about the plant-based cuisine to teaching you how to blend various textures and flavors, the chef can help you find out how to eat healthier on a plants-only diet. Don’t forget, though! The classes are available only upon request, so make sure you sign up for the course at least a week in advance. And a heads-up: The lesson starts at 9 am and finishes at 1 pm at which time you can enjoy your lunch, a.k.a. the dish you prepped during the class. Isn’t that a treat?

The Colorful Farmer’s Market

Determined to create a restaurant which awakens all the senses, the two owners also host a Saturday farmer’s market once a month. As bizarre as it sounds, the colorful event is the owners’ way of encouraging tourists and locals alike to give the plant-based diet a shot. The market starts at 10 am and ends at 2 pm, but it’d be a good idea to reach out to the owners for more details on dates. Also, remember to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) as the people at Moksa do everything in their power to reduce the use of plastic.

What do you think of Moksa’s holistic approach to plant-based dining? Would you grab a seat at this restaurant? Let us know in the comment section down below!


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