Eating for Good | Social Enterprise Restaurants and Cafes in Indonesia

  • Fair Warung Bale, Ubud Bali
  • Milas, Yogyakarta Java

Fair Warung Bale
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito". A quirky little mantra that Fair Warung Bale in Ubud Bali seem to live by, and boy are they making a difference. The restaurant is a spectacular example of how successful a social enterprise eatery can be. An initiative created by the Fair Future Foundation, the restaurant funds 70% of the foundations programmes, helping to provide free medical treatments and care for those in need. 'Free healthcare for all' is their mission.

The success of the self-sufficient enterprise is such that the Fair Future Foundation is currently in the process of building a new paediatric hospital, an incredible feat for a social enterprise and foundation. If that wasn’t enough, the restaurant also employs young adults who have or have had medical, social or economic difficulties. Knowing all of this I couldn’t leave Ubud without paying a visit.

Sitting on a sweet little road in the heart of Ubud, the restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike. I climbed up the steep stones steps to the entrance and joined the throngs of people inside the cosy restaurant space. The staff were incredibly cheery and friendly and the tiny kitchen miraculously dished out plate after plate of fragrant food. Happy customers chatted and squeezed in around shared tables, enjoying the lively atmosphere.

My partner and I ordered the vegetable kare (curry) with rice, and it came packed full of carrots, beans, corn, eggplant, tofu and tempe. We also enjoyed the Sayur Ijo Ayam – chicken served in an incredibly tasty and rich sauce alongside rice and vegetables topped with onion flakes. The food was really really good and we're still unsure how the staff were cooking up such delights from the small kitchen set up.

To help visitors understand the contribution they are making by eating at Fair Warung Bale, it is made clear that one meal purchased in the restaurant equates to two medical consultations and treatments. A perfect, simple and impactful statistic which provides customers with an instant understanding of how their money is being used to benefit others. Detailed booklets covering the foundations history, mission and impact are available on each table, a great read whilst waiting for your food.

In 2016, the Fair Future Foundation cared for and treated more than 30,000 poor, sick, disabled and disadvantaged people. Those numbers will keep increasing as the capacity of the foundation increases and the new hospital opens its doors this year. Free healthcare for all is becoming a reality in Ubud so keep on filling your bellies at Fair Warung Bali and let’s make sure the foundation realises its goal.

Fair Warung Bale
Jl. Sriwedari no. 6 | 100m Up From Main Road Ubud, Ubud 80571, Indonesia

Set in a beautiful hidden garden away from the heat and noise of an Indonesian day, Milas is the perfect spot for food when visiting Yogyakarta. Make the effort to find Milas and you'll be very glad you did.

The social enterprise seeks to raise awareness about responsible living, running education, environmental and health programmes for the local community, whilst also training local youth in organic farming, cooking, and running a restaurant. There is also a small library, work space and a shop selling homemade and local products.

Sitting in the shade beneath the rattan and bamboo huts we ordered from a varied vegetarian menu cooked with locally grown and homemade ingredients. We went for the vegetable curry, which came with rice and homemade soft cheese (I would happily have eaten a plate of the cheese alone), and Terong Tempe Bambu Bali which is grilled eggplant and tempe in a spicy sauce served with Urap (an Indonesian salad) and rice. The food surpassed our expectations – it was excellent.

The drink selection here is also brilliant and they serve up everything from traditional Indonesian drinks, herbal teas, fermented drinks, juices, smoothies and coffees. For the little one’s there is a children's menu and a playground to keep them busy.

Before we left we took a look in the on-site shop and bought a book, some muesli, a pencil case and some coffee – come here and you’ll more than likely end up leaving with full bellies and full hands!

This is a sweet little place funding local programmes, and it is definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just a cool drink and some respite from the sun that you need.

Jl. Prawirotaman 4 No. 127B, Parangtritis, Brontokusuman, Mergangsan, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55153

East Bali Cashews
Not a restaurant but a delicious brand of nuts doing good! I love finding social enterprises by surprise and this was one of those instances. Grabbing a bag of nuts for a long coach journey I turned over the packaging and realised that they were produced and sold by social enterprise East Bali Cashew.

A quick internet search later and it turns out East Bali Cashew have turned the humble nut into a successful social enterprise. Rather than traditionally shipping cashew nuts out of Bali for processing, East Bali Cashew set up production facilities in East Bali, employing women of farming families – 95% of the staff employed and trained are women. The enterprise now employs close to 400 villagers, gives management positions to the locals, and purchases raw cashews from over 1,500 small-scale cashew tree plantation owners. They've also built preschools in each of their 12 production facilities, providing schooling, meals and showers to children before their mums take them home at the end of their shifts.

Charity Cafes - The Delicious Directory