Eoin my global yoga teaching, surf-mad husband and I have been returning to Bali for the last thirteen years; and you might say that Bali is not unfamiliar to us. Yet, we are still surprised by the changes, development and increasing hipster-ness that continues to grow exponentially where we hang out in Canggu.
I was describing Canggu or the “gu” to a friend the other night.
What used to be – just over a decade ago – a sleepy fishing village with vast expanses of rice fields, Balinese homes, a few expat villas; quiet beaches with ripping surf, a temple where we once filmed a video for one of our yoga DVDs; where the only food you could find was aussi style surfer food: jaffels (aka gooey cheesy grilled toasties) and milkshakes at the local warnungs; local fish bbqs; and pizza at a place run by an Italian expat; transformed almost overnight into a global mecca of creative health food, chic boutiques, sophisticated spas, boutique hotels, sourdough bakeries, kombucha bars, celebrity tattoo artists; and yoga studios.
We go for the yoga, specifically to teach, at retreat centers that still boast a view of the ever more precious rice fields; but I will confess that even before we get on the plane to Bali, I get excited to taste the superlative food – especially plant based / vegan food – which each year redefines my idea of how delicious and beautiful healthy food can be. It also sustains my yoga practice and energetically I feel lighter and more clear after our annual month in Bali.
And while there are cafes and restaurants that come and go, here is a list of our favorites, the ones we return to year after year; where you can go for a small or large bite, maybe a coffee, or a rose, beetroot or caffeinated latte or even stay for lunch or dinner. In no short order, here’s that list.
This buzzy cafe outgrew its first outpost quickly, and expanded its industrial loft like design into a vast concrete pavillion overlooking rice fields on a Canggu side street. Bursting daily with beautiful people who line up for a very affordably priced menu – almost nothing costs more than US$6 – and the chill tunes, it’s become a Canggu institution and we often do one breakfast here with the group during our Blissology yoga teacher training. We love their chia parfaits, the mango and pitaya smoothie bowls; and their poached eggs with smashed peas on sourdough.
Crate Café, Jl Canggu Padang Linjong, Canggu, p. +62 81 238 943 040. Open daily 6am – 5pm
If you asked our son (who is 8) where he likes to go for breakfast in Bali. Copenhagen would be on top of his list. I think it’s because he is tickled that he gets to choose 3 or 5 options to stitch his breakfast together – and of course breakfast at home doesn’t offer quite so much choice! With everything from warm greens, vegan smoothie bowls, a Danish rye bread and delicious herbed scrambled eggs it is easy to eat here as a family. Ps. their shortbread is delicious as well (I give in to the 8 year old once in a while); and the tropical minimalist Scandinavian decor doesn’t hurt the eyes. I adore their handmade pottery and cups and little brass coffee spoons.
Copenhagen Canggu, Jl Padang Linjong No.71A, Canggu, p. +62 821 4509 3508. Open Tues – Sun 7am – 4pm.
I think Shady Shack put Canggu on the map for innovative, delicious plant based food, thanks to its forward thinking founder Gypsy, and holistic chef Danielle Smith (who also caters the incredible food for our Blissology yoga teacher training at Cosmos Oasis). Set in a white colonial-esque villa with a shady, treed courtyard; you can find everything here from green juices, fruity, spiced iced elixirs and warm turmeric lattes; to delicious bowls that take you on a flavor tour. I love the mediterranean Haloumi bowl and also the Indian inspired one with brown rice, cumin spiced veggies and pakoras; but Eoin swears by the vegan Shark Attack burger. You can’t leave without tasting the raw vegan cacao mousse. We’ve eaten our fair share of meals here and it doesn’t disappoint.
The Shady Shack, Jl Tanah Barak No.57, Canggu, p. +62 819 1639 5087. Open daily 7.30am – 10pm.
We first knew Clear from its original location in Ubud, Bali’s yoga epicenter; where yogi friends of ours introduced us to the “One Love” a frothy passion fruit and cashew milk smoothie that will change your world. 🙂 I feel happily nourished when I eat their Golden Temple coconut curry bowl, our son loves their tacos and Eoin may have tried almost everything on their menu given all the time he has spent in Bali. Dedicated to uplifting communities through a connection to healthy food; I always smile when I see an affirmation written in marigolds on the stairs leading to the cafe. Yet I know that for our family, apart from the inspiring food, the lure of clear also lies in the fireman pole that children (and adults) are allowed to slide from the first floor down; and the funky slide with cushions that abuts the main staircase… Now if only they put fireman poles and slides in restaurants for kids in North America… hmmm 🙂
The hangout and post workout zone for you no matter what diet or cleanse you may be on, Motion’s food tends to be clean, simple, nutrient dense and tasty. I eat here when I want a simple veggie soup, some turmeric jamu, or their delicious lemon/ pineapple cayenne water. Others swear by their breakfast at any time menu. Their strawberry topped pancakes are even paleo friendly; the burgers are made with organic meats or plant based protein on gluten free buns; and their banana bread and paleo / keto friendly desserts are yummy and sustaining.
Motion Café, Jl Batu Bolong 69B, Canggu, p. +62 813 5334 5410. Open daily 7am – 10pm.
Tucked into the front of a traditional Balinese family compound, Cafe Vida is just right for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack. Everything is organic – most produce comes from Balinese permaculture farms – house made and both healthful and flavorful, from their sublime pestos and chimichurri sauces, to the broths they use in their soups; and while there are many options for those on a vegan diet – I love their probiotic smoothie bowls on a particularly hot day – their eggs and meats are also sourced sustainably. This is also the place I turn to if I have a bit of Bali belly or am not feeling 100%. They have a library of healing elixirs, Ayurvedic herbal tea; and you can even do a flight of 6 shots and let me tell you, a little bit of noni, activated charcoal; fresh turmeric jamu; and cayenne and probiotic apple cider vinegar will set you straight quickly. 🙂
Cafe Vida, Jl Pantai Batu Bolong No. 38A, Canggu, p. +62 81 339 886 864. Open daily 7am – 10.30pm.
This minimalist neighbourhood cafe with white walls and curated art quickly became our favorite place in the still somewhat sleepy village of Pererenan – a short scooter ride north of Canggu. This was the spot to turn to after an early morning surf, when your belly was hungry for sustenance and you found it in avocado toast (weren’t you waiting for an avocado toast in a post about bali cafes :-); drizzled with beet hummus, greens and poached eggs; an herbed omelette or a red rice vegan breakfast salad studded with marinated tempeh and jicama. Our son loves their brekkie sandwich and Eoin digs their coffee.
Front Cafe, Jl Pantai Pererenan No.72, Pererenan. Open daily 7.30am – 2.30pm.
Thanks for reading. Please share your comments if you’ve been to any of these cafes, or found other equally sublime places in Canggu, Bali. NAMASTE + ALOHA.