12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

12 Breakfast Bowls of Bali

Leagan Gaeilge anseo/Irish version here

Although there would be more than enough public houses and restaurants with bars around the main areas of Bali to allow for a kind of makeshift ’12 pubs’ and drunken fulfillment of the Irish reputation for being fond of alcohol, this year my gaze has been less-hazily drawn towards the woolly-jumper clad throngs of merry-makers congregated expectantly outside the various pubs that no longer let them in, but towards something else entirely. It’s the one part of any day in Bali that gets massively overlooked and deserves a whole lot more attention, purely because the breadth of possibilities and flavours it encapsulates is so vast I get excited just thinking about the options and places I’ve yet to try and discover.

I’m an early-riser anyway, and it’s no secret how fond I am of my porridge, but the expanse of healthy and delicious breakfast-food options available in Bali has taken things to another level entirely.

Aside from the fact that I’ve never actually successfully completed a real 12 pubs let alone attempted explaining the concept of it to a Balinese locaility where a Bintang with dinner is considered a luxury, I’ve decided this year to take my proximity to all of these delicious menus to my advantage. The sheer amount of health-food cafés and restaurants along almost every street boasting organic and fresh ingredients and original recipies with bowls of fruity, nutty, and tasty goodness have led me to compile this list of 12 of the most impressive and delicious “Breakfast Bowls” I’ve encountered thus far – ‘Breakfast Bowl’ in this sense being used to describe the coconut-bowl-servings available in nearly all of these establishments of varying mixes of fresh fruits, granola, nuts, berries, seeds, muesli, oats, yoghurt, nut butters, chia and acai blends, coconut milk, water and juice mixes and spinach infused with yet more fresh fruit on top….the list of deliciousness goes on.

 While I’m aware I’ve probably only barely touched the tip of the mint and lime-infused iceberg of breakfast bliss, and that there are still (hopefully) many many mornings I’ve yet to wake up to these bowls of happiness, my festive countdown this year has come in the form of these brightly coloured and elaborately decorated bowls of fruit and health foods, as follows (in no particular order)…


12. Nagu Bomb – Betelnut Café, Canggu

-Dragon fruit, mixed berries, coconut milk, granola, strawberries, banana, grated coconut

You only have to glance at the menu in Betelnut Café, Canggu to understand the hype and reputation it has built up for itself among tourists and locals alike!



11. Shelter Super Crumble with Organic Chia Seeds –Shelter Café, Seminyak

-coconut, chia seeds, banana, oats, strawberries, granola, nuts, vanilla yoghurt, stewed apple, and almond butter

Shelter Café is a hidden gem situated on a rooftop above the Seminyak branch of Nalu Bowls, looking out over a local football pitch and catering to every kind of palate imaginable when it comes to breakfast!



10. The ‘Teahupp’O’ –Nalu Bowls,Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu

-spinach, green apple, granola, chia seeds, ginger, orange, pineapple, mango, banana, mixed berries, almonds, coconut water, coconut milk

The first stop on the list of Nalu Bowls, and my favourite until now! Nalu Bowls currently have 3 locations around Bali and again it’s worth the searching for this small, bright counter – everything healthy, organic, and put together right in front of your face!





                              9. Raw Vegan Grain-free Porridge Bowl- Atman’s Kafe, Ubud

-coconut, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumkin seeds, dried fruits, raisins, bananas, palm sugar, coconut water

Easily my favourite bowl on the list! I returned to Atman’s Kafe a few days in a row but wasn’t able to make myself order anything else! Perfect hearty fuel to get you through a power yoga class at the Yogabarn!



8. ‘The Breakfast Bomb’-Crate Café, Canggu

– Banana, almond milk, muesli, cashew nuts, strawberries, extra banana and dragon fruit on top!

You will feel cool and like part of the gang just sitting at this café. Trust me. Endless breakfast options, all written on the wall in permanent marker because, yknow, that’s hip and stuff…



7. ‘The Hulk’- Eden Café, Canggu

-spinach, cashew milk, banana, avocado, green apple, bee pollen, granola, strawberries

Easily the most affordable option on this list, Eden Café is an extremely friendly and health-orientated little place, every option packed to the brim with nutrients and hidden healthy boosters. (I added in a scoop of my own peanut butter, but shhhh).




                                     6. Chia and Mixed Berry Bowl –Avocado Café, Canggu

– chia seeds, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana, cashew milk, strawberries, muesli, coconut, coconut milk

Another to add to the list of amazing Canggu cafés is Avocado Café. I especially liked the decor in this place and it was really usefully situated right at the top of my road!



5. ‘Super Tropical Bowl’- Garden Kafé,The Yogabarn, Ubud

– seasonal fresh fruit with lime, raw muesli and live probiotic yoghurt

The Yogabarn’s very own café is an amazing place to refuel after a tough Power or Bikram yoga session, and with wholesome, organic and freshly prepared juices, you’ve no excuse not to pack the fruit and veg along with your yoga mat.




                                 4. ‘Uluwatu’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

 dragon fruit, banana, papaya, coconut milk or apple juice, strawberries, coconut, raspberries, granola

Back to Nalu bowls again for this one, the ‘Uluwatu’! You can’t see it in this picture underneath all the extra granola but the smoothie blend is a deep beautiful shade of purple from the dragon fruit…unbelievable!



3. Vanilla Almond Quinoa Porridge – Shelter Café, Seminyak

– Organic quinoa, vanilla, coconut milk, cinnamon, banana, berries, mixed nuts, almond butter, fresh almond milk

This was just as delicious as it sounds. Absolutely every ingredient alone is mouth-wateringly tasty and so combined it made for pure porridge heaven. I’d absolutely love if the Builín Blásta started doing dishes like this….




                                              2. ‘Tropical Bowl’- Betelnut Café, Canggu

-dragon fruit, cashew milk, pineapple, watermelon, mango, grated coconut, chia seeds, granola, cashew butter, coconut water

Betelnut delivers yet again with another bowl of deliciousness, the addition of cashew milk to this one and a heap more fruit on top making it almost preferable to the famous Nagu Bomb Betelnut has become famous for. Almost.



                  1. ‘Maverick’s’ – Nalu Bowls, Canggu/Seminyak/Uluwatu

-acai blend, mixed berries, mango, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, strawberries, coconut water, shredded coconut meat, granola

Our last stop is back in Nalu Bowls again, for a taste of their own special secret acai blend. I’m still not entirely sure what exactly it contains but it’s purple, super tasty and incredibly healthy!



Making Banana Matoke in Uganda

Matoke, or ‘banana-mush’ as I christened it during our short trip there in October 2013, is one of Uganda’s staple dishes. The consistency of mashed potato with a distinct flavour of banana, this complex carbohydrate serves as the main source of sustenance for many poverty-stricken families in Kayunga, Uganda, and is regularly eaten straight from the leaves in which it is cooked.
As we carried the newly chopped branch of banana-tree back through the shanty village of rusting huts and makeshift washing lines sporting colorful arrays of materials, a gathering a of local semi-naked children gathered pied-piper like behind us. Jumping and hollering and swatting one another out of the way to allow themselves a better view to stand briefly in front of the giant metal contraption they somehow knew was recording them, the din of their excitement and swarm-like congestion around us almost caused me to drop the 2-metre long waxy leaves of the banana tree I had been entrusted with. My charge, a 17-year-old girl named Jan, looked back over her shoulder and laughed heartily at my struggle, as she had only minutes earlier when I had failed to muster the strength required to chop through the 2-foot width of trunk, even after repeated hacking and several grumbles of frustration. She had simply taken the machet from my hand, tipped the spot on the tree where she planned to chop, and in one large swooping motion far more powerful than any of us could have anticipated from her, amputated the thick branch from it’s bark.
“Like that!” she proclaimed proudly.
The brief respite from shame which followed my failure was broken as I tried to move the large bunch of bananas that had fallen with the branch. A sensation akin to taking that extra step in the dark at the top of the stairs when there is none, I found I had severely underestimated the weight of the cluster of 30 or 40 bananas. It wouldn’t budge.
Again Jan chuckled happily to herself and, having fashioned a circular crown-like base for herself out of the thick leaves on the ground, hoisted the bunch of almost-yellow fruit atop her head, and proceeded to walk steadily back through the trees the way we’d come. I was left, cheeks burning, to wrap several long waxy leaves in strips and bind them securely together, following my guide like a lost puppy as I struggled with the substantially lighter option of the leaves of the tree upon my head.
Once we’d made it back through the herd of local children, we set to work on the front porch of the shed-sized dwelling where Jan lived and supported her widowed mother, and 5 younger siblings. Skinning each banana, and placing it inside a pot-shaped weave formed from several of the branch-leaves, the process itself was fairly straightforward, yet it was the pace at which Jan worked which shocked me. I had barely finished skinning my third banana, and she had already moved on to her second bunch.
When all had been successfully added to the pot, I was put on clean-up duty while Jan skillfully lit a small fire inside the doorway of the homestead, and placed the ball of leaves containing the raw bananas upon it. Straightening herself up and casting a pitying glance as I scrambled to collect all the stray banana-skins, she announced with a sigh;
‘And now we wait’.