My daily activities as a Balinese Priest, my main responsibility is to lead the ceremonies or follow the process of religious rituals in traditional village. Other than that, my activities are in the kitchen. I also have a warung (small restaurant) in Denpasar, Badung, there’s also one in the village, so I am still learning about cooking and explore the potentials of the nation’s culinary scene, especially in Bali, in Les Village. So, turns out there are many culinary traditions from our ancestors that are no less impressive than other culinary traditions, in terms of taste and health benefits. It is truly extraordinary.
Other than culinary activities, because a lot of people already know my culinary activities, in Dapur Bali Mula we have special menu that we took from stories in Les Village, and Bali as a whole, that I experimented on and turned it into the blueprint of Dapur Bali Mula’s menu. Other than that, I am also working on fermented drinks, for example Tuak (palm wine). I’ve done research and experimented with Tuak, for example I’ve experimented with sweet tuak. Right now, sweet tuak in Dapur Bali Muda is produced as juruh (liquid palm sugar), and it is high quality juruh, because production in this village is small, I prioritize the quality to have great quality. We prioritize quality instead of quantity because of many reasons. The quality of the ones that I am making is premium quality. Then, I kept studying and digging for more, first I made juruh, then I also made vinegar, and now I am making arrack. The arrack that you’ll find in Dapur Bali Muda is not only for drinking, but it gives variety of flavors, we have fruit arrack, like arrack with jackfruit flavor, arrack with mango flavor, arrack with coconut flavor, so I try to create many variation for these arrack. You don’t just chug it, but you can actually enjoy the flavor. In the future, for arrack, in Dapur Bali Muda, I’ve collected a couple of tuak farmers, because arrack has tuak as base ingredient. So, I’ve collected the tuak in the village and I organized and gave guidance following a high hygienic and sanitation standard, also the safety on climbing the trees, and other things as well. Now, there are around 40 tuak farmers, for Dapur Bali Muda. After COVID-19 situation settles, they will mass produce arrack from the village, especially for tuak farmers in the village. Where do we sell it? We already have a company that signed a contract and will buy the arrack that we produce. So, we’re going there and we’re just waiting and hopefully this situation will get better and we can go back to our regular activities.
During this pandemic, my activities consist of praying, I pray for everyone to stay safe for the universe and everything inside it. That’s the first thing. Secondly, I fill my days by experimenting with food and its ingredients, sometimes I would do live in Instagram with Mr. William (William Wongso), so my regular activities but I do it at home without having to go outside. The third thing that I do is creating new variation for arrack, so I try this arrack and that arrack and experiment with them. However, at the end of the day I would have quality time with family, cooking for my family. Right now my children and everyone in my family feel grateful that they have a father or a family figure that can cook, because in the morning I would cook for my children, afternoon too sometimes, and also in the evening. So, my children said that my father is a chef, so we’ll just enjoy that.
For the future, we learn from this pandemic, this situation, I will boost tourism that focuses on village, it could be in terms of farming, anything that village has, I want to highlight that and promote. For me, especially for farming, it is extremely important, and you can definitely feel it during this situation. I happen to have a couple of garden so my kitchen is not impacted too heavily, I hardly buy vegetables, because if I’m looking for spinach, or any other vegetables, I would have them in the garden, corn or anything else. I will start from myself and I have multiple restaurants and I want to restore the menu. All this time, 60 percent of my menu uses local ingredients that I got from the village, from seasoning in the village, to fish, to meat that I can get from the village, salt, juruh. The juruh from this village already goes to other areas, because every time I have a friend that wants to try it, they want more. So, I want to elevate that. Therefore, with Dapur Bali Muda, I elevate Northern Bali’s traditional food, especially Les Village. So, most ingredients are from here in Les Village, except for seasonings we are not as complete as other areas. However, most of our ingredients can be found in the village. All of the main ingredients are in the village, for example seafood. Our area is close to the beach, so they have octopus, squid, tuna that are still fresh, and shrimp and lobster. We use the ingredients that are here and in the future, I would love to improve this. I want Dapur Bali Muda to have a theme of tourism but with local base. For everything, like making a drink from arrack base, we move forward from there. So, everything, even like musical instruments gamelan, and similar things. I personally already started to collect in this pandemic look for people who play gamelan, I invite them to my housed and we had conversations. Then I asked for traditional gamelan, and asked around for other traditional things, I want to promote them. There is also a dance that is really impressive here, from a long time ago, and I feel like even though I’m not an artist, but you can only find this dance here. It is a really unique dance and really funny, usually used as a welcoming dance to welcome guests, like government officials.