Making Bali an International Dining Destination

Confident that Bali’s dining scene has reached world-class standards, the island’s food and beverage industry have banded together and created an association dedicated to promoting Bali as an international dining destination.

How Bali is perceived around the world has evolved over time. In just 100 years Bali has gone from rural village scenes to buzzing tourist industry. The 1920’s saw foreign artists and anthropologists arriving in search of escapism, exoticism and inspiration; then it slowly became the destination for bohemians and backpackers, surfers and wanderers. From the 1980’s onwards, the south continued to develop into a real tourist industry which catered for families and modern travellers. This has kept the island thriving for decades.

With every tourist destination, there is always a ‘pull’, the ‘why’, and Bali is unique in the sense that it has many, many whys. The way it has developed over time has meant attractions have simple piled on top of the other.

The initial pulls are culture and nature, which have remained, then we have arts and crafts, sport and adventure, wellness, parks and attractions, and of course leisure – in its many forms! Together these factors have brought many visitors to the island.

Always a ‘supporting industry’ in tourism, the food and beverage scene now wants its time in the limelight, deservedly so! With heavy competition and such a variety of eaters to please, restaurants and cafés in Bali have had to always push the envelope; and as an international tourism destination, the world becomes Bali’s food critic. This has meant constant innovation and improvement over decades to the point where now it’s fair to say it is really at a world-class level.

The Bali Restaurant and Café Association

Despite the fierce competition between businesses, the food and beverage industry are a real community in Bali. Through the pandemic a culture of collaboration has simply grown and grown. This community has finally created an official group named ‘The Bali Restaurant and Café Association’ (BRCA), whose aims are to collaboratively promote Bali as an international dining destination to the world.

BRCA Luncheon at Puri Santrian, Sanur

This goes beyond a simple promotions campaign. Becoming a dining destination means creating a unified vision and standard that safeguards the entire island’s reputation. With this, the BRCA are committed to actively improve the operational standards of members in the areas of sustainability, sourcing, hygiene and service. This means upholding responsible waste management, sustainable initiatives and pledges, good employment practices and more.

With standards met across the board, the entire industry benefits and everyone wins, this includes diners, the staff, suppliers and also the environment.

As a unified group, the BRCA can lobby for entry in international awards and competitions, which have thus far left Indonesia very much in the dark despite its high standards. This is because one or two good venues doesn’t turn heads, but an island of culinary excellence does.

Bali has restaurants overlooking river valleys, hidden in caves, built into aquariums and over-looking the Indian Ocean. Michelin Star chefs have cooked in our kitchens and global celebrities have dined at our tables. Is that not proof enough of the industry’s capacity?

This isn’t just about fine dining or western tastes. Bali has a rich culinary heritage and by promoting the dining scene, Balinese food (from authentic to new innovations) can have its well-deserved recognition; Balinese produce can be showcased to the world; food festivals can thrive; and it will open up a stage for Bali’s own talented chefs, baristas, mixologists, sommeliers and more.

Enthusiasm and Insight at Events

Even as a newly formed association, the BRCA has already held two successful events. The first was an introductory luncheon at Cibo! Italian Restaurant, attended by Bali’s top venue owners and managers. This served as an opener to the BRCA’s mission and objectives, and introducing the team members (listed on BRCA website).

Scenes from BRCA Luncheon at CIBO!

A month later, this was promptly followed up by another luncheon at Puri Santrian, Sanur. The event was proof of the momentum the BRCA has already had with PHRI’s (Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association)’s Vice-Chairman, Ida Bagus Sidharta Putra; and Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, both showing their support for the BRCA.

Following this was a presentation by PT Mantra Bali, a leading Environmental Engineering and Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Consultancy based on the island. Founders Sean Nino and Maitri Fischer shared important insight into waste collection in Bali and provided recommendations on how the members – and the association –  could improve.

Despite being early in Bali’s tourism revival, the BRCA has hit the ground running, knowing that another good ‘pull’ to come to Bali will help visitor numbers, both nationally and internationally. Throughout the pandemic, Bali’s food and beverage scene has never stopped pushing, and now it is their time to shine.

The Bali Restaurant and Café Association is open to new members from the food and beverage industry in Bali, and hold regular events, all with purpose and objectives.

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