Wholesome Eats on Demand

MAY 14, 2015

Burgreens's cococado toast dish. (Photo courtesy of Burgreens)

Hearing the term “healthy food” might conjure up an image of fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors or bland-tasting seeds. But a bevy of business-savvy entrepreneurs are trying to dispel this preconception through their health-conscious offerings tailored for those living amid the hustle and bustle of Jakarta.

Helga Angelina, who along with Max Mandias co-founded the organic eatery and caterer Burgreens, views that many Jakartans are increasingly getting more conscious about their lifestyle choices. “The trend is going there. Jakartans love healthy food as long as they are tasty, and that’s what we always try to satisfy,” she says.

Officially opening up their first location in 2014 on a leafy green complex called Songolas in Rempoa, at the outskirt of South Jakarta, Burgreens is more than just a healthy food establishment. Through various events they have held, from farmer’s market to yoga gathering, they also aim to become a holistic community center, where anyone can learn more about conscious eating and living movement in Indonesia.

“I myself have been a vegetarian for ten years, due to health reasons. I shifted my diet to a whole plant-based diet, used acupuncture treatments and started learning about self-healing. So that’s how I became passionate about healthy food,” adds Helga.

A plate of steak at Burgreens. (Photo courtesy of Burgreens)

Through their menu, Burgreens boasts a variety of organic dishes, including its namesake burger offerings with patties made from locally sourced ingredients such as mushroom, chickpeas and lentils. Other than the burgers, patrons can also try such delectable options as “steak” made from mushroom, spinach-and-chickpeas nuggets, cold-pressed juice and a range of green smoothies with oat milk.

Developed by Max, a certified raw food chef for healing himself, Burgreens’ menu is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly — although many non-vegetarians have also enjoyed eating at their place. “Most of our customers are non-vegetarians who want to enjoy tasty healthy food,” Helga observes. “Our co-owner Banyubening, whose family owns Songolas, is not a vegetarian, but after joining Burgreens, her veggie intake increased by more than 200 percent.”

Burgreens recently opened a new branch in Tebet and also provides delivery service for most parts of Jakarta, making it easier for people living in the city to eat healthier. “We want to change the image that raw food is boring and tasteless. Every meal can be made raw and extremely tasty, with a little creativity,” says Helga.

The increasing number of healthy food establishments in Jakarta has certainly buoyed many people in the city, including Madrim Djody, a marketing executive who is a vegetarian. “Previously, there was very limited food option for a vegetarian like me. But I’m happy to see that, starting from about two years ago, there are new businesses that are conscious enough to provide healthy food and vegetarian products,” she says.

Madrim admits that she often orders from Burgreens. “I think it’s one of the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants here because they always use natural ingredients. I really like their raw food menu, like raw burritos and zucchini noodles,” she adds. “Many of my non-vegetarian friends also like them.”

Healthy fix to go 

For those opting to have quick healthy eats on the go, there is Pura Vida. Specializing in clean-eating products, the delivery line has grown popular among those looking for extra nutrition before a workout session or simply a more wholesome breakfast.

“When we launched, no one did overnight oats. Our creations appeal to busy urbanites living in Jakarta and surrounding areas who have no time to plan out their meals or cook healthy dishes,” says Vanessa Budihardja, the brand’s chief operating and marketing officer, who co-founded Pura Vida in 2014 along with Shalindra Kawilarang and Krizia Liauw.

Health-conscious Jakartans are starting to see a growing range of organic food options pop up across the city, with catering and delivery, must-haves in the crowded capital, also available. (Photos courtesy of Pura Vida)

Pura Vida initially introduced their overnight oats products via Instagram. Featuring a variety of flavorful toppings — from organic strawberries and bananas to nutrient-packed “superfood” like chia seeds and cocoa nibs — these oats are packaged in compact glass jars, making them convenient to carry around and be enjoyed, say, in the middle of traffic. To deliver their products, Pura Vida cooperates with an eco-friendly bike messenger service, reflecting the brand’s healthy-life credo.

“Our co-founder Shalindra had a history of eating disorders and finally decided to start living a healthy lifestyle about two years ago — overnight oats became something that she often made. She’s always been a talented cook and many started to ask if she did delivery, so we decided to create a brand that would deliver simple, healthy snacks to home or office,” tells Vanessa about the genesis of Pura Vida.

More recently, Pura Vida launched a new kind of clean-eat snacks, including raw vegan cakes that suit anyone who does the trendy paleo diet — which requires one to eat food that our ancient ancestors survived on — or is allergic to gluten. These tasty treats run the gamut from no-bake brownies made from nuts and cocoa powder to banana-and-walnut muffins in which rolled oats substitute the wheat flour regularly used. 

With “healthy” or “green” labels sometimes nonchalantly slapped on many food products nowadays, one often must take precaution before trusting their health-enhancing claims.  But Vanessa ensures that Pura Vida’s products and marketing strategy — including their informational posts on social media — have gone through a thorough research.

“We are also in the process of working together with food scientists and nutritionists to analyze our products and create recommendations on how we can improve the flavor, nutritional content and production process,” explains Vanessa. “We want to be a legitimate health food delivery service, not just an Instagram-based home business.”