TRIPPERS TIP: Eat Your Way to Enlightenment at Karma Kafé

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By Benjamin Pratt | June 9, 2016

Karma Kafe Koh Phangan

Karma Kafé in Koh Phangan: Food so fresh, so organic, you’ll be growing roots on consumption, man.

As party-centric as Koh Phangan is there’s much more to island the average nomad noggin wouldn’t have any idea about. Granted, this is the home of the voracious Full Moon/Half Moon/Any Kinda Moon Parties, but there is a total tree-loving, joint-passing, drum-circling sustainable culture here, co-existing in a weird yin-yang harmony with the fluorescent-jamboree of temporary party people.

Yoga retreats and communal living spaces scatter the island amongst herbal mud hut saunas and an abundance of organic, gluten-free sugar-free, vegan and vegetarian food huts, including Karma Kafé – a joint so fresh and healthy you leave smelling like the dirt the food was grown in. Or, that could just be ‘cause of all the hippies.

Hippie jokes aside, man. Karma Kafé gave me a divine, spiritually replenishing meal. It like, totally reinvigorated my soul with the wholesome and sacred energy of Mother Earth’s ancient shanti wisdom. Totally righteous, dude.

Riding high at three or four in the morning after an all-night adventure – consisting of beers at sunset, multiple bottles of energy drink, a red-lining, full-throttle race through the Phangan hills on a beat-up rent-a-scooter, hoarding my 90kg brother on the back, and rolling up in style to a psy-trance lighthouse party – we’re on southwest of the island somewhere off the main drag on the way out of Haad Rin, parked outside Karma Kafé after an hour long, multi-terrain, cross-island scooter trip, still under the effects of mysterious party concoctions, only to be met with a closed sign. We flag it as a dinner spot for later that day, after we’d slept, hydrated, hailed a few “taxies” from Top Rock Bar and waited for our bodies to forgive us for all the sins from the night before.

Karma Kafe Koh Phangan

Baja Tacos at Karma Kafé: a technicolour journey of decadence.

Returning eight or so hours later, desperately seeking soulful replenishment, Boy Howdy was Karma Kafé a paradise. My body eternally thankful for the wholesome, organic meals I devoured, amidst the regular cheap msg-riddled street-side vendors of Asia I’d been shoving in my gob. Our feast transcended the quality of food I had come to expect in Asia, or even back in middle-class Australia. It was cleansing; A fresh, organic, raw vegan banquet.

The Baja Tacos (฿240) came out and our eyes beamed with intense anticipation of imminent consumption of post-party organic goodness, wrapped in bed of crispy red cabbage stuffed with crunchy tabouli, quinoa and falafel, drizzled with home-made tzatziki. Then the Kalefornia Bowl (฿300); a huge celestial pit of natural health.

We got some glasses of fresh brewed raspberry and orange iced tea (฿100) and dug in like men-possessed, convinced we were eating ourselves closer to enlightenment every bite.

When we finished, laying dazed and comatosed across the pillows on the floor, taking in the open space and calming ambience Karma Kafé creates by not having any walls, a lady with red hair and dreadlocks offered to study our palms and read our tarot. Politely declining, we lay in a meditative state of food-induced euphoria until the bill eventually came.

Turns out enlightenment comes with a hefty price tag. It’s not overly-expensive food, just significantly higher-priced than road-side food huts and backpacker cafés you find sprawled across Thailand and south east Asia. Besides, Koh Phangan has a tendency to get away with higher prices ’cause of a guaranteed monthly rent-a-tourist party crowd. At Karma Kafé though, you get what you pay for: a generous serving size; fresh, organic produce; and a healthy fusion menu with the creativity and thoughtfulness of a gourmet restaurant without any of the rich pretentiousness – just an occasional stench of unwashed hippies.

Our wallet took a hit for our health in the end, but it was justified and welcome – especially considering the money I spend on beer, late-night kebabs and Thailand toasted sandwiches. So it felt good to balance the scales.

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