We do not need to be part of a traditional community, in the physical sense, to affect change, especially in regards to healthy lifestyle and protection of cultural tradition. We just need to choose the right food that can help protect biodiversity and maintain the value and cultural identity of food sources.

Panda House showcases various outcomes of the foundation’s conservation work from Sabang in Aceh to Merauke in Papua. Photo by Raditya Fadilla and courtesy of WWF Indonesia/NOW!JAKARTA

These are the words that one must remember when enjoying a bowl of hot tom yam, nasi pecel, or even just a sip of a cup of coffee at Panda House, a social business owned by WWF Indonesia.

It showcases various outcomes of the foundation’s conservation work from Sabang in Aceh to Merauke in Papua. Here, guests can celebrate farmers’ products and can find unique varieties and places of food ingredients, such as black rice, sorghum, forest honey, brown sugar, coffee etc.

“People who talk about WWF-Indonesia only mention elephants, tigers, orangutan etc but the foundation also works to assist the communities like farmers and fishermen to help them become independent and also to be able empower natural resources with techniques and ways to honour nature and prevent the destruction of the ecosystem in order to benefits to other humans.” said Ina Soewarno, Head of Panda House.

Pecel is served with Tempeh and red rice.
The guest could savour and buy number of local products including coffee.

Panda House talks about conservation where all the raw materials served are obtained locally and sourced directly from small-scale farmers by prioritising fair trade, which renders everything on the menu quite reasonable.

One of its signature dishes is Adan Krayan Black Rice produced by the people of Krayan, North Kalimantan.  With good ecosystem, that rice contains a high concentration of minerals which is three times higher than other black rice in general, with a planting period that pays attention to the earth cycle for nine months. Guests can order Nasi Pecel, Adan Krayan black rice and Javanese salad with peanut sauce served with fried tempeh and chicken with rice crackers.

The Krayan highlands are also a place to grow best quality sorghum where guests can enjoy Sorghum Pudding Krayan with Palm Sugar from peat forest of West Kutai, East Kalimantan.

Panda House also serves good Tom Yam where in one bowl guests can enjoy yellow fin tuna and tuna meatball from the Sendang Biru waters in Malang, East Java and tiger shrimp from farmers in Blang Mangat in Lhokseumawe, Aceh and also from Pinrang, South Sulawesi.

Meeting room at Panda House.

The restaurant also offers a range of coffee sourced from all over Indonesia such as from Kerinci in Jambi, Flores in East Nusa Tenggara and West Kutai. Guests can enjoy coffee with fried banana with forest honey produced by associations around the local forest. One of forest honey that one  can taste is Kelulut Paloh honey. Kelulut (Trigona itama) is stingless bee whose habitat can be found in West Kalimantan forest. The honey is sour and is an antioxidant.

Panda House also provides co-working stations as well as ‘green’ meeting rooms with natural light.

Panda House
WWF Tower at Graha Simatupang Tower 2C
Jl. TB Simatupang Kav. 38
Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta
T: +62-21 7829466
Open from 8 am to 7 pm


This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine October 2018 issue“A Jakarta Smorgasbord”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.