Organic foods have traditionally been produced in small quantities primarily by family farms and sold to a specific group of consumers either directly or through specialty grocery stores or small cooperatives. Specialized farms producing organic food commodities had a principal objective to address the demand for consumers with a particular preference toward organic foods. In that, both producers and consumers had specific interests creating a separate niche market for organic foods.
Situations have changed over time and organic foods have entered into the mainstream conventional food marketing systems. Even so, it is known that Jakarta has a lack of grocery stores that focus on selling organic, natural products. It may be something uncommon for you to ask the worker at your local supermarket for flaxseed or nutritional yeast which is why Club Sehat Store is still considered the pioneer of the vegan grocery store.
Club Sehat Store was established in 2008, while they offer a wide range of organic & natural products that may seem hard to find in Jakarta. Liong Pit Lin, one of the founders of Club Sehat, started by providing health seminars for free focusing on health and initiating a healthy lifestyle. Liong Pit Lin is a breast cancer survivor. In an interview, she once said " I was admitted to the hospital for 2 years. I was diagnosed with breast, uterus, and backbone cancer. My doctor sent me home to die, yet I was hopeful there was/is a way.”
“This is when I started investing more time into a plant-based diet. Focusing on solely a nutritional, whole-food diet. 22 years later, I am still grateful to be alive. We have been sharing this with many people, how to cook healthy, live a healthy lifestyle and when they practice this. Miracles happen." 2 years after opening Club Sehat Store, they decided to open Club Sehat Cafe in 2016 since quite a lot of people are interested in living a healthy lifestyle but might not have the time to commit to it.
Their first outlet was opened at their cancer support center for 2 years and they decided to move their outlet to Muara Karang. Before the pandemic happened, they had plans to open up a new outlet in Mall Of Indonesia. When we first arrived we saw their menu and they offer food items such as Nasi Padang, Sate Ponegoro, Nasi Ayam Geprek, and many more.
The dish that stood out the most was their Soto Tangkar, made from cashew milk as a healthier alternative, filled with ingredients like garbanzo beans, red kidney beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and many more, filled with so much fragrance and spices. This soup left us with a warm feeling in our stomach making us want to savor each spoonful.
For those that prefer a more western take, they offer their Chickpea Burger. Nominated by PETA ASIA for being the best veggie burger in Indonesia, this burger offers soft yet sturdy buns to hold all the vegan mayo and juiciness within the burger, crispy chickpea patty, vegan cheese, and a variety of fresh crispy vegetables, giving you that amazing texture and juiciness from the sauces contained within the burger.
Making 'healthy' as their main goal, at Club Sehat Cafe they offer a variety of strictly vegan food, containing organic high-quality ingredients, not encouraging any fried products instead they opt to bake them, and making sure that all the products contain whole-food ingredients.
Since the pandemic, people have become more aware of the food and nutrients they consume. With over 12 stores in Indonesia, Club Sehat Store is still the leading organic, whole food marketplace where people come and buy ingredients such as flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, and many more that might be hard to find in any other supermarket at a reasonable price.
Liong Pit Lin's mission and story are truly quite inspiring for those that are battling the same battle as her, or people who just simply want to live a healthier lifestyle. Would you want to give the plant-based lifestyle a try? Let us know what you think in the comments below!