Bandung is indeed famous for a variety of culinary delights that are unique, and interesting, that make people come back. One of them is The GoodLife, a humble stall that also provides books on photography and other sciences to be read by anyone who comes there. Visitors can also see them directly mixing and preparing food - drinks until they are served before our eyes. Some time ago, we spoke with the owner Sari Asih in the midst of her busy schedule. Let's read the full interview.
Q: Before starting, may you introduce yourself?
A: I am Sari Asih. I was born in 1972. My educational background is in Graphic Design from ITB. After finishing my education, I was working in the art world as art manager and curator. Later I got married and had a child which makes me change my profession back to design, to be able fully attend my son. But became satisfied is something impossible for me. So I jump into photography, and once again immerse myself into the art world. So you see, I am far from simple to be explained, haha
Q: Wow, that's really interesting. Then how did you finally get into the culinary world?
A: Getting into the culinary world was actually not intended. A friend offered me a garage space in his rented office, which is an old house in Jalan Anggrek, to be use for some kind of eatery. At that time, I am not known as somebody who can cook well. Weird, isn’t it?
Q: Before that, cooking is more like a hobby?
A: I cooked only at home for myself, for friends, at most. But, never imagined that I would make it as profession. After calculating the risk and investment, I came into conclusion that this can be done. If I falied, I can still considered it as a life lesson. Well, it's been seven years now…
Q: Wow, it's been quite a long time. Then what makes you continue to run The GoodLife?
A: What kept me going was actually the opportunity to explore, I guess. The GoodLife has always been known as a place where you can expect the unexpected. I need novelty, I need excitement of finding and learning something new. I'm not a person who likes to do routine. And The Goodlife is giving me lots of opportunities to pursue it. Routine is something that I am not, I guess that’s why I never work in the office.
Q: So you never worked in an office at all, did you?
A: That's right, I am a freelancer for my whole life. Once I have my own design bureau, work as a team, but I never work for a company.
Q: Then why chose the name The GoodLife?
A: That's actually the name of our family’s car.
Q: Interesting, what's the story behind it?
A: So you see, start from the beginning of our relationship, we always love traveling and exploring. We go everywhere together, tracking, climbing mountains, going to distant places. Therefore the vehicle we owned should serve our needs. We have a Land Rovers that we named The Goodlife, complete with its logotype that I design myself. When opening the eatery, ofcourse we should think of a name that suitable for it. The Goodlife has been with our life for a while, so why not extend it into the future as well?
Q: What is the concept of The GoodLife?
A: First of all, we have an organic life. I mean organic way of thinking. We goes with the flow that life present upon us. At the beginning of The Goodlife, I was helped a lot by friends, without them, I would not have succeeded in building it. But, it must be admitted that the soul is in me. And I can say that the way I run The GoodLife is pretty much organic, we goes with the flow.
Q: Can you explain in more depth what organic means?
A: Excitement to see life, excitement to see opportunities, excitement to learn something new. Find again something new. And share what we got from the trip. It's organic to me. It is more an idea than a substance.
Q: Does it mean that in an ownership manner, you manage yourself?
A: Yes. It is nice to have investors, right? Having investors means we have the chance to expand and grow faster. But in the other hand, it is also reduces the possibility to explore. I don't think it would be wise for me to look for investors at this stage of business.
Q: You could say that The GoodLife is too personal, right?
A: That's right. So my challenge is to grow the business without eliminating the character of The GoodLife. This means that I should make products that can work independently when the time has come. That's why, I should create product diversification, making The Goodlife to be the place where research and development happen. Syrup, cake premix, ice cream, sausage are some of the example of the product that can be develop independently later on.
Q: It still exists today, right?
A: Still. Sold through marketplaces. In the future, I would like these products to be available in other cities and outlets.
Q: What's the main menu?
A: Lebanese Bread is our first menu. At the beginning of the goodlife, I should think of a menu that easily to be stocked and customized. At that time (2016) it was the era of kebabs, so I tried to make something similar but can be adjusted to my taste.
Q: Interesting. What's so special about Lebanese Bread from The GoodLife?
A: we don’t present the bread as a roll. We deconstruct it into elements so people can experience each element independently. There are many things in the plate: lebanese flat bread, tzatziki, which is yogurt dipping sauce. Then there is hummus, which is from beans. It also include protein, that can be customized between beef, chicken, tuna, or mushroom if you are a vegetarian. Then there is salad. So, actually, the whole plate is complete your nutritional needs. Each and every elements in the plate serve its purpose in term of taste and nutrition.
Q: Where did you find the Lebanese Bread recipe from?
A: Because I want to go to Lebanon! I watched the travel channel. I was interested to make one when they had shown it in the program so I looked for the recipe. That's how my Lebanese Bread was made.
Q: So, what do you want to share with the people who visit here The GoodLife?
A: Enjoy it by the way they like it. I want customers to have a good experience with their own version. I will not dictate them with my own.
Q: What plans do you have in the future for The GoodLife?
A: First of all, I am actually running out of time to reach my target. I'm 50 years old now. The productive age of Indonesian people is on average 56, right? So before my energy runs out, I should have make The Goodlife to be a healthy business that can support our later life. My husband and I are sharing the tasks. He is working for our present life, I am working for our future life.
Q: Wow, I hope everything goes well. Thanks for the talk. Good luck The GoodLife!
A: Thank you very much.