Indonesian cafe's house special: Sanitation tips

HEALTH TIPS ON THE HOUSE: The cafe's owner is open to holding talks with customers and showing sanitation videos.


    Jul 21, 2016

    Indonesian cafe's house special: Sanitation tips


    A TOILET-THEMED cafe may not be everyone's idea of haute cuisine but Indonesians are turning up to find out what the buzz is all about.

    Guests at the outlet sit on upright toilets around a table.

    On a recent visit, traditional Indonesian bakso - a type of meatball - bobbed in a murky soup in a toilet bowl while a second contained an alcohol-free cocktail.

    For those who may find the experience too nauseating, they can make use of a sick bag hanging by the entrance.

    The cafe aims to educate people about sanitation and encourage the use of toilets.

    The country has one of the world's highest rates of open defecation - doing it outside and not in a designated toilet.

    The practice has been blamed for spreading diseases.

    "I was disgusted at first but I eventually ate some of the food out of curiosity," said 27-year-old customer Mukodas.

    "I think the idea is pretty interesting because if you try to have a campaign without a gimmick like this, the information won't stick."

    The cafe opened in April and currently welcomes small groups who book ahead.

    Owner Budi Laksono, a public health expert who used to work for the local government, hosts discussions with customers.

    He shows videos to encourage them to use proper facilities for their bodily functions.

    "This cafe serves as a reminder that many people in Indonesia still do not have toilets," he said.

    However, he admitted that his unusual approach had sparked some controversy in the Muslim-majority country.

    "Many critics say the cafe is inappropriate and against Islamic law," he added.