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The Best Vegan Foods to Try in Bali

October 6, 2020 No Comments

Vegans, prepare to feast in one of Southeast Asia’s foodie capitals for vegan delights. Bali has earned a reputation for being the place to go for plant-based dishes. In this vegan guide to Bali, we’ll cover the veggie-friendly hot spots, meals and snacks to try, as our top picks when it comes to restaurants.

Vegan in Bali: General Advice

Before you go, download the Happy Cow app or look for food on the Happy Cow website. Happy Cow is a vegan-friendly review website that highlights the best restaurants for vegans and vegetarians. You can search by distance and filter whether you want to see restaurants that are totally vegan, or a general restaurant with vegan options.

Because Bali is such a popular destination among vegan and health-conscious travelers, you won’t have a problem with finding meals in areas like Ubud, Seminyak, and the Uluwatu region. However, more rural parts of Bali tend to serve traditional Indonesian fare. Many of these dishes may contain fish sauce, shrimp paste, meat, or egg. Dairy is not a common ingredient in traditional Indonesian meals.

Popular dishes in Bali tend to combine different flavors of sweet, salty, savory, bitter, and spicy. With residents hailing from all throughout the archipelago, you’ll find a mix of Javanese, Sasak, Sulawesi, and other islands’ influences on Balinese cuisine.

Time your visit to Bali during Bali Vegan Festival, a three-day festival with tens of food stalls, cultural performances, art exhibits, yoga classes, workshops, dancing, and more.

The best Vegan Foods to try in Bali

Bali has a blend of dishes sourced throughout Southeast Asia. You’ll find that the same dish may vary from warung to warung, depending on the head chef. It’s worth ordering the same dish from multiple regions to see how each one compares.

Gado gado

Gado gado is a dish made of fresh steamed vegetables and peanut sauce. It’s a satiating blend of savory, salty, with a little bit of sweetness added into the mix.

Nasi goreng (without egg)

“Nasi goreng” translates to “fried rice” in Bahasa Indonesia. You can find nasi goreng (and its sister dish of mie goreng–fried noodles) at just about every Indonesian warung, restaurant, in Bali. To keep it vegan, order the veggie version and hold the egg.

Tempeh satay

Satisfying and delicious, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans pressed into a block. It tastes a bit like tofu, though a bit nuttier and chewier. You can get tempeh served on a skewer with sambal, a sauce made from chilis, or as part of a larger meal. As a tip, ask the chef if they can swap meat for tempeh in any dish that looks tempting.

Vegetable curry

Served red, yellow, or green, spicy or mild, Bali has plenty of curry options for vegetarian and vegan travelers. It typically comes with a side of steamed rice.

Sambal matah

Sambal is a staple condiment in Indonesia, and dishes often feel naked without it. This spicy sauce is made from chilis, garlic, shallots, scallions, lime, and sugar. Some sambals also have shrimp paste, so be sure to clarify when you order.

Pisang Goreng

Crispy fried bananas served with a drizzle of syrup and often topped with grated coconut.

Klepon

Colored green with pandan leaves, klepon is a chewy and sweet snack made from glutinous rice flour and filled with palm sugar syrup. As a final tough, it’s topped with desiccated coconut.

International dishes abound

While these are Bali’s best treats with a local flair, there are hundreds of dishes at international restaurants as well. Some vegan restaurants offer traditional Indonesian meat dishes with mock meats, letting you experience flavors you might not have otherwise enjoyed.

Vegan Cooking Classes in Bali

Learn to make your favorite Balinese meal at home by taking a vegan cooking class in Bali, one of the most authentic things to do on the island. Most cooking schools start with a trip to the market to shop for the freshest produce. Then, you’ll use these ingredients back at the school to cook.

Ubud Organic Farm & Cooking Tour: Learn how to cook traditional spice paste, gado gado, curry, fried corn, and sweet and sour tempeh. Top off the experitnce with pisang goreng for dessert.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about being vegan in Bali

Is Bali vegan friendly?

Bali is one of the most vegan-friendly places in the world, especially if you’re visiting areas like Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud, and Uluwatu. There are tens of wholly vegan restaurants. Because the island is so used to vegan tourists, most restaurants in tourist areas will happily accommodate requests to leave out animal products in their dishes.

What are the best vegan dishes in Bali?

If you’re vegan, you’ll love trying vegetable curries, gado gado, and traditionally Indonesian dishes cooked with mock meats,

What would you like to know about being vegan in Bali?

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Chantae Reden

Chantae is the Coconut in Chief at Tropical Go. She is the author of Moon Bali & Lombok and lives in Suva, Fiji. She is a freediver, scuba diver, and surfer who is scared of big waves. Her drink of choice is a mojito--mostly because it's fun to say.

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