You might be wondering how difficult it is to find vegan food in Bali. Unlike some of the other Asian countries we’ve been to, Bali has so many vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Most yoga-practising vegans levitate to the island for inspiring yoga sessions, spiritual awakenings, and unbeatable plant-based food.
Restaurants in Bali specially cater for westerners and compete with one another to become the new kid on the block. Bali is keeping up with health food trends so you won’t battle finding completely vegan restaurants all over the show. In fact, you’ll have no problem convincing meat-eating friends to go greener here too! Nutrient-dense plant-based meals are all the rage at the moment and changing the way we eat.
Even if you’re not visiting trendy western restaurants, many of the local dishes happen to be vegetarian. Tofu and tempeh are popular meat alternatives and form part of the staple diet in Bali. Here is our list of top Balinese vegan dishes worth trying.
Gado-Gado. Healthy Vegan Food In Bali
You can order this famous dish in just about any local restaurant (warung) in Bali. Gado Gado is a vegetable-based meal with lettuce, cabbage, steamed carrots, potatoes, and often includes tofu/tempeh and bean sprouts. Although It differs a little from place to place, it usually comes drenched in a thick and delicious peanut sauce.
Gado Gado is often referred to as a salad and found in the starters or salads section of the menu. It’s one of my favourite meals in Bali. However, it was often the most disappointing, depending on the restaurant. I would recommend finding the restaurant reviews on Google Maps or Trip Advisor first and searching for pictures of their Gado Gado before ordering.
Keep in mind some restaurants serve this dish topped with a boiled egg and prawn crackers on the side, and still refer to it as vegan food! Make sure beforehand and ask them to leave it off if that’s the case.
Tofu and Tempeh. The Best Vegan Protein In Bali
Tempeh (pronounced tem-pay) is a delicious meat alternative. Its make-up is similar to that of tofu but with a firmer texture. It’s made up of boiled and fermented soybeans, compressed into blocks and sliced into strips. White when raw and somewhat bitter tasting, but simply delicious when fried and tossed in Balinese sweet sauce (palm sugar, garlic, chilli). Because of its firm texture, tempeh is the ideal vegan ‘pattie’ used in burgers all over Bali. When cooked, it’s dark and deliciously nutty.
Tempeh and tofu are excellent sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Both available in every local restaurant (warung) you visit and amongst the cheapest meals on the menu.
Tofu in Bali is served in large blocks, usually lightly battered and deep-fried in Balinese sweet sauce.
Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. A Firm (Even Vegan) Favorite In Bali
Bali and even Indonesia’s best-known dish. In its purest form consists of fried rice and chopped up bits of vegetable topped with a fried egg. When ordering it, ask for it ‘Tanpa daging’ (without meat).
Mie Goreng is the second most famous dish, to its cousin Nasi goreng. The only difference being the noodles instead of rice. The recipe differs slightly from place to place with noodle variations and egg additions.
Often shrimp paste and fish sauce is used to caramelize and flavour most rice or noodle dishes in Bali, so check first before ordering.
Urab. The Best Bali Salad
Also referred to as urap is a delightful blend of steamed or raw vegetables. The dish is usually made up of green beans, cabbage, bean sprouts, spinach, and cassava leaves, mixed with grated coconut and spices. You can enjoy urab on its own or as a side dish.
Cap Cay. Bali/Chinese Fusion
A Chinese-style Indonesian stir-fry or stew made with cabbage and other vegetables, depending on where served. The dish usually comes with carrot, Napa cabbage, leek, and soy sauce.
Terong & Perkedel. The Best Vegan Comfort Food In Bali
Terong is eggplant, cooked until it is falling apart and mixed with chilli paste. It’s a hot and spicy dish, usually served with potato fritters called perkedels. You’ll find perkedels at most local restaurants and even at the KFC chains in Bali. Most common perkedels are made from mashed potatoes or corn (perkedel jagung) and even tofu (perkedel tahu) but watch out for the variations containing meat or fish.
Sayur asem translates as ‘Sour Vegetables’. It’s a clear vegetable soup that includes sweet corn, usually still on the cob, young papaya, peanuts, and tamarind.
Sayur Hijau. The Best Greens in Bali
Sayur Hijau is the most common dish of leafy greens found in Bali. Made with kangkong, a highly nutritious plant, also known as morning glory or water spinach. This local spinach is lightly sautéed and paired with a heap of tomato-chilli sauce piled on top. This was my go-to dish when I was craving a big helping of greens.
Sayur Lodeh. A Vegan Soup In Bali
A Southeast Asian soup prepared from vegetables in coconut milk. Although popular in Indonesia, this creamy soup is most often associated with Javanese cuisine.
A meal comprising of an array of fresh stir-fries, salads, tofu, and tempeh. When ordering, diners can usually choose between meat, seafood, or vegetarian. Nasi Campur is a great way to share food, and with lots to choose from, it’s ideal for big groups.
Vegans Take Note
If you are amongst the stricter vegans, be wary of the hidden use of fish sauce, shrimp paste, and egg. Many dishes also come with a side of crackers that are prawn.
The Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Bali
- Peloton Supershop
- I Am Vegan Babe
- The Shady Shack
- GIVE Café
- Secret Spot
- Manggis in Canggu
- Falafel Temple
- Green Ginger Noodle House
- Samadi Bali
- Plant Cartel
- Living Food Lab
- Vinny’s Warung
- Roti Daal
- KYND Community
- Earth Cafe
- Mad Pops
- Sayuri Healing Food
- The Seeds of Life
- Sakti Dining Room
- The Elephant
- La Pacha Mama
- Nalu Bowls
- The Alchemist