Bali is popular among all types of travelers and is a vegan hotspot in South East Asia. With an influx of digital nomads coming to Bali, vegan restaurants and cafes are appearing all over the island, especially in areas like Canggu, Uluwatu, and Ubud.
However, it can still be a challenge to find plant-based options in some areas of the island, especially at local warungs, which are small traditional restaurants.
Luckily, with a few tips and tricks before you go, you can make your time in Bali not only vegan-friendly but also the experience of a lifetime.
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Is Bali Vegan-Friendly?
Whether you’re a solo traveler or exploring Bali as part of a group tour, the island has much to offer. Since it’s home to so many foreigners from all around the world, Bali is surprisingly vegan-friendly, at least in popular tourist areas.
Bali is a haven for those following a plant-based lifestyle, with a vast array of vegan-friendly options available. Many restaurants and cafes in Bali have embraced the global trend towards veganism, offering extensive vegan menus that showcase the rich flavors and fresh ingredients of Balinese cuisine.
Local markets and street food stalls also provide various vegan options, from traditional dishes like gado-gado (a vegetable salad with peanut sauce) and nasi goreng (fried rice) made without animal products to abundant tropical fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, there are numerous health food stores and markets in Bali that stock a range of vegan products, making it easy for travelers to find everything they need or want while enjoying the island’s natural beauty and culture.
It’s best to stick to places like Canggu, Ubud, Uluwatu, or Seminyak, as vegan options will be much less accessible in more remote parts of the island where tourists are uncommon.
What’s the Most Vegan-Friendly Place in Bali?
One of the most vegan-friendly places in Bali is the ricefield town of Ubud. Ubud is known for its vibrant culture, stunning rice terraces, and abundance of yoga and wellness retreats, but it is also a hotspot for vegan cuisine.
There are numerous vegan restaurants and cafes in Ubud, serving everything from veganized traditional Balinese dishes to innovative plant-based cuisine from around the world.
Many local warungs, small family-owned restaurants, also offer vegan options or are willing to adapt their dishes to cater to vegan customers.
In addition to the food, there are also several health food stores and markets in Ubud that sell a variety of vegan products, making it easy for travelers to maintain their plant-based lifestyle while exploring this beautiful part of Bali.
The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Ubud
As a vegan in Ubud, you have to stop by Sawobali, an all-vegan buffet restaurant that is very affordable and serves delicious food. You’ll love their home-cooked meals and will probably return here more than once.
The Herb Library is another top recommendation for vegan food in Ubud, as is the veggie stall WARMA. These restaurants adapt traditional Asian dishes that are usually not vegan so that you can enjoy food you might not usually get to try.
Finally, Wild Vegan is a must-try in Ubud, if not for its amazing plant-based cuisine, then for its Instagrammable decor.
Vegan Resort in Ubud
Fivelements Retreat in Ubud clearly stands out as one of the best vegan-friendly resorts in Ubud. Their eco-friendly approach pairs well with their plant-based (they do use honey in some items) menu. Plus, the property is gorgeous and highly recommended for a romantic trip or getaway.
Another vegan-friendly resort in Ubud is the beautiful Uma Kalai boutique hotel, which is Ubud’s worst-kept secret when it comes to luxury escapes.
While they’re not an all-vegan hotel, I found them to be extremely accommodating, and their Indian-inspired menu had a lot of vegan options. Since the hotel only has six rooms, the on-site restaurant cooks specifically for you and is not a mass-producing kitchen like many other large resorts in Bali.
The staff are incredibly accommodating, and I’ve never eaten better as a vegan in Bali.
The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Canggu
Canggu is a vibrant beach town that is a haven for vegan and vegetarian food lovers. One popular spot is The Shady Shack, which boasts a menu filled with delicious vegetarian and vegan options ranging from tempeh bowls to veggie burgers and mouth-watering smoothie bowls.
Another must-visit is Dua Hati Cafe, a unique plant-based warung that serves Indonesian specialties such as Bakso or chick’n satay. They make their own seitan and even have a nasi campur buffet where you can mix and match your own meal.
Kynd Community is another crowd-pleaser, famous for its Insta-worthy vegan dishes, including smoothie bowls, avocado toast, burgers, and salads. They also support charitable organizations around Bali.
If you’re craving burgers or pasta, I Am Vegan Babe has you covered, offering an array of vegan options along with scrumptious desserts. Their burritos and salads are the best in Bali by far.
Last but not least, Crate Cafe is worth checking out, as it has a diverse menu featuring smoothie bowls, salads, and vegan burgers, catering to the plant-based community in Canggu.
Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Resort in Canggu
Udara Bali Yoga Detox and Spa is highly recommended for those not only looking for vegan food but also an overall holistic approach and plenty of yoga. They offer a variety of detox programs and different types of yoga and meditation courses. If you need to get away from it all, this is definitely the place to go.
Another good option is the Kalapa Resort, which has a central location and offers yoga classes. Their vegan-friendly menu has several options, making it a top pick for vegan travelers staying in Canggu.
Finally, Serenity Eco Guesthouse is a great, budget-friendly place to stay as a vegan. It’s located right next door to Alkaline Vegan restaurant, which means you’ll never have to go far to grab a plant-based lunch or dinner. Their breakfast is also highly recommended, and they make their own baked goods, including donuts, croissants, and more.
The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Seminyak
Seminyak is a treasure trove for plant-based eaters, boasting an array of vegan and vegetarian restaurants that cater to every palate.
Before we go into the many plant-based cafes available here, I want to highlight my absolute favorite restaurant in Bali, which actually has a location in both Canggu and Seminyak. Sa’Mesa di Nonna is an Italian restaurant where all the food is served family-style, and free-flowing limoncello guarantees you’ll be dancing on the tables by the end of the night.
While their set menu isn’t vegan, they will adapt their dishes to vegans on request, and I’ve had some of the best vegan Italian food ever here. If you tell them you’re vegan when you make your reservation, they’ll bring you your own plant-based versions of every dish, ensuring you’re not missing out. I couldn’t recommend Sa’Mesa more.
If you’re looking for a more casual spot in Seminyak, Cafe Organic is an excellent choice with its colorful smoothie bowls, salads, and baked goods. This is also a great spot to bring your laptop if you’re a digital nomad and enjoy some productivity accompanied by delicious vegan treats.
Basil Kitchen is my final recommendation for vegan restaurants in Seminyak, and their tacos are absolutely delicious. They also use coconut yogurt, and their burritos are a must-try.
Sneaky Non-Vegan Ingredients in Balinese Dishes
Some desserts in Indonesia, and specifically Bali, use a lot of jelly, which can sometimes be made from gelatine. It can also be made from grass jelly, though, which is vegan, so it’s smart to ask just in case.
Egg is an ingredient in many Indonesian dishes and can be hidden in a batter for frying tempeh or tofu. It’s also an ingredient in traditional Indonesian corn fritters (which would otherwise be vegan).
Every local warung has its own recipes, so make sure to ask how they make their dishes before ordering.
Another thing that is easily missed is egg noodles, which are sometimes used for fried noodle dishes such as mie goreng. Not all noodles in Bali are made from eggs, so again, make sure to ask just to be safe.
Finally, sambal, the spicy and flavourful dipping sauce or condiment accompanying almost every meal in Bali, can be a hidden non-vegan obstacle. Many sambals contain fish sauce or ground shrimp, so steer clear or ask your server if the sambal has fish.
The same goes for krupuk or crackers, which are always served in local Indonesian restaurants. Most of the time, they’re made from rice, but occasionally, they’re shrimp crackers!
To be safe, I personally would avoid the crackers unless you specifically know they’re vegan since they’re very hard to tell apart from the shrimp version.
Are There Traditional Balinese Foods that are Vegan?
Traditional Indonesian cuisine rarely uses milk products, making it easier to dodge that ingredient, but eggs are used frequently, so make sure to ask for dishes without them.
One of my favorite vegan dishes in Bali is nasi goreng, which is fried rice. It comes in many different varieties; you just have to ask for it with only vegetables and tell the staff you are vegan, so no egg.
It’s common for people to confuse vegetarian and vegan, so if you ask for dishes without meat, they will assume you also don’t eat eggs.
Mie goreng can also be made vegan, just like nasi goreng, but you have to be careful that they don’t use egg noodles.
Another vegan favorite in Bali is cap cay, which is vegetables in sauce with fried tempeh or tofu. Just ask about the batter they use, or to be safe, go for plain fried tempeh or tofu.
Lastly, there is gado-gado, one of Indonesia’s national dishes, which is always vegetarian and can be vegan with a quick adjustment. It consists of vegetables served with peanut sauce and egg — skip the egg, and you’ll have a delicious vegan meal.