Roughly two years ago, I visited Bali for the first time. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the vegan food options on this tiny Indonesian island, but I was ready to be blown away. I vividly recall all the raw food options, the fresh fruit, and the delicious vegan desserts. I discovered that Indonesian food uses a lot of tempeh and an abundance of fresh herbs and spices. Lemongrass is omnipresent and so is chili.
Well, on this trip, I decided to steer away from traditional restaurants, as a lot of them also serve a lot of fish and meat, and to only seek out vegan places. And guess what? I didn’t have enough time in my two weeks to try all the vegan places because there are just so many! It feels like they are growing on trees and popping up everywhere. So here is a short list of my favorites.
Best Vegan Food in Bali
Zest, located on top of a hill, looking down on the Ubud jungle, has the vibe of a hip Tribeca restaurant, with the beauty of traditional Indonesian exotic decoration. The place closes at 4 pm, so it’s perfect for breakfast or lunch. The durian coconut milkshake is honestly incredible, and I am seriously planning on getting durian from Chinatown in New York to replicate it. The smoothie bowls are rich and gigantic–I loved the homemade cashew granola on top. If you are looking for something more western, go with the choco pancakes; they won’t disappoint.
That glass straw, tho.
Moksa is hands-down one of the best three vegan restaurants I have ever eaten at in my vegan life (and that’s a looooong list). The dishes remind me of Matthew Kenney’s food art but with an Asian touch. Half of the menu is raw and half is cooked food. You can find out more about Chef Made’s food philosophy in an upcoming podcast interview of mine. Note also the fact that Moksa is located in the middle of rice fields, surrounded by a permaculture farm and a yoga studio. I had to go back twice to this place to make it through *almost* the entire menu.
Sayuri quickly became my Ubud hang out and chill spot. Not only did I take a phenomenal fermentation class there–yep, can’t wait to make coconut kefir–but the almost all raw food is delightful. The pizza was my absolute favorite, and the jackfruit rendang comes in as a close second. On the dessert front, Sayuri isn’t playing around. The gluten-free waffle is out of this world, and the raw desert display case makes jaws drop left and right. Go with the banana cream pie and a charcoal energy bite (because it’s so much fun!).
Bali Buddha is both grocery store and healthy lunch spot. Not just vegan food, but with a large vegan selection, it’s a great place for a quick bite and a good coffee in Ubud. I also love how sustainable this place is–all bags are made out of old newspapers, they use bamboo straws, and you can bring back all packaging for recycling. It’s definitely also a perfect place to pick up some snacks for a beach day.
Life in Amed
Life in Amed is located on the East Coast of Bali, in a little fisherman town. About an hour and a half from Ubud, the bed and breakfast makes a perfect place for a beach getaway. The staff is incredible and happily veganized their banana breakfast crepes. The dinner menu is abundant in vegan options–we loved the tempeh mania and Gado gado with peanut sauce. Also, the black rice pudding with coconut cream is pure heaven!
Have you been to Bali?
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!
Photos: Isabelle Steichen