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Travel Vegan in Indonesia

Indonesia is an incredibly vast country, with over 18,000 islands to explore. On one hand, that means that you have plenty to choose from, on the other hand, it makes it harder to make decisions 🙂

I started my trip on the island of Bali, and from there I explored other islands, I travelled through Lombok, Sumbawa and Java. It was a long trip full of adventures some good and others not so much, like experiencing uncountable earthquakes and tsunami alerts.

Indonesia is a beautiful country, that is incredibly diverse and breathtaking in many ways… and a pot of many cultures, customs and religions, that is shown in their rich food scene.

Vegan Food in Indonesia

In Indonesia, a lot of common dishes are actually vegan by default. I was relieved to find that I could go pretty much anywhere and find something delicious to eat. I didn’t feel limited at all during my trip. Don’t be afraid to try everything including the street food, and going to night markets.

Bali receives more tourists than anywhere else in Indonesia and many of them are health-focused, especially in Ubud. So that means that here the vegan food scene is quite strong.

You can’t talk about vegan food in Indonesia without mention Tempeh and Tofu!!

Tempeh is made of fermented soybeans a delicious high-protein food. Like Tempeh, Tofu can be found pretty much everywhere. Both are quite versatile and tasty, so even if you eat them all the time, like I did, its unlikely that you get fed up.

Indonesian Vegan Dishes

Gado Gado: Boiled vegetables and rice with peanut sauce.

Vegetable curry: The name is quite explanatory is a dish made with veggies and curry.

Meaty gudeg: Made from unripe jackfruit and coconut milk.

Urap-Urap: Salad dish of steamed vegetables mixed with spicy grated coconut served with rice.

Capcay: A stir-fry vegetable dish.

Sayur lodeh: Is a vegetable soup/stew with coconut milk served with rice or rice cakes.

Keripik tempeh pedas: Fried thin tempeh slices.

Jogja gudeg: Made with boiled young jackfruit, and marinated with coconut milk and sugar.

Lontong Cap Gomeh: a vegetable stew cooked in coconut milk served with or over rice cakes.

Vegan Indonesian snacks and sweets

Indonesia has plenty of fresh tropical fruit like mangoes, mangosteen, dukuh, papaya, snake fruit, pineapple, sirsak, dragonfruit, between others.

They also have plenty delicious desserts like sweets, cakes and puddings that can easily be found at the local markets. They are usually made with rice flour, coconut milk, palm sugar, shredded coconut, cassava, yam and banana, they are really tasty and cheap.

Es Teler is made with young shredded coconut, avocado and jackfruit.

Klepon are sweet coconut rice balls, that can be made with rice flour or black sticky rice.

Be wary of…

*Dairy isn’t really a big thing in Southeast Asia but is always better to double check.

*Fish sauce and shrimp paste (terasi), are very common and used as a base for a lot of foods. It’s easily hidden in soups, stews, and other vegetable dishes.

*Eggs can be found in many dishes and is not always obvious, so just ask.

*Many dishes also come with a side of prawn crackers.

If you’re like me and you like to go off the beaten path, it’s sensible to learn some of the local lingo.

I’m sure you will be impressed by how easy (and tasty) it is to be vegan in Indonesia.

Animal Attractions

Sadly, like many places around the world, animals in Indonesia are exploited in the tourism industry. So make sure you do your research beforehand so you don’t end supporting terrible practices.  Do responsible tourism and keep your self away from cruel attractions such as Luwak coffee farms or shows and performances with elephants.

What else is special about Indonesia:
    • Beaches
    • Volcanoes
    • Wild animals in their natural habitat
    • Rich marine life
    • Translucent ocean
    • Majestic mountains
    • World’s largest volcanic lake
    • Valleys
    • Cliffs
    • Waterfalls
    • Rice paddies
    • Lotus ponds
    • Culture
    • Rituals
    • Temples

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Yogyakarta top things to do

Yogyakarta often known as Yogya, Yoja or even Jogja, is located in the island of Java, Indonesia. For me Jogja is a special, buzzing picturesque place, full of art, history, and culture, and a must visit in the island of Java.

Jogja has so many things to offer that you can easily spend a week there. Don’t assume that the only good thing about it is the proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Borobodur & Prambanan.

Kraton

Walking around the Kraton neighbourhood is quite pleasant, with its narrow and colourful streets.

To visit the Kraton Palace is Rp.15,000 ($1) + Rp.1,000 ($0.10) for the camera.

Included in the ticket price they have different performances everyday in the inner pavilion from 9 to noon. Depending on the day, they have gamelan (music), wayang golek (puppetry), classical dance, Javanese poetry , leather puppetry and Javanese dance.

Just make sure you enter through the correct entrance – north-west side,  and be careful with scammers here.

Water Palace (Taman Sari)

The Taman Sari is located just southwest of the Kraton, and is a complex with pools and waterways, once used by the sultan. To get there you will need to cross the tunnels and underground mosque. The entrance fee is Rp.7000 ($0.50).

Jalan Malioboro

The Maliboro is a massive street that goes as far as the eye can see, packed with shops and stalls selling a bit everything. If you are not into busy places and shopping, maybe avoid this street.

During the evening the north end of JI Malioboro gets full of street food vendors selling inexpensive and delicious vegan food.

During the day, visit the Maliboro street at the same time as the Beringharjo Market.

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Markets

Yogyakarta is well know in Java for its huge markets, give yourself a morning or two to go around different neighbourhoods and explore the best of what they have to offer.

Sono-Budoyo Museum

This museums has a mixture of really interesting Javanese arts from puppets to batiks, and also pieces from the Balinese culture.

If you keep an eye, they host performances here regularly during the evenings.

The entrance fee is Rp.5,000 ($0.40). Yogyakarta has other museums but this one was for me the most interesting one.

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Street art

The street art in Jogjia is incredible rich and really interesting. It’s great to have a walk around and see some of the greatest murals in Yogyakarta.

Vegan Street Food

The street food scene in Yogyakarta is great, and there are lots of vegan and vegetarian options.

Yogyakarta Tourist Traps to avoid
  • Silver and Batik, 
  • Price Hike, don’t be afraid to haggle,
  • Long Taxi Rides.

 

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

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Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Cookies (bolachas veganas de banana e amendoim)

Easy Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Cookies
    • 2 medium ripe bananas (mashed until smooth)
    • 1 small apple finely chopped
    • ½ cup peanut butter
    • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or sugar
    • 2tbsp melted coconut oil
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water, whisked together, set for 15 minutes)
    • 2 cups oats
    • ½ cup raisins or dates
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients, stir and fold until well mixed. Then using a tablespoon scoop and shape the cookie dough onto a baking sheet with parchment paper a non-stick silicone baking sheet.

You can use your hand slightly wet or a fork, to shape and flatten each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on how thick they are. Remove from oven when light gold and allow cooling for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack.

PT: bolachas veganas de banana e manteiga de amendoim
  • 2 bananas maduras médias (esmagadas)
  • 1 maçã pequena finamente picada
  • ½ caneca de manteiga de amendoim
  • 2 colheres de sopa de xarope de bordo ou açúcar
  • 2colheres de sopa de óleo de coco derretido
  • 2 ovos de linhaça (2 colheres de sopa de linhaça moída + 6 colheres de sopa de água, repouso por 15 minutos)
  • 1 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
  • 2 canecas de aveia
  • ½ colher de chá de fermento em pó
  • 1 colher de chá canela
  • ½ caneca de uvas passas ou tâmaras 
  • ½ caneca de nozes picadas

Pre-aquecer o forno a 200ºC.

Numa tigela grande, adicionar todos os ingredientes, mexer e envolver até ficar bem misturado. De seguida, com uma colher de sopa moldar a massa de biscoito e colocar num tabuleiro forrado com papel vegetal ou um tapete de silicone.

Pode-se usar as mãos ligeiramente húmidas ou um garfo para moldar e achatar cada biscoito.

Levar ao forno por 10-12 minutos, dependendo da espessura das bolachas. Retirar do forno quando estiverem douradinhas e deixe arrefecer por cerca de 10 minutos.

Sunrise at Bromo, for Free and Without a Tour

Visiting the Mount Bromo, contemplate the sunrise or sunset, can be done easily for free and without a tour.

First, you need to reach the small town of Cemoro Lawang, find a room and overnight there. If you arrive during the day, I recommend visiting the Bromo crater that day, after the tours left.

I woke up at 3.20am and left to the hike to the top of Mount Penanjakan, by myself, and could be easier. The trek uphill is about 5km long so you need some good 2 hours.
It’s important to have a good torch, proper shoes and warm clothes, its frizzing cold during the night, remember that you are at 2,217 meters above sea level.

Hiking to the top of Mount Penanjakan during the night

First, you walk on the concrete road for half of the journey and then you go into a rocky mountain trail, The hike is not difficult but you need to have a reasonable level of fitness. Its deep dark but using the offline map app maps-me makes the tasks pretty easy, as long as you have a light source with you.

It’s amazing to stop occasionally to look at the starts here, the visibility is just superb.

On the day I did my hike, I only pass through a couple of small moving light points from other travellers. This is not the same route taken by the jeeps (tours) and there are not many people climbing up this way.

After a while, I reached a viewing point that I liked (you will find many) and waited there for the sunrise. Slowly started to get brighter and brighter… It was magical, such a stunning and magnificent view over the caldera with Semeru volcano in the background.

I contemplated the sunrise wrapped in a blanket and stayed a bit longer having breakfast (that I carried in my backpack) looking at the views.

The weather was getting warmer and I went down to town, sat for a coffee, rest and finish an amazing morning.

The journey was tiring but completely worth it.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Savoury Vegan Hand Pie (Pastel vegano)

  • 1 vegan Shortcrust Pastry Sheet (~320g)
  • 1/2 cup red pesto
  • 1 cup mixed sprouts
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh green leafs
  • vegan cheese to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.

Lay the pastry sheet flat on a clean, floured surface and spread all the ingredients as you wish. when you are happy with what you have inside fold the sheet in half.

Slice holes on top for venting.

Bake at 200ºC for 20 to 25 mins or until golden

Let the pastry cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

PT: Pastel vegano
  • 1 folha de massa quebrada vegana (~ 320g)
  • 1/2 caneca de pesto de tomate seco
  • 1 caneca de rebentos (vários)
  • 1/4 caneca de pesto
  • 1 dentes de alho finamente picado
  • 1/2 caneca de nozes
  • 1 caneca folhas verdes
  • queijo vegano a gosto

Pré-aquecer o forno a 200ºC.

Colocar a folha de massa sobre uma superfície limpa e enfarinhada e colocar todos os ingredientes por cima. Quando estiveres satisfeita/o com o recheio, dobra a placa de massa ao meio. Faz uns furos na parte superior para que o ar saia.

Colocar no forno a 200ºC por 20 a 25 minutos ou até estar douradinho.

Deixar o pastel arrefecer por 5 minutos, fatiar e servir.

Batik in Yogyakarta, what to do and where to go on a budget

One of the best things about travelling is learning new things, and it would be impossible to visit or live in Indonesia and not to notice one of the country’s most highly developed art forms, the batik.

The Indonesian Batik is part of the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Batik is a method originally used in Java of producing coloured designs on textiles by applying wax and them dyeing them.

Felling the Batik smell, admire its patterns and learn about its processes needs to be part of any visit to Yogyakarta because is such an important part of the Indonesian culture and heritage.

Where to learn about the  batik process

If you want to see and learn about the batik process the Batik Winotosatro in Yogyakarta, shows it for free.

The manual process uses fabric, hot wax, tjanting and colours. Tjanting is a bell metal tool used in outlining the design of the batik art.

The Batik can also be made by stamp.

Where to try the batik process

Mirota Batik is a fixed-priced store, located in the Malioboro, that sell batik fabric and clothing, but also has a small space where you can try this technique (Rp.30,000~$2)

Batik scams

Batik is very popular in Yogyakarta among tourists, making it a great opportunity for scammers.

Everywhere you go,  someone will be trying to sell you batik, or they have a friend that does it, or they know the most authentic place to buy it, or they are a teacher in the University of Batik… well… the stories are many and I assure you; you will hear them all. The important thing is to decline all offers politely and choose wisely where you want to go.

If you want to buy some batik my advice is for you to go to a shop with fixed prices.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

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Vegan strawberry and coconut Cupcakes (Cupcakes veganos de morango e coco)

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A delicious recipe for Vegan strawberry and coconut Cupcakes.

This vegan strawberry and coconut cupcakes that are perfectly tender and moist for a fresh, healthy and seasonal treat.

  • 350g flour
  • 45g coconut oil
  • 30g grated coconut
  • 200g strawberries
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk (or other)
  • 40g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 50g strawberries to cut into large or medium pieces depending on if you want big juicy pieces or not.

Beat the flour, sugar, coconut oil and desiccated coconut. Add the strawberries milk and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the baking soda and mix, fold in the strawberries.

Spoon batter into silicone cupcake liners. Bake at 180° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.

I hope you enjoy them!

PT: Cupcakes veganos de morango e côco
  • 350g farinha
  • 45g óleo de coco
  • 30g coco ralado
  • 200g morangos
  • 3 c. sopa leite de coco (ou outro)
  • 40g açúcar mascavado
  • 1 c. sopa fermento
  • 50g morangos cortados em pedaços médios para envolver na massa.

Misturar bem a farinha, o açúcar, o óleo de coco e o coco ralado. Adicionar os morangos e o leite e bater até que a mistura fique homogênea. Acrescentar o fermento bater e envolver cuidadosamente os pedacinhos de morango.
Despejar a mistura em formas pequenas de silicone e levar ao forno por cerca de 15 minutos a 180ºC.

Espero que gostem!

Yogyakarta a special place

The special region of Yogyakarta often known as Yogya, Yoja or even Jogja, is located in the island of Java, Indonesia. Unlike Bali, Jogya is more traditionally Muslimwith a minority identifying as Christian and Hindu. 

Yogyakarta is a busy sprawling city with lots of narrow picturesque side streets in a maze-like formation, that makes navigation confusing at times but also exciting.

Many people will say that Yogya is not a city to fall in love with, but I did… I truly fell in love with this city to the point I have returned again. If you have been reading my posts about Indonesia I was quite disappointed with most of the places.

For the first time on my adventure around Indonesia, I didn’t feel like everyone had an agenda, I liked the vibe of the city, its people, and authenticity.

Location

Yogyakarta also has an excellent location whatever direction you go. The Merapi mount at the North, isolated beaches at the South, The Heritage site of Prambanan at the East and the ancient Buddhist temple – Borobudur at the west to where you can go using public buses.

The Arts

Jogya is the centre of many art forms including traditional dances, batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, puppet shows, and cuisine.

Yogyakarta is the beating heart of the Javanese culture. The city pulsates with creative energy, where artists from all over Indonesia come to join the community, making this city a feast for the eyes.

Street Art

Street art is just another way of expression, and finding the best street art is just one of the things you can do in Yogyakarta.  Jogya is a colourful, creative city full of surprises. There always seems to be something going on.

Local Markets

There are few better places to visit than the local markets in order to gain a sense of a country, its customs and culture than amongst the stalls and the people.

Most markets you will encounter are packed with people, are hot and sticky, have colourful foods and gods on offer, some are located in narrow alleyways full of the sounds and smells of a country waiting to be explored.

Whichever you choose, make sure you’re there early as most stalls close after 11 am.

Food

There are food stalls in every corner, and vegan and vegetarian food is abundant in Yogyakarta. Tofu and tempeh are super common and dairy, on the other hand, is rarely used in cooking.

The busiest area is on the north end of JI Malioboro where you will find dozens of street food vendors during the evening.

Look for nasi goreng (fried rice), gado gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), lotek (similar to gado gado), gudgeon (jackfruit curry), nasi Langgi (coconut rice with temple),  tahu and tempe sate (tofu and tempeh on skewers) and pecel (mixed veg salad with bean sprouts and peanut sauce).

Becaks

Becaks (cycle rickshaws) are used for public transportation in Yogyakarta. Around the Palace Quarter after the sun has set the streets are filled with a selection of illuminated vehicles decorated with everything from Hello Kitty to Pokemons.

Batik

Batik is an ancient waxing and dying process, very popular in Indonesia. In fact, it is here, on the island of Java that the finest batik in the world is produced.

Jogja being the Javanese cultural hub, is a great place to witness the process of batik first-hand.

Some batik workshops give free tours of the batik process. But please do some research and be aware of all the scams directed at tourists.

I’ve visited Yogyakarta twice and spent some considerable time there, and I can’t recommend it enough, I really loved it..

Have you been to Java or Yogyakarta? Let me know your thoughts..

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Cashew Chive Vegan Cheese (queijo vegano com cebolinho)

Simple and Easy Cashew Chive Vegan Cheese

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 1/2cup water
  • 4 tbsp corn-starch
  • 3tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp dried/fresh chives
  • olive oil to brush the ramekin

Pour all the ingredients into a powerful blender (less the chives).

Blend on high speed for about 1 to 3 minutes, until is completely smooth. Then add the chives and involve in the liquid.

Put the liquid into a frying pan over medium heat, and stir constantly, for approximately 5 minutes. When starts to turn into a thick paste and to stick together it’s cooked.

Pour the mixture into lightly oiled ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove by turning upside down onto a plate or board.

Store in the fridge.

PT: queijo vegano com cebolinho
  • 1/2 caneca de castanha de caju
  • 1/2 caneca de água
  • 4 colheres de sopa de amido de milho
  • 3 colheres de sopa de levedura nutricional
  • 2 colheres de sopa de vinagre de maçã
  • 1 colher de sopa de azeite
  • 1/2 colher de chá de sal
  • 1/2colher de chá de alho em pó
  • 1/2 colher de chá de cebola em pó
  • 2 colheres de sopa de cebolinho seco ou fresco
  • azeite para untar as forminhas

Colocar todos os ingredientes (menos o cebolinho) num processador de alimentos.

Processar em alta velocidade por cerca de 1 a 3 minutos, até ficar completamente homogêneo e adicionar o cebolinho.

Colocar o líquido numa frigideira antiaderente em lume médio, e ir mexendo por aproximadamente 5 minutos. Quando começar a ficar mais espesso e a formar uma bola está pronto.

Colocar a pasta em forminhas levemente untadas com azeite e levar ao frigorifico por pelo menos 2 horas. Retirar os queijinhos das formas virando-os aos contrário para um prato.

Guardar no frigorifico.

Roasted Orange Vegetables (vegetais laranja assados)

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Roasted Orange Vegetables

This is a mixture of squash, carrots and sweet potatoes roasted in the oven, tossed in a maple syrup glaze.

  • 1  small butternut squash, seeded peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200ºC. Mix together the olive oil, syrup and cumin seeds in a small bowl. (Add the cinnamon at this point if you want a more exotic flavour)

Spread the vegetables out on the oven tray in a single layer. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the top, use your hands to toss the vegetables around to evenly coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roast for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender and starting to caramelize. Sprinkle with coriander finely chopped.

PT:  vegetais laranja assados 

Esta é uma mistura de abóbora, cenouras e batatas-doces assadas no forno com xarope de acér.

  • 1 abóbora pequena, sem sementes, descascadas e cortadas em cubos de 1cm
  • 2cenouras, descascadas e cortadas em cubos de 1cm
  • 2  batatas-doces, descascadas e cortadas em cubos de 1cm
  • 2c. sopa de azeite
  • 2 c. sopa de xarope de acér
  • Sal e pimenta a gosto
  • 3 c. sopa de coentros fresco
  • 1/2colher de sopa de sementes de cominho
  • 1/2 colher de chá de canela em pó (opcional)

Pré-aquecer o forno a 200C. Misturar o azeite, o xarope de acér e as sementes de cominho numa tigela pequena. (Adicione a canela neste momento, para um toque mais exótico).

Espalhar os legumes no tabuleiro numa única camada. Regar com a mistura de azeite por cimas envolver com as mãos. Temperar a gosto com sal e pimenta.

Assar por 40 minutos ou até que os vegetais estejam macios e comecem a caramelizar. Polvilhe com coentros finamente cortados.