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.
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:
- Wild animals in their natural habitat
- Rich marine life
- Translucent ocean
- Majestic mountains
- World’s largest volcanic lake
- Rice paddies
- Lotus ponds
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha