Thanks to an abundance of soy-based proteins like tofu and tempeh, Indonesia as a whole is vegetarian and vegan-friendly. As one of the world’s top destinations for holistic retreats and a mecca for yoga enthusiasts, you can eat healthy and happy here in Bali, and it is a dream for vegetarians and vegans – more so than in any other country.

For example, you can start your day with the smoothie bowls, packed with bananas, mangoes, and strawberries. Papaya and magenta colored dragon-fruit are so beautiful it almost hurts to dig in, and the obligatory avocado toast is a perfect dish for a breakfast. If you are really hungry, in many restaurants you can order scrambled tofu, tomato salsa, smashed avocado, corn fritters, spinach, mushrooms or pumpkin bread, and also throw in basil pesto and hummus for a delicious, healthy and very filling start to the day. There are sooooo many beautiful vegetarian and vegan choices here on the island of Gods, and new restaurants and cafes are popping around every day offering fantastic choices. For lunch you can, for example, have smoked beetroot on a crispy potato rosti with a dill and balsamic dressing – a delicious combination of complex flavors.

Gado gado, a salad of eggs, potato, vegetables and fried tempeh in peanut sauce is the most ubiquitous vegetarian dish in Indonesia. Originally from Indonesia, tempeh is used widely, not as a meat substitute but as an important ingredient in its own right. Made by fermenting cooked soybeans and forming them into patties, it is firmer, chew- ier and more protein-dense than tofu. While tofu is mild-tasting and takes on the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with, tempeh has a slightly sweet and earthy mushroom taste.

If gado gado is Bali’s most popular vegetarian dish, then kare sayur is surely second. This traditional yellow curry mixes tempeh and tofu with cauliflower, potato, carrot, mush- rooms and coconut milk. Some restaurants add lemongrass, ginger, chili, and basil for a fuller taste.

Also, don’t forget about all raw vegan choices here on the island – especially in Ubud! Have you tried raw lasagna yet? Here they make it from thin slices of layered zucchini, tomato sauce, fresh spinach and velvety cashew nut sauce – yummy and satisfying as the dairy alternative. You can also try pesto burger – a thick sunflower seed patty doused with pesto, chipotle mayo, avocado, sprouts and fresh tomato inside raw onion bread, and served with a side of BBQ jicama wedges. Bali will show you just how delicious and decadent being vegetarian or vegan can be! Jump on the wagon and try, you won’t regret it!

Bali Pocket Magazine