It’s a fact: Ubud is vegan heaven. Getting vegan food in Ubud is not only easy, it is truely incredible. In the cultural capital of Bali, every corner of the street features a raw food restaurant, and local warungs offer the most delicious plant-based dishes for a bargain. The menu’s of raw food restaurants are so incredibly healthy that there is no reason left for you not to eat out three times a day. So that is exactly what I did when I was in Ubud.
In this article you’ll read what you can expect if you land on Bali and arrive in Ubud. Also, do read this article, in which you’ll find my review of no less then 22 vegan-friendly hotspots in Ubud.
Vegan on Bali
Southeast Asia is actually quite well accommodated to vegans. Most menu items are plant-based by default, and exist of rice or noodles, with vegetables in a spiced sauce or marinade. Often you will find tempeh or tofu with it, but non-vegans can replace these with chicken or fish if they wish to.
I spent two of my four weeks on Bali in Ubud. I like to stay in one place for a longer time, to dig deeper then just the tourist spots. Admittedly, I also need time to get used to a place and let all the impressions land a bit (hello introvert).
And Ubud has quite some impressions to process. Yes, be warned: along with lush green rice fields come the many many tourists that swarm around in Ubud whole year round. The locals are sometimes obviously (though understandably) sick of them.
But that is no reason to erase Bali from your bucket list. Because in this town you will find the most revolutionary, creative and healthy vegan food you have ever had.
Vegan Food in Ubud
If you are a vegan, Ubud is your city of dreams. The restaurants can be divided in two: the (vegan raw food) restaurants, that apart from the Balinese staff have a western look, and the local restaurants, called warungs. The raw food restaurants offer a variety of creative dishes, but are a bit more expensive. If you want to please your wallet ánd your taste buds, then please go to the warungs really often and occasionally treat yourself on a dish at a raw food restaurant.
Vegan raw food restaurants
There are so many choices of plant-based vegan food at the vegan raw food restaurants in Ubud, that you find yourself staring at the menu for ages, not knowing what to pick. Every restaurant has a great interior with lots of wood, pillows, low tables and soft pastel colors. A pick from the menu options:
- “Rawnola”: gluten free raw granola made with sprouted nuts and seeds, raw cacao and palm sugar, with home-made cashew milk poured over it.
- Raw coconut curry with courgette noodles, avocado, sprouts, fresh shredded coconut, coconut water and local herbs.
- Chia pudding with coconut milk, a layer of smoothie, and topped with purple dragonfruit.
- Raw soup made from fresh vegetables, spices and raw nuts.
- Raw spring rolls with nori instead of rice paper, and a raw peanut dipping sauce.
- Fresh fruit with toppings like raw granola, cashew milk, coconut milk or chia pudding.
- Smoothie bowls with rawnola and fresh fruits.
- Sprouted grain, seed and nut breads with the most creative toppings you’ve ever heard of.
Warungs: Local Places
The warungs offer you the very best of the Indonesian cuisine, of which the basis is almost always vegan. You can order chicken, fish or shrimps in your dish at an extra cost, but even if I put my vegan ideals aside, I would recommend every omnivore to go for the tempeh option instead of the meat. Preparing tempeh is something Indonesian people are amazingly good at, and no piece of chicken or fish can match marinated tempeh.
At warungs you get a generous portion of the most delicious food for a cheap price. I’d recommend to try a lot of local dishes and skip the western options. It is just these authentic Indonesian dishes that made me realise we know so little of using herbs and spices in Dutch cuisine! (Dutch food is so bland. The signature Dutch dish ‘stamppot‘ is just boiled potatoes and kale/cabbage with a piece of sausage on the side. It is spiced with merely salt and pepper).
The best authentic dishes that in my humble opinion you really should try are:
- Gado gado: my all time favourite. Steamed vegetables, tofu and tempeh with home-made satay (peanut) sauce.
- Tempeh curry: Balinese curry made with coconut milk, filled with loads of vegetables and marinated tempeh.
- Tempeh satay: satay is a popular dish in Indonesia, and you can often get a tofu- or tempeh one. The peanut sauce that is served on top is the best you will ever taste.
- Nasi campur: a cup of perfect sticky rice surrounded by a variety of small Indonesian dishes.
- Urap urap: fried vegetables with shredded, spiced coconut
- Cap cay: a salty, generously filled vegetable soup
- Bubur injin: Balinese black rice pudding, cooked in coconut milk and topped with slices of banana and palm sugar. It reminds me of my all day oatmeal back home, but then with a tropical twist thanks to the coconut milk.
Vegan-friendly Local Restaurants in Ubud
I put all raw food restaurants and the most well-known warungs in Ubud in this article, complete with review, photographs and link to the menu. If you want to know where to go for food in Ubud, this is your Vegan Ubud Bible.
- Gado gado ingredients
Every gado gado looks different and contains different vegetables and side dishes. Some places sneak in a boiled egg on your plate, and sometimes krupuk is made from prawns. Check in advance if you don’t find any prawn crackers on your plate and ask for a replacement for the egg, for example some extra tofu, tempeh or rice.
- Tax en service costs
Most raw food restaurands and a small part of the warungs top the bill with tax and service costs, which is 15% extra of what you have to pay for your food. If you are on a small budget, keep this in mind. Often it is written on the menu card if tax and service costs apply.
- Rooftop restaurant
Many restaurants have more then one floor, and sometimes it’s a relief to be able to escape the commotion of the street and feel the cool breeze on the first floor. Check before you enter a restaurant if they have seats on the first floor as well, and search for the stairs. Of all restaurants in this summary, Dayu’s Warung, Fussy Bird, Black Beach, Garden Kafe, Alchemy, Clear Cafe and Down to Earth Cafe have a first floor where you can sit as well. Dewa Warung, Melting Wok, Warung Biah Biah and Bali Buda are also a bit higher then ground level, although it is no rooftop.
I hope this article was helpful to you, and if you are planning a trip to Ubud, then I wish you lots of fun and save travel! 🙂
More Vegan Travels
As a digital nomad in winter, I’ve traveled throughout Asia, to live and work remotely for a few months. The last two winters I’ve spent 5 months in Chiang Mai, and made a huge review article on vegan food in Chiang Mai. It covers not less than 40 vegan hotspots, complete with pictures (hello food inspiration for homestayers!) and descriptions. If you are travel-and-food-minded like me, I’d surely take a peek!
This post is also available in NL