7 Vegetarian Things To Try In Bali That Are Local & Delicious! Last Updated: October 17, 2022

Me at a vegetarian cafe in Bali
Me at a vegetarian cafe in Bali

If you are following me on Instagram, you already know how much I have raved about vegetarian food in Bali. 

Out of all the 42 countries I have travelled to, I have found Bali food to be one of the BEST in terms of quality, quantity, and value for money.

As a vegetarian, I can assure you that you won’t starve at any point in Bali. You can BINGE on the local vegetarian food that is available there. 

Let me also throw light on the fact that Indonesian cuisine can be super healthy & nourishing – for example, they use tempeh a lot in their dishes which is very high in protein.

Made with fermented soybeans, tempeh is a kind of vegetarian protein that is widely used in Indonesia.

Some of the fruits available in Bali are tropical and not so easily available in other countries. I am talking mainly from an Indian perspective since I live in India but I am pretty sure a lot of fruits like Dragonfruit, Durian, Mangosteen, Snake Fruit, and Pomelo are very hard to find in other countries. Even if you find them anywhere outside South East Asia, they will be priced much higher since they are imported.

Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl
Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Organically grown, these fruits are also of very high quality. I had a lot of dragonfruit bowls and smoothies while I was in Bali. 

As a vegetarian, the best part for me was not only the fact that I was spoilt for choice but also felt very healthy eating protein-rich, nutritious meals most of the time. 

To try the most local Indonesian food in Bali, you should go the the ‘Warungs’ which are street-side restaurants or kiosks serving cheap and delicious Indonesian food. Since the vegan and vegetarian culture is fast growing worldwide, I also found some warungs serving 100% plant-based Indonesian meals. 

While there are many vegetarian things to try in Bali that are local, I want to focus on 7 things that are my best recommendations for you. Even if you are not a vegetarian, the below-mentioned things are a MUST for you to try on your Bali trip:

1. Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng

If you love rice-based dishes, you HAVE to try this one! It is one of the most popular local dishes to try in all of Indonesia. 

To explain it better – Nasi Goreng is Indonesia’s take on the classic fried rice dish that is more well-known worldwide. In my opinion, it is also more flavourful than fried rice.

The most traditional recipe has meat and eggs included but it is fairly easy to find the vegetarian version of it in any warungs or other types of restaurants. 

Nasi Goreng is a perfect mix of sweet and salty. It can be eaten as a side dish or as a part of the main course.

It is simply stir-fried rice cooked with veggies, a few sauces like soy sauce and a spice powder that is specifically made for Nasi Goreng. 

Some places use fish sauces and shrimp paste. If you are a vegetarian, you can request them to exclude it and replace it with a vegetarian version of it.

2. Mie Goreng

Mie Goreng
Mie Goreng

Pronounced as “Mee Goreng”. 

If you are a noodle lover like me, then this dish is going to win your heart. 

Mie Goreng is nothing but stir-fried noodles with garlic, protein and veggies cooked in stir-fry sauce. This is popular street food but you can also find it in restaurants. 

The original version of Mie Goreng has shrimp/chicken but you can request a vegetarain version by adding tofu or tempeh along with veggies.

The noodles used are yellow noodles made with egg but if you are lucky, they have ramen noodles that don’t contain egg. 

I would recommend you try this dish at a local ‘warung’ as it is super cheap and the quantity is great! The flavours are also more authentic compared to eating this at a high-end restaurant.

3. Gado Gado

Gado Gado
Gado Gado

Gado-Gado is a very healthy Indonesian dish to try in Bali. 

It is a raw salad made with vegetables that are slightly boiled, blanched or steamed. Additionally, there are hard-boiled eggs, fried tofu and tempeh added to it along with sesame seeds on top.  And this dish is drizzled or served with peanut sauce dressing.

The hero of this dish is the peanut sauce. 

Most Indonesian dishes have a good balance of sweet and savoury. Gado-Gado is no exception. The peanut sauce added a little bit of sweetness to the otherwise savoury mix of salad ingredients. 

If you don’t eat eggs, you can request the restaurant to exclude them for you. The rest is vegetarian, including the peanut sauce.

4. Dadar Gulung (Coconut Stuffed Pancakes)

Balinese Pancakes
The Dadar Gulung version I had without Pandan

These are traditional Balinese Pancakes. The pancake batter is infused with Pandan extract to make it green and they are stuffed with shredded coconut sweetened with golden palm sugar. 

In case you are wondering what Pandan is, it is a tropical green plant with fragrant leaves widely used for flavouring in South East Asian countries. 

I had a slightly different variation of this pancake when I was staying with a local family at their homestay in Ubud.

They used a regular egg-free pancake batter instead of the one with pandan extract but the filling was the same. They also added banana slices to it which gave a really good flavour along with the sweetened coconut. 

These pancakes make for a great breakfast in Bali!

5. Jus Alpukat (Indonesian Avocado Smoothie Shake)

Jus Alpukat
Jus Alpukat (Avocado Coffee Milkshake)

When I think of Avocado, I think of Guacamole. Never in my life would I have imagined having avocado with milk and coffee powder. This combination blew my mind because it was THAT good.

It was surprising to see this drink offered widely in cafes and restaurants in Bali. 

Made with avocado, and milk, sweetened with condensed milk and a dash of coffee, Jus Alpukat is a rich and creamy milkshake. The coffee is just the right amount that doesn’t lead to a caffeine rush in your body. 

You can have it for breakfast or as an after-meal dessert. 

Such a winner! You have to try it.

6. Pisang Goreng (Indonesian Banana Fritters)

Pisang Goreng - vegetarian food in Bali
Pisang Goreng

Do you like bananas? Do you like them fried? Then this dish is for you.

Pisang Goreng is served everywhere in Bali. The recipe for this dish is simple – consists of chopped bananas that are fried in a batter made with all-purpose flour, sugar, vanilla powder, butter and rum flavouring. 

In my opinion, it is best served with vanilla or coconut ice cream.

You can eat this dish as a part of breakfast, evening snacks and/or dessert. 

Definitely worth trying once!

7. Lapis (Layered coconut pudding)

Lapis - vegetarian food in Bali

I came across this dessert on my last day in Bali. There is a shop in the Ubud Market area serving everything made with only coconut – coconut ice cream and other coconut-based desserts. This is where I came across Lapis. 

A traditional steamed layered pudding, Lapis is made with coconut and chocolate. 

I found this to be less sweet yet so delicious. 

Apparently, this dessert is a traditional one from Bali. You may or may not find it everywhere in Indonesia. 

So do give it a try whenever you are in Bali!

Fruit Salad - vegetarian food in Bali
Balinese Fruit Salad

I hope I have left you hungry now after reading this article. 

My goal is to help vegetarians eat better and more local food in different countries. With this blog, I feel like I am a step closer to achieving this goal. 

If you have any feedback for me, let me know in the comments below.

Want to work with me? Let’s collaborate on theveggietravels@gmail.com.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow me visually on my travel adventures.

Leave a Reply

Meet Aahuti

Hi, I am Aahuti Sejpal. You will probably see me on Instagram posting about travel and vegetarian food or in restaurants trying new (and sometimes weird) food items or simply ...

Read More