We ate like royalty in Bali. Besides all the amazing sights and sounds, the tastes certainly rival any of the best restaurants worldwide.
Try a few of the local dishes:
- Cap cay (pronounced chap Choy), a vegetable soup with rice,
- Tipak cantok (pronounced tee-pack chan-talk) rice cakes, sort of like tofu but made of rice with sprouts and greens and peanut sauce. Never really cooked, but if made spicy, tastes very warm.
- Rujak – I never tried this, but is pre-ripe (sour) fruits in a spicy sauce.
- Mie goreng – fried ramen noodles with various veggies and tofu.
- Gado gado – a dish consisting of veggies, rice and peanut sauce. Ensure they do not add egg.
Most of the local dishes aren’t exactly heavy on the veggies, or super healthful for that matter…so although your budget will be happy if you eat locally, your guts may not be after a few days. There are markets in the bigger cities, and even in the small towns there is always at least one fruit & veggie vendor. Don’t forget to barter – if you’re in a market or a similar type of place, bartering is essential (note: this does not include grocery stores or restaurants with the price listed.)
I’ve seen vegan curries on random menus, but I cannot confirm they are “authentic” Balinese food. The local dishes vary on the area you’re visiting, and that persons heritage.
The places we ate in Denpasar either didn’t really have a name, or the name was not in English, minus one place, De Re Sa. It was a delicious place with decent serving sizes and a HUGE menu, though expensive for the area.
In regard to alcohol, I recommend sticking to beer if you’re on a budget – wine is expensive for what you get, and spirits even more so. If you’re just visiting for a short trip, then I guess a budget isn’t really a big deal typically, but since we are travelling for a long time, we can’t afford to spend 30$ on a bottle of wine (the same brand that is typically 15$ in Canada). They have local wine, but it’s expensive for what you get, and its gross. If you’re the drinking type, I suggest buying your alcohol at the grocery store, it’s much cheaper there. Bintang is the local beer (bintang radler *with lemon* tastes like 7 up). I highly recommend it. There is another one, Bali hai, that is decent at best, but is typically just slightly cheaper than bintang, and is not as popular.
Before we talk Ubud, I should mention – I have a theory that places owned by non-locals have to charge at least tax, if not tax and service. It’s fair as far as I’m concerned, but just something worth mentioning. It’s the only place we found the tax and service, but I suppose we didn’t also visit Kuta or seminiyak, which are touristy places.
We did go to a few other places not listed, but they were not listed for a reason – they were not worth mentioning. #sorrynotsorry
Places to eat in Ubud
Veggie table – had the Balinese curry the first time, gado gado the second time. Good, but sort of expensive compared to other places. Tax and service included in the prices.
warung d’gamma – really cheap, and pretty darn good. I had the Mie goreng a few times, and their juices are fresh and super cheap.
Sapodilla sawobali vegan buffet – this place is damn good! A bit pricy, but totally worth it. Free water and soup included…and as it’s a buffet, all you can eat! Separate from the buffet, they also have a variety of vegan and vegetarian sweets (cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc.)
Nine heaven vegan warung – good and spicy ramen, but the price was a bit high for what we got.
Local vegetarian warung – Suprna Harni – the lady running the place didn’t speak much English, but all you need to say is “nasi campur” (pronounced nasi Cham-purrrr) and thank you. 😎 super delicious mock meat and veggies with a nice side of soup. Went there twice, loved every minute of it.
Hongalia – super duper curry veggie soup with tofu. The price and the spice is right! Plus, the owner, Mai, is a sweetheart of a lady.
Earth cafe/Paradiso – bomb food, and the menu is 100% vegan, but unless you go to Paradiso for half priced Mondays from 2-4 pm, your wallet will cry afterwards. We visited a few times.
Kismet – super delicious food, totally vegetarian/vegan menu, but with 10% service and 10% tax, it will leave you feeling poor. Another plus is great wifi, which is a rarity. I got the dragon bowl with two vegan satay skewers.
Bali buda – great organic food at expensive-ish prices, but its the 15% tax and service that surprises you when you get your bill. I got the macrobiotic plate, and loved every bite.
Warung Komang – across the street from Paradiso, their palm wine with a slice of lime is priced at 10k a cup (it’s basically palm tree vodka as far as I’m concerned) is worth how it tastes, though after the first few sips it goes down easy. Their juice and Mie goreng is also delicious. Their prices are quite cheap.
Fussy bird – an organic vegan first restaurant (meaning all dishes are vegan, but can be made vegetarian, or even with meat) with quite reasonable prices, but with that tax and service. Juices are great, though I would suggest skipping dessert in favour of other places. We visited twice and both were equally delicious!
Wulan vegetarian warung – unbelievable food at a reasonable price, includes tax. Amazing nasi campur with mock meat and squash, among other tasty things.
Melting wok – bomb coconut curry with noodles and tofu. Slightly pricy, but worth the cost! Make a reservation – I don’t think it’s possible to just show up without waiting.
Cat cafe – I only had a bintang here, but they did have vegan options – it was just pricy. I was there for the cats. Even if you just get a drink (buying something is mandatory), it’s totally worth visiting.
Vegetarian places with vegan options
(In case you’re wondering, I consider myself a vegan, but every once in a while, I will have cheese, my only variance.)
Warung little India – best Indian food hands down. Ever. Very cheap as far as Indian food goes, though expensive as far as Bali goes. A must try even if you only sort of like Indian food. The only non-vegan food I had was saag paneer, which is small cubes of cheese in a spinach sauce. Also comes with yogurt, which you could also skip, as I did.
Taco casa – the wet burrito was the best burrito EVER. YES, EVER! Again, the tax and service were a fun surprise, but totally worth it! 8 layers of heaven! This could be made vegan if you remove the sour cream and cheese (I kept the cheese.) One of the most expensive things I ordered, but so so worth it.
Buonasera Italian – the best, most authentic pizza of all times! Expensive, plus tax and service, still worth trying. They have vegan options as well.
And once again, veganism is possible while travelling!