Indonesia Vegan Food: Best 3 Easy and Delicious Dishes You Need to Know

Indonesia Vegan Food: Best 3 Easy and Delicious Dishes You Need to Know

Is it easy to eat vegan food in Indonesia?

Despite the majority of dishes having chicken, the answer is actually yes. Finding plant-based dishes or having fun customizing some is really easy and stimulating.


Indonesia vegan food: A 5-senses experience

I had never tasted Indonesian cuisine before.

It took my body (and mind) a while to switch from Australian flavors to the spicy and often sweet Indonesian ones, but I immediately fell in love with the variety of vegetables and colors present in each dish.

Indonesian street food offers vegetables and lots of bananas, corn and other vegetables cooked in the most disparate ways. The restaurants serve traditional local dishes, easily adaptable if not already vegan and really cheap.

In Nusa Penida we tried some very unusual but delicious fried bananas, chocolate and potatoes for less than 1€ all!

If you want to learn everything you need about Nusa Penida, here you can find the ultimate full guide.

Despite my unconditional love for pizza and pasta with pesto (#italianshabits), I tried to avoid foreign dishes as much as possible and I dedicated myself to tasting everything that inspired me from the local menu.

Indonesian cuisine is, in fact, a real full sensory journey: bright and lively colors, intense aromas, textures that complement each other, opposite, delicate, spicy tastes, all framed by the sound of the waves in the distance and the song of the geckos on the trees .


When I first ordered this dish, I wasn’t expecting much. I was thinking of one usual plain salad that is around. I could never imagine that sensorial triumph of tastes, scents and colors that the waiter kindly left on the table, accompanied by that traditional smile that I was already used to.

Indonesian cuisine, as well as Asian one in general, makes abundant use of spices and plants for its recipes.

Gado Gado is a vegetarian dish that easily turns vegan by omitting eggs, which are sometimes present.

It is also one of the dishes I ate the most during my time in Indonesia, without forgetting to specify “no spicy”. Unless you love crazy spicy food, in fact, I recommend you not to forget this sentence when ordering food or eating at a restaurant,to save your tongue and ears from burning.

Although defined as a side dish, Gado Gado is a rich, nutritious and complete recipe, so that with one Gado Gado I was feeling full for half a day.

It is usually made of a protein part of tofu, tempeh and bean sprouts, boiled vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, green beans and cabbage, and an exquisite peanut sauce which gives a significant energy boost to the dish.


It is a classic fruit salad prepared with delicious and colorful local exotic fruits.

Simple as it is, it is a dish that I loved and I highly recommend as it is very fresh, especially in the morning. It is also a great way to experience new, authentic and traditional tastes.

Indonesia Vegan Food: Best 3 Easy and Delicious Dishes You Need to Know
My morning fruit salad. Delicious!

The most common fruits are melon, watermelon, pineapple, banana and dragon fruit.

If you want to try something different or make it homemade, I suggest you have a walk around looking for durian, or jackfruit and jambu instead. These three fruits are less common but widespread in Indonesia and Nusa Penida.

One of the fruits that is found most in Indonesian cuisine is the banana. Grown locally, it is used in pancakes, pancakes, side dishes and main dishes.


Nasi” in the local language means “rice” and is used for all those rice-based dishes: you’ll see a lot of them!

Just as many are the noodle dishes that get the name of “mie” something instead.

Rice and noodle foods, with the exception of Nasi Kuning which is a kind of coconut milk and turmeric risotto (very tasty!), often have meat and fish. However, vegetarians can be requested without any problems.

This category also includes the different types of curry, not strictly Indonesian and closer to Thai cuisine, but equally widespread in the area.

I perfectly remember that evening when I ordered a non-spicy veggie curry. It was a beautiful cool evening full of stars, with the typical tropical breeze to cool off the heat of the day. We were seated at a table facing the ocean, enjoying the sound of the waves and the relaxing background music. My curry looked divine and I was very hungry: after eating 3 or 4 mouthfuls, however, I realized that my tongue was literally burning.

It was clear that we have a different idea of  “not spicy” food!

In the end I had the dish corrected, diluted with a mountain of coconut milk to be able to eat it without wasting food. Since that evening I have decided that I would never order curry again on the island.



Ready for this experience?