Bali is one of the most vegan-friendly places on the planet. Eating vegan, organic and gluten-free is the norm rather than the exception, especially in beautiful Ubud, which translated from Balinese means medicine.
I arrived in Bali late at night after taking a flight from Singapore and as usual I had nowhere booked to stay. I liked the not knowing of where I was going and the freedom to change my plans at the last minute. Whilst this isn’t always a good idea I had become used to this style of travel and gained the confidence to travel this way having been backpacking for 7 months by this point.
I decided on the plane I would make my way to Ubud as my first stop in Bali. Everything I had read about Ubud was saying ‘yes’ to me but little did I realise how much I was going to love it there. I thought I would stay for a week and then travel on to the neighbouring islands…After flight changes and visa extensions it was a few months later when I finally said goodbye to Ubud and all the lovely people I met during my time living in this little mecca of wellbeing and nutrition.
I left Ubud nourished on every level. But it was the food that opened up my horizons to the abundance of choice there is on a fully plant-based diet. The cafes and restaurants in Ubud offer local vegan Indonesian dishes such as Gado Gado and Nasi Campur (a Balinese style thali) in small family run cafes known as Warungs, as well as dishes with more of an international influence. These are a few of my favourite places I kept returning to for my daily dose of high-vibe nutrition and if you’re visiting Ubud I definitely recommend checking them out, vegan or not.
Tucked up a little side street in Ubud, Bali Buda offers organic, locally sourced and freshly prepared meals. They have an emphasis on slow food and recycling, supporting the Recycling Eco Bali project and the Slow Food International movement. There’s also a shop just around the corner for those wanting to stock up on natural, organic food, beauty and medicinal products. The slow food, vegan bean burger with almond flour bun definitely tops any fast food, processed burgers for health, taste and sustainability.
The Yoga Barn
I often came to the Garden Kafe in The Yoga Barn between classes as I decided to sign up for the monthly all-inclusive pass. I found myself going along to all sorts of restorative and healing classes to include vinyasa flow yoga, crystal bowl meditation, Ananda Mandala meditation and ecstatic dance which can only be described as a tribal meditative rave in an open wooden barn in the jungle…nothing has quite beaten that on a Friday night since.
The menu offers locally grown, plant based options as well as a fully ayurvedic menu tailored to balance the three doshas; vata, pitta and kapha.
Located just across the road from my little Balinese home, Atman (meaning spirit, the real self beyond ego) was one of my favourite spots to sit and watch the world go by. Though not an entirely vegan menu, there were so many options for the vegan and gluten free diners. The grain free porridge and choc-avo smoothies were a regular breakfast staple.
The Seeds of Life
Everything on the menu is raw, vegan and gluten free. If you thought, as I did, that not cooking your food meant just chowing down on bland chopped vegetables, feast your eyes on these dishes. They also do the most amazing raw chocolate tart.
It was only by chance I discovered Alchemy as it’s not as centrally located as the other places. I stumbled upon it on one of my walks exploring the small villages and surrounding rice fields. A breakfast bar is available until 11am, and then the salad bar starts. For each you choose a base, your toppings and dressing for a set price then add extras if you want. There’s also a huge list of smoothies, juices and nice-creams to choose from as well as raw chocolates and desserts. Just like The Seeds of Life, all food served is vegan, gluten free and raw.
Have you been to any of these vegan friendly cafés in Ubud? What other places would you recommend for dining vegan in Bali?