For a long time, travelling as a vegan or vegetarian has proven difficult for many people, from the lack of meat-free options in certain countries, to a language barrier hindering the understanding of various dietary needs. Nowadays, however, tells us a different story. What caused this change to the tourist industry? Well, a number of things honestly, but two fundamental causes are money and convenience.
Travel, affordable travel, has never been easier. In the last decade or so, there’s been a gradual influx of travel blogs featuring travel hacks and social media pages devoted to making travel a means of living. And with the rise in travel trends comes the rise in food trends. Travel and good food go hand-in-hand, after all. What these trends give us is a wealth of information. People are now actively searching for countries, cities, accommodations, and restaurants which suit their diet when they travel and then writing about them. Because at the end of the day, nobody wants to spend hours searching for places to dine when we could be using that time to eat instead!
People with plant-based diets are able to selectively plan their trip according to their diet, if they so choose. And the tourist industry is listening. Everywhere, vegan and vegetarian-friendly places are opening up and being recommended by bloggers around the world.
Vegan in Ubud
And let me tell you, Bali’s vegan and vegetarian scene is serious business.
Before Bali, I never considered travelling mainly for food. Food was certainly a factor in my decision-making, but it was by no means at the forefront of my mind. Now it’s turning into quite the obsession!
Ubud, Bali is a wonderfully vibrant and eclectic town that’s quickly become known for its outstanding quality of meat-free food. Irrespective of markets, the cafes and restaurants all around central Ubud are enough to make your mouth water. Hard to believe, right? Well, rather than hearing about the wonderful delicacies of Bali a thousand times over, let me prove it to you the way foodies know best, through a collection of delicious visuals.
1. WAMM, Ubud
WAMM truly puts the ‘W’ in winning! Whenever I speak to people about meat-free food, I always explain that to compensate for the lack of meat, in terms of both the physical sense of flavor and texture and also the stigma that meat-free food carries, vegan and vegetarian food has to simply BE more. To be on the same level as meat dishes in terms of popularity, meat-free dishes have to do more from the offset. For me, meat-free food is the most flavoursome, hands down. And WAMM definitely ticks all of the taste bud boxes.
Towers of mushroom, sweet potato, kale, and aubergine are just the beginning of their expansive menu.
It was here that I tried my first turmeric and cardamom latte! The golden yellow hue and moreish taste went perfectly with my meal.
I thought it’d be impossible to beat the grand tower of vegetables, yet when I returned the next day, I was blown away by my lunch of vegan hash browns, avocado, tomatoes, and sauerkraut, which was served with a lovely tart concoction of cleansing juice.
2. Earth Café + Market, Bali
Bali’s vegan game face is ON with the ECAM food chain! From organic wraps, preservative-free burgers, and raw non-GMO fruit bowls, this place is pulling no punches. It’s a comforting feeling when browsing a menu and being overwhelmed rather than underwhelmed at the range of food options. ECAM also stocks fresh organic produce for any keen cooks and bakers.
Their seitan and vegetable wraps are served with delicious sweet potato fries and tomato dip, which both fills you, while leaving you wanting another plate!
Any falafel lovers out there? Get your teeth stuck into ECAM’s falafel pita served with sweet potato fries, dip, and salad. The tart, tangy tomato dip really brings this dish to life!
And if you’re feeling run down and listless, ECAM serves unique cleansing juices and smoothies to give you a nutritional health boost. If you’re more of a tea or coffee person, don’t worry; ECAM has a selection of drinks to choose from, all served with vegan milk. My favourite has to be their chai latte with coconut milk. The only downside to ordering it is that I always want dessert to eat alongside it!
3. The Seeds of Life, Ubud
I stayed literally 5-minutes away from this place and it became my go-to restaurant for vegan goodies. I first visited here when I was feeling unwell a few days after arriving in Bali. The vegan pad-Thai and herbal cocktail was exactly what I needed to give my immune system a pick-me-up and flush out the sickness.
What I loved about this place was the bohemian-esque casual atmosphere inside. Before entering, customers had to remove their shoes. On the ground floor, there are wide, raised, wooden platforms with cushions and enough room to sit cross-legged.
Upstairs, there are mats and cushions on the floor with small, low tables. Walking around barefoot and sitting on the cushioned mats left me feeling incredibly relaxed. The Seeds of Life is the perfect place to go for a lunch date!
4. Celts and Spells, Ubud
Sometimes, you just crave something sweet for brunch. The child in you is crying out for dessert at 10AM and the adult you begrudgingly-not-begrudgingly nods, choosing to forego the typical brunch for dessert brunch – bressert!
If you’re in Ubud looking for bressert, I recommend visiting Celts and Spells creperie. This place sells the most amazing crepes in all kinds of varieties! You could have a different crepe for every day of the week. I had the mixed fruit crepe with coconut whipped cream and caramel sauce. Heaven on a plate! The crepe was satisfyingly thin and light, not at all heavy on the stomach. The small pieces of fruit scattered on the plate looked like flower petals – all in all, a wonderful decision on my part!
What first drew me to the creperie was its entirely open exterior. There are no walls, doors, or windows at the front of the restaurant on the ground floor. It really gives a new meaning to open-floor plan! So, if you’re on the ground floor, you get an excellent up-close view of the street as you feel like you are, quite literally, in the street! This place is quite small though, with just a few tables on the ground floor and some extra seating upstairs, so if you want the best seats with the clearest views, you had best get there early!
If you have a sweet tooth, are in full support of bressert, and like to people watch, Celts and Spells is for you!
5. Tukies Coconut Shop, Ubud
One thing you won’t struggle to find in Bali is vegan ice cream. Every ice cream shop has multiple vegan options on offer, and the most popular is coconut ice cream. Market stalls also usually serve vegan ice cream too!
The crème de la crème of coconut ice cream has to be Tukies Coconut Shop in Ubud. Their speciality is practically broadcast in their name and it certainly owns the name! It’s phenomenal! Coconut on coconut on coconut on coconut. Coconutception! I could go on…
What makes this ice cream so perfect is its combination of multiple levels of coconut. First, the coconut milk to make the ice cream, which is then topped with coconut flesh and toasted coconut flakes, and finally sprinkled with coconut sugar. All in all, a coconut masterpiece. Tukies has other food available but the coconut ice cream is definitely their pièce de résistance!
Ready to visit Bali yet? I hope so. Bali’s vegan scene is no joke and is growing steadily all the time. I think I’ve just about sent myself into a food coma with all of these pictures alone!
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Just a Brit who left home to teach in Asia in 2016. When she's not teaching or travelling, she's researching places to visit next and must-try local food.