Eat Kynd ✧ Ultimate Vegan Food Guide to Indonesia

vegan local Indonesian fare on Bali and beyond…

While Bali may be the new mecca of tastefully styled, Instagram-able meals in Indonesia…the remaining 17,507 islands…haven’t quite caught on.

So, if you find yourself exploring active volcanoes on Java or making the journey by boat to Komodo Island, look out for these local snacks and dishes that are plant-based deliciousness.

local fare

1. Tempeh
Your protein-packed new best friend.

While it’s sometimes a struggle to find enough protein as a plant-based traveler, this country makes it easy.

Tempeh, which originates from Indonesia, is fermented soybeans bound into cake form with over 30 grams of protein per cup!!

Yes, that amount of protein in one serving seriously excites me, not to mention that the fermentation means it’s packed with probiotics. What more could you ask for!?

Most warungs (local restaurants) have this staple in the kitchen, so always ask if they can sub meat for tempeh.

2. Gado Gado
A peanuty-sauced salad.

Both fun to say and to eat, Gado Gado is a traditional Indonesian dish made up of tempeh, tofu, steamed vegetables, and bean sprouts with a creamy peanut sauce to top it all off…just ask them to hold the egg.

I love Gado Gado so much that I’ve eaten it hundreds of times and yet somehow only have one dark and blurry photo that does this dish absolutely no justice…and that’s how you know it’s really good. No-time-for- a-photo good.

original photo from
3. Nasi Goreng & Mie Goreng
Go-to fried rice and noodles.
original photo (left) by suhseal (right) by Spice Island Vegan

On the street late-night searching for food? Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mie Goreng (fried noodles) are easy to find. Just skip the egg!

4. Lumpiah
No beach sunset is complete without it.

When there’s a line of locals cueing on the beach, I’m usually the first foreigner to check out the scene, which is how I discovered my all-time favorite snack.

It’s almost as if gado gado was stuffed into a spring roll and deep fried, chopped up with tofu and doused in peanut and sweet soy sauce…so yeah, it’s line-worthy.

*Pro tip: I once paid 30,000 rupiah for one lumpiah…which led to local laughter. When buying street food, scope out how much $$ locals are handing over for theirs and follow suit. Usually, the local street food price is around 10,000 rupiah and no more than 25,000 ($1 is currently equal to 14,681 Rupiah).

6. Tipat Tahu
Already vegan street snack!

While living in Bali in a villa located in a local community, I quickly picked up on the fact that hearing a children’s bike horn was much more than that.

It created a sense of urgency to run outside and see what street vendor was driving by with their specialty.

While I was usually saddened to find a meat ball soup, I was excited when my favorite Tipat Tahu man came by (above). 

Fried tofu deliciousness on a bed of steamed rice, topped with peanut sauce, scallions, and bean sprouts quickly became my favorite afternoon snack. 

6. Cap Cay
Stir-fried, saucy veggies.

Enough said. Ask for a side of Tempeh or Tahu for extra protein and you’ve got a meal on any island in Indo.

7. Fresh Fruits & Veggies
original photo by heremagazine

Every island in Indonesia has an abundance of tropical fruits and veggies everywhere. You can literally pull over on the side of the road at a fruit stand pretty much every mile. 

*Pro-Tip – opt for whole fruits, rather than pre-cut for freshness and sanitation…and eat at least 12 super-food dragon fruits for me when you do.

local fare (1)
Here’s some essential vegan words to know (or at least right down to reference) in Bahasa, the native language of Indonesia

Vegan = Vegan   

No Milk = Tidak Susu 

Tempeh =Tempeh

Vegetarian = Vegetarian 

No Cheese = Tidak Keju

Tofu = Tahu

  No egg = Tidak Telur     

No Meat = Tidak Daging

Vegetables = Sayuran

& after you’re finished confusing your patient waiter, don’t forget to say Terima Kasih (thank you).

And now I’m officially drooling and just opened a tab to check on cheap flights back to Bali…

Pin this post for when you make it to beautiful Indonesia!

If this article just made you as hungry as it did me, check out my easy vegan recipes below!

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