Discovering Vegetarian Balinese Food

In this article we will explore some of the vegetarian Balinese food options, and there are plenty of options!

Bali, the Island of the Gods, is a paradise for food lovers. Known for its unique and flavourful cuisine, the island is also a haven for vegetarian fare.

With an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and a rich tradition of plant-based meals, Bali offers a cornucopia of vegetarian dishes that are both healthy and delicious.


Balinese Vegetarian Food

In Bali, the land of lush green rice terraces and vibrant markets brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetarian cuisine isn’t just an afterthought, but a culinary art steeped in centuries-old traditions.

Here, meals become a colorful palette of nutrient-packed ingredients, deftly flavored with a medley of aromatic herbs and spices.

Tempeh, tofu, and a variety of seasonal vegetables form the heart of many dishes, accompanied by the ubiquitous nasi (rice).

Even the fiery sambal, an Indonesian staple, comes in delightful vegetarian versions.

So, whether you’re a lifelong vegetarian, a flexitarian, or simply someone keen to explore the lighter side of Balinese cuisine, there’s a world of flavors waiting for you.

The Role of Vegetables in Balinese Cuisine

In Balinese cuisine, vegetables play a crucial role. Dishes are often vibrant and colorful, showcasing the island’s bountiful produce. Common ingredients include long beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, jackfruit, and a variety of local greens.

These are often mixed with rich spices and herbs, creating dishes that are as flavorful as they are nutritious.

Popular Vegetarian Balinese Food and Dishes

Balinese vegetarian cuisine offers a wide range of dishes that cater to different tastes. Let’s explore some of the must-try vegetarian dishes:

Gado-Gado (Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce)

Gado-Gado is a hearty vegetable salad served with a delicious peanut sauce. The dish combines blanched and fresh vegetables, tofu, and tempeh, offering a satisfying blend of textures and flavors.

Sayur Urab (Mixed Vegetable Salad)

Sayur Urab is a traditional Balinese salad made from mixed vegetables, grated coconut, and a variety of herbs and spices. It’s a refreshing dish that beautifully balances sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors.

Nasi Goreng (Vegetable Fried Rice)

Vegetable Nasi Goreng is a delightful twist on the classic Indonesian fried rice. It’s a flavorful and satisfying dish that’s perfect for any meal of the day.

Tempeh and Tofu Dishes

Tempeh and tofu are staples in Balinese vegetarian cuisine. They’re often marinated in a mix of spices and herbs, then fried, grilled, or added to soups and salads.

Bubur Sumsum (Balinese Rice Pudding)

Bubur Sumsum is a comforting dessert made from rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar. It’s a simple yet delicious treat that’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

Bubur Injin (Black Rice Pudding)

Another popular dessert, Bubur Injin is made from black glutinous rice, coconut milk, and palm sugar. It’s a rich and creamy dessert that’s not to be missed.

Pisang Goreng (Fried Banana)

Lastly, Pisang Goreng is a popular street food snack. These sweet, crispy bananas are a perfect snack for any time of the day.

Vegetarian-friendly Balinese Snacks

In addition to these dishes, Bali offers a variety of vegetarian-friendly snacks. From Klepon (sweet rice balls) to Dadar Gulung (coconut pancakes), these snacks are perfect for a quick bite or to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Vegetarian Street Food in Bali

Bali’s street food scene is a vegetarian’s delight. Many street food stalls and markets offer a variety of vegetarian options, from Nasi Campur (mixed rice) to Soto Ayam (a vegetarian version of chicken soup), there’s something for everyone.

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Bali

Over the years, Bali has seen a rise in vegetarian and vegan restaurants. From cozy cafes to upscale dining establishments, these restaurants offer an extensive menu of vegetarian dishes that showcase the island’s fresh produce and culinary creativity.

Balinese Cooking Classes for Vegetarians

For those interested in learning more about Balinese vegetarian cuisine, there are several cooking classes available. These classes offer a hands-on experience, teaching you how to prepare traditional vegetarian dishes and use local ingredients. They’re a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and take home some Balinese cooking skills.


Vegetarian or not, exploring the vegetarian side of Balinese cuisine is a journey worth taking. It’s a celebration of fresh, vibrant ingredients brought together with a blend of spices that create a unique, flavorful experience.

From the hearty Gado-Gado to the sweet Bubur Injin, the diverse range of dishes ensures there’s something for every palate.

So on your next visit to Bali, venture beyond the usual fare and delve into the island’s vegetarian food scene. It’s a gastronomic adventure that promises not only to satisfy your taste buds but also offers a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of this beautiful island.

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Read more about Cooking, Fruits, Vegetables

About the Author

Luca and Melisa, a couple from Australia with a love for Bali and Cooking.

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