Without a doubt the most vegan friendly place in Indonesia is Bali. Bali will be your second home, with vegan restaurants galore, a general familiarity with veganism too, including raw food. However if you are traveling through the rest of Indonesia or staying in a city, you will need a bit more preparation.
You will usually find something to eat in most restaurants, with tofu, tempeh and sweet potatoes as staples. A large variety of local dishes are solely made from vegetables, making the menus full of options for vegans, especially so if you know how to veganize certain local delicacies. To help you do so, consult our Local Food page. There you will find out what the local vegan by default dishes are and how to veganize others. Indonesia is the place where to try out street food (always make sure it comes boiling hot out of the pan) since a good amount of it is vegan.
Like other places in Asia, “vegan” means vegetarian in the minds of many people. Furthermore, vegetarian may mean “just with a tiny bit of meat for taste”. Fish sauce is used widely as a condiment. “No milk” does not mean that no dairy products are used. So, this is your challenge: explaining that “just a little” is too much. Try using the local language by printing or screen-shooting our Vegan Vocabulary page. Another tip is to say that the food that is not vegan is “Haram” for you (which means not Hallal for Muslim people). As you mention the list of non-vegan stuff you don’t want to appear in your food, add “this is not Haram for me”. Restaurant staff will be likely able to relate to that concept easily.
City markets are where you will want to spend most of your time – not only because of the produce and fruits but also for the food stands, where the person cooks in front of you. This is where you can best check
what is happening as they prepare the food, what you want them to add or not. The sellers might not speak English, so pointing and gesticulating should do the trick.
If you wish to know which stores sell vegan products and what are the local vegan snacks
Still have questions? Ask them on our Indonesia Forum tab to get all the answers.
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