Without a doubt the most vegan friendly city in Indonesia is Bali. Bali will be your second home, with vegan restaurants galore and a general familiarity with veganism too, including raw food. However if you are traveling through the rest of Indonesia or living 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 being staples. Large variety of local dishes are solely made from vegetables, making the menus full of options for any vegan, especially so if you know how to veganize certain local delicacies (see LOCAL FOOD page). 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” meals vegetarian in the minds of many people and 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 no dairy products such as cheese. So, this is where your challenge is: explaining that “just a little” is too much. Try using the words in local language (see VEGAN WORDS page). Another tip is mentioning “it is Haram” (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. Restaurant staff will most likely be 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.
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