If you’re a vegan or vegetarian the question, ‘But what am I going to eat?’ is often one of the first you’ll ask yourself when you decide to go travelling. The good news is, if you’ve booked onto our epic Indonesia Adventure Tour, you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact the island nation was recently ranked as one of the best destinations for followers of a plant-based diet. The Indonesian archipelago, which spans across a staggering 17,000 islands and islets has an incredibly varied culinary tradition, which includes a whole host of delicious vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes. Here’s a run down of some of our favourite foods to look out for while you’re on the trip.
Plant-based aficionados will probably already be familiar with this soy-based Indonesian meat alternative but if not, think tofu’s nuttier, more rustic cousin. It is often served simply fried (tempe goreng) or fried with chilli paste (tempe sambal) – a great option for heat seekers.
One of Indonesia’s best known dishes, nasi goreng is basically egg-fried rice with optional additions of vegetables, meat or fish. Request ‘tanpa daging dan tanpa ikan’ (without meat or fish) for a satisfying vegetarian-friendly meal option.
This unusual but surprisingly delicious fruit and vegetable salad is a staple of Indonesian cuisine and varies in recipe from region to region. Typical ingredients include water apple, pineapple, mango, cucumber and sweet potato, which are served together in a moreish sweet and savoury sauce. Make sure that terasi (shrimp paste) isn’t included in the sauce and you’ll be good to go.
Similar to an Indian thali, nasi padang is essentially a plate of rice served alongside a variety of side dishes. Many padang restaurants will offer a vegetarian or vegan option and if not, it should be quite easy to avoid the dishes containing animal products. Some veggie-friendly examples of padang dishes include fried aubergine with chilli, cassava leaves cooked in coconut milk and curried jackfruit.
This flavoursome salad is another of Indonesia’s better known-dishes and for good reason. Lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, hard boiled eggs and bean sprouts are served with a deliciously rich satay sauce. Forgo the egg and this dish is a great vegan-friendly option.
A rich and satisfying coconut milk based soup, with common ingredients including aubergine, jackfruit, long beans, tofu and tempeh. It’s a good idea to check that meat stock hasn’t been used to enrich the broth before ordering, though on most occasions sayur lodeh is vegan.