Thursday, 1 October 2020

Happy World Vegetarian Day: Our picks for the best vegan food in Ubud, Bali

The hilly town of Ubud, often referred to as the spiritual heart and cultural capital of Bali, is known for its penchant for a more conscious, eco-friendly and healing way of living. It’s no wonder then that the health food trend has gain momentum in this area, with many restaurants adopting a healthful, organic and wholefood-driven approach to its cuisine. The area is awash with vegan establishments, ranging from casual and quirky to gourmet fine-dining. Here are a few of our favourite vegan spots in Ubud.

Moksa Ubud tempe ribs
Moksa’s tempe ribs with mashed sweet potatoes, mixed greens and grilled tomato

1. Moksa

Moksa is a multi-concept space that houses a culinary academy, yoga and martial arts dojo as well as a plant-based restaurant that harvests ingredients from the surrounding permaculture gardens. Expect colourful, fresh and seasonal dishes that have a strong local flavour. All-day breakfast is served here, but its mains are the highlight.

The Nasi Goreng Subak is a sumptuous Indonesian curried fried rice served on a plant-based omelette, while the chef’s bowl comes with green curry rice, eggplant, kimchi, braised greens, tempeh “bacon”, tofu “char siu” and sautéed mixed mushrooms. If you’re feeling ravenous, try the raw Caprese Ravioli that comprises basil pesto, cashew nut cheese, sun-dried tomatoes filled in pumpkin dough, dressed with tomato coulis, coconut sour cream and nut Parmesan cheese.

2. Kafe Ubud

Situated along one of Ubud’s main streets, Jalan Hanoman, Kafe Ubud is a charming, laidback spot known for its warm atmosphere and healthy meals that don’t compromise on taste. Dishes are made with 100% natural, organic and local ingredients and the café serves a range of healthy breakfasts options (from tofu salad to buckwheat pancakes), smoothie bowls, soups, noodles and salads.

The Tempe Cashew Nut Curry is studded with roast cashews, steamed veggies and chunks of tasty tempeh and served with a pile of organic red rice to soak up the fragrant curry sauce. Kafe Super Salad is a hearty pile of fresh kale, rucola, cherry tomatoes, roasted veggies, quinoa and avocado with a miso ginger dressing (though you can opt for the tahini dressing as a replacement).

Kore Culture Lab
Kore Culture Lab’s range of kombuchas

3. Kore Culture Lab

With their soft, plush cushion seats and laidback atmosphere, it’s easy to while away an entire day at this café located within tattoo studio-cafe-yoga space Karma House. Kore Culture Lab produces low-calorie beverages made from filtered rainwater and local organic ingredients. Try their range of kombucha, such as the Rise and Shine (organic green tea, moringa leaves, lemongrass, cucumber, pink guava, papaya and guava leaves) and the Lemon Licoricious (fennel, lemon basil, licorice, mace, star anise).

All dishes are made with ingredients that are sourced locally, ethically and sustainably, including vegetables from its own gardens. Tuck into their substantial salads or the indulgent toast slathered in homemade coconut cacao yoghurt.

4. The Seeds of Life

This rustic-chic café has gained a reputation among foodies for serving some of the tastiest raw vegan food in the country. Only fresh ingredients – grown on the side of an active volcano in Ubud and picked and delivered every morning to the café – are used. Dishes are cooked below 48°C to ensure active enzymes are not killed off by excess heat.

Breakfast options include a classic breakfast of “scrambled eggs” made from corn, marinated wilted spinach stuffed in mushrooms and eggplant “bacon” served with vegan bread, and dehydrated banana and walnut pancakes layered with mix berry compote and fresh banana, raw chocolate sauce, and topped with raw coconut ice-cream. Prefer something more substantial? Try the flavour-packed Mexican Lasagne that comes with a beetroot base, and layers of zucchini, pineapple or mango salsa (whichever is in season), cashew sour cream and slices of avocado.

5. Sayuri Healing Food

Housed within a large, airy space, this boho café is another great option for raw vegan food. The food and drinks served are 100% plant-based vegan, mostly raw and gluten-free, with ingredients ethically and organically sourced whenever possible. If you’re there for lunch, try the “seafood” pasta of zucchini noodle, marinated oyster mushrooms, smoked papaya “salmon”, coconut calamari in cashew Alfredo sauce. The Nigiri Sushi is an intriguing concoction of brown rice topped with grilled eggplant, smoked papaya, cashew “cream cheese” and avocado or teriyaki tempeh, marinated mushrooms and kimchi.

Both Seeds of Life and Sayuri Healing Food run raw food chef training sessions, so if you’re interested in bringing their techniques and philosophies home, consider signing up for their intensive certification courses with highly experienced raw food chefs. You’d find out all about dehydration and fermentation techniques, the various superfoods and their application, dairy-free alternatives and more. For something simpler, you can take up shorter courses and learn to make your own vegan cheese and veggie sushi.

Additional reporting by Joy Fang

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

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SEE ALSO: 3 new options for vegetarians dining out in Asia

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