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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

COULD THIS BE THE BEST VEGAN GADO-GADO IN UBUD, BALI, INDONESIA?


Oh my goodness, I cannot explain how excited I was to visit Ubud! This arty town in central Bali was one of Mike's favourite places he'd visited on his last trip to Indonesia, and he had suitably hyped it up in the lead up to our trip! I'm pleased to say I was not disappointed! We loved exploring the town full of creativity, temples, and yoga studios - and wandering the rice paddies and jungle that lie on the outskirts of the town. Honestly, Ubud is such a friendly and welcoming place - it felt like a really relaxing paradise, and I didn't want to leave! It felt good for the soul to be here... especially since there are tasty vegan food choices wherever you look. But Ubud will always remain in my memory as the place that I tried one of my absolute favourite dishes of this trip: Gado-Gado!


But wait, what exactly is Gado-Gado?

This Indonesian salad dish is something that I expected to find pretty underwhelming. When we were researching Indonesian food, this just did not sound appealing to me - how very wrong I was! Traditionally, gado-gado (meaning 'mix-mix') comprises of a mix of fresh vegetables which, depending on the vegetable, can be served raw or slightly boiled. Boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, tofu, tempeh, and a hearty dollop of peanut sauce finish off this dish. While the majority of the ingredients in traditional gado-gado are suitable for vegans, obviously boiled eggs are not. It's always worth checking that sauces in Asia don't contain any kind of fish or shrimp paste too: shrimp paste is very common in the peanut sauce that is served atop the veg in gado-gado.


Since gado-gado is one of Indonesia's established national dishes, we decided it was an important thing for us to try while visiting the beautiful archipelago nation. Obviously, though, we wanted only to sample a fully plant-based version of the dish, something that we were delighted to discover in Ubud, Bali.


Where did we try vegan Gado-Gado in Ubud?

We took a short stroll out of the tourist centre of Ubud, and away from the busy roads and traffic we found the serene restaurant, Siboghana Waroeng. Just being in this tranquil space, a plant-based traditional Balinese restaurant run by a lovely Balinese family, felt like a meditative experience. It was so quiet, except for the chirping of the insects living in the luscious surrounding jungle, and the other customers were super chill. There was even a mandala painting space upstairs - you could totally spend a whole day here and it would feel like a luxury wellness experience.


When you arrive, there is a sign noting that on average it takes around 45 minutes for your food to be served here. This is because everything is completely homemade, fresh to order - these traditional recipes are delicious for many reasons, but one of these is because of all of the love and care that goes into them, and this understandably takes a little time! Our drinks, however, came really quickly - so we were able to enjoy them while we waited for our food. The service itself was really friendly, with the staff here super kind and welcoming - we felt at home right away.


So come on - tell us all about the Gado-Gado! How did it taste?

As I said, I hadn't been particularly excited about trying this dish - but that changed once it arrived at our table and I saw how beautifully presented it was. It was so aromatic as well - I could smell the fresh vegetables, and that slightly spicy and super peanutty sauce... my mouth started watering right away!


I was so surprised by this dish, which was an absolute joy to eat. Firstly the vegetables - with a mix of green veg, including some yummy surprises like green beans, and potatoes, this felt like a hearty dish already. It was almost like loads of the veg that go into a roast dinner had been gently boiled and lovingly presented on our plates. I was so surprised by how deliciously that peanut sauce complemented the flavour of the vegetables. It was slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly spicy, with that unmistakeable peanut flavour - it worked so well with the earthy green vegetables and the soft potatoes. But let's talk about the absolute highlight of this dish: the fried tofu and tempeh! These brought the dish together into magnificent harmony: adding a crisp and slightly tougher texture to the dish, the tofu and tempeh were super flavoursome too. I genuinely could have kept eating those, with that delicious peanut sauce, all day!


How much did this plant-based Gado-Gado cost - and was it worth it?

This was the Gado-Gado that kick-started my immense love for this dish! So I think it's fair to say that I would think any price was worth it for the tasty, fresh, and lovingly-prepared bowl of healthy joy. So can you believe that these hearty bowls of Gado-Gado at Siboghana Waroeng only cost Rp20,000 each (approx. £1.08, €1.25, or $1.33)? I cannot shout loudly enough about this place and the absolutely brilliant value for money their food is! I only wish that we had come across Siboghana Waroeng earlier in our time in Ubud so that we could have visited again and tried even more of the traditional Balinese delights on their menu!


Have you tried vegan Gado-Gado in Indonesia? Or elsewhere in the world! Where did you go and what did you think of them? Let us know in the comments below.



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You will never get sick of Bali's views

Where should I stay?

As an established tourist centre, Ubud has some of the best accommodation in Bali. Whether you're looking for a social hostel to meet new friends, a wellness retreat to relax and do some yoga, or a homestay where you can get an authentic Balinese experience, there is something for you. For a comfortable dorm experience, Sunshine Vintage House offers friendly service, tour bookings, free tea and coffee, and a vegan friendly breakfast upon request. For private accommodation, with a traditional Balinese and the convenience of an en-suite, check out Pondok Permata Homestay, whose friendly service regularly receives incredible reviews.


Tours & Experiences

Ubud has multiple UNESCO-recognised sites for a reason. There are so many unique things to see on this stunning Hindu island, from temples, to rainforests; from rice terraces, to pagodas. For a real once-in-a-lifetime adventure, why not get up early and try this Mount Batur sunrise hike, which includes a visit to Lake Batur's hot springs? Or, if that's not for you, check out some of the top-rated Viator tours below!


Please note that the tours displayed below are automatically selected for their popularity by Viator, not chosen or recommended by us. Please carefully consider the ethics of animal-based tourism activities before taking part!









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