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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats


The whole time we were in Indonesia, we had one thing in mind - finding the perfect vegan Nasi Goreng. When Mike was in Indonesia before, this had been his absolute favourite meal; ever since we first met, he had been telling me about this dish, and how amazing it could be. We headed to Canggu, an incredible town on the Balinese coast. Like Ubud, Canggu is a hotspot for tourists looking for relaxation and wellness, and digital nomads searching out their happy place. Full of incredible local and international restaurants, boutique stores, and perfect places to surf and practice yoga, Canggu is also an incredible place for vegans. Plant-based travellers will be absolutely overwhelmed by the options here - which is why we thought it would be the perfect place to find our dream vegan Nasi Goreng!

But wait, what exactly is Nasi Goreng?

One of Indonesia's official national dishes, Nasi Goreng is, essentially, Indonesian fried rice. Usually packed with vegetables and/or meat, Nasi Goreng is actually traditionally served as a breakfast dish, with a fried egg on top. In Indonesian homes, this dish is often made from rice leftover from the day before, fried up with a range of spices and condiments including garlic, chilli, shallot, ketjap manis, soy sauce, fish sauce, pepper, and sugar. The vegetables and meats included in the dish can vary - especially since they would often be leftovers too! On the side of the Nasi Goreng, you'll usually find crackers, cucumber, and tomato, and maybe even some pickles and sambal.

This is such a versatile dish, and the beauty of finding it at a food stall or restaurant in Indonesia is that it is always made from scratch, so you can simply ask for the ingredients you don't want to be left out. For me as a vegan, I would always ask for no meat, no fish sauce or shrimp paste, no egg, and no prawn crackers. Vegetarians may wish to leave the egg in! However, this is definitely not the same as finding a Nasi Goreng that is vegan by design - even though it will probably still taste pretty good, the flavours haven't been adapted and those ingredients haven't been replaced. In particular, I wanted to try a Nasi Goreng that was plant-based, but as authentic as possible - and this meant finding one with a vegan fried egg and crackers!

Where did we try a vegan Nasi Goreng in Canggu?

We headed over to The Sloth - a really cool and airy cafe full of houseplants and chill pastel decorations. It was a little walk away from the tourist centre of town, but wow, when we stepped into the cafe it was like stepping into plant-based paradise! Their menu is fully vegan and probably the most comprehensive we have seen in Indonesia! They also have accommodation at The Sloth - we wished we had stayed here, so that we could eat their incredible food every day... the breakfasts in particular looked delicious!

We were drawn in, of course, by the presence of Nasi Goreng on their menu, and particularly the fact that it came with their very own vegan fried egg! Honestly, I wanted to try so many things on their menu - including the very tempting looking doughnuts in the cabinet - but we were here for one very specific reason. Finally, we would get our authentic, vegan Nasi Goreng!

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

Disaster almost struck when we arrived at The Sloth: when we ordered our Nasi Gorengs, it turned out that they had run out of white rice! Luckily, they presented us with an alternative: they could make us two bowls of Nasi Goreng, but it would be made with red rice instead. Determined to try their take on this iconic dish, we agreed - and quickly googled red rice, something that we don't really see in the UK. It turns out that is has some great health benefits!

So we knew that our Nasi Goreng would be slightly less traditional, owing to the fancier rice choice, which would also make the dish a little more glutinous. Nasi Goreng is traditionally quite a dry dish, and I'm sure that with the usual rice this would be the case here at The Sloth too. Besides the slightly different colouring of the rice, this Nasi Goreng really did look the part: everything was there, including the salad (which, as is often the case in Bali, contained pineapple!), the plant-based prawn crackers - and oh yes, that vegan egg! I cannot explain how excited I was to try it!

This plant-based fried egg really was something else. It was exceptional! From the crisp outer, to the stretchier inner layers, I could not believe how accurate the taste and texture were. It replicated the yolk more so than the white of an egg, with a very yolky smoothness to it. The range of flavours and textures in this dish made sure that every mouthful was an adventure - there were so many different things to try and enjoy! Though we would definitely have preferred white rice, this Nasi Goreng still tasted great, the rice packed with flavour, tasty vegetables, and some tender and delicious soy 'meat'. And the presence of those crackers and that 'egg' absolutely blew us away! How do they make such awesome replicas? It was by far the most exciting vegan Nasi Goreng we ate during our time in Indonesia!

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

This Nasi Goreng was, as I say, really impressive and tasty - and the portion was really generous too. We were very full by the end of this (though this was, I'm sure, partly owing to the density of red rice). The Sloth's Nasi Goreng costs Rp50,000 per bowl (approx. £2.69, €3.10, or $3.37)? Though you can get a standard Nasi Goreng cheaper than this from street stalls of course, we were really impressed by this price for a specialist vegan Nasi Goreng, with all the traditional elements made vegan. To be able to enjoy this dish just as it is meant to be as a vegan was a real pleasure; so we would definitely recommend heading over to The Sloth while you're in Canggu!

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


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Where should I stay?

You will be absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Canggu. This growing tourist centre has hotels, guesthouses, and - because of the massive digital nomad culture here - so many hostels of all varieties! If you want a social, party experience, Lay Day Surf Hostel is the most popular and highly rated hostel in Canggu. For a more relaxing boutique hostel experience, Vasudha Hostel has a combination of private rooms with pool access, and dorm rooms where each bed comes with blackout curtains!

Tours & Experiences

Bali has several incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as a load of beautiful and very photo-worthy places that you must visit! This North and West Bali tour provides comfortable transport between many of these sites, including Tanah Lot (the incredible sea temple) and the beloved Ulun Danu Temple. 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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