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  • Writer's pictureAround the World in Vegan Eats

WE TRIED TRADITIONAL SATAY, MADE VEGAN, IN KUTA, BALI, INDONESIA!


Welcome to Bali! Our first stop on this paradise island is Kuta! This seaside town has a huge tourist scene, with busy streets, lots of shops, and some really great places to meet up with friends. It is conveniently close to the airport, and has sometimes been referred to as the liveliest city in Bali! This definitely matched our experiences in Kuta: it was a very different place to the yoga, meditation, and wellbeing focused towns that we went to later on in our journey through the island!


So if you are looking for a Bali break with some excellent nightlife, Kuta may be the place for you... and the good news? We have an excellent, authentic, Indonesian vegan restaurant to introduce you to, too! While we were in Kuta, we really wanted to try some traditional, Indonesian satay (or sate, as it is usually spelled here). And in this lovely local restaurant we found not one, but four different types of satay to choose from!!


But wait, what exactly is Satay?

While satay (sate) is thought to have originated on the island of Java, it has become so popular across Indonesia - so much so that it has become one of the archipelago nation's national dishes! The first known, written reference to sate (satay) is a mention of the dish in Bali in the early twentieth century. This dish has been a staple here for a very long time - and is very popular with tourists visiting the island too!


Satay (sate) actually refers to a particularly diverse dish: though in the West we associate satay with a peanut sauce, there is so much more to it than this! Different kinds of meat are arranged on a skewer - while these are often doused in that slightly spicy peanutty sauce that we are familiar with, there can be variations in this sauce, or marinade, too. The most common sate meat is chicken, which is prepared in cubes on the skewer; but so many other variants exist too, with goat, mutton, shrimp, and even crocodile, or snake sometimes used across Indonesia. As well as the peanut sauce, the sate can sometimes be marinated in katjap manis, soy sauce, or even a pineapple sauce.


Now obviously most of the satay options that you can find across Bali are entirely unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians, due to them consisting entirely of cubes of meat. But worry not! It takes a little more effort, since the restaurant is a little walk outside of the tourist hotspots of Kuta, but we found an incredible Indonesian vegan restaurant that serve the perfect, plant-based alternatives to traditional sate!


Where did we try vegan Satay in Kuta, Bali?

Located in South Kuta, De Ra Sa Vegan is around a thirty minute walk from Kuta Beach and the tourist hotspots. So this will likely be a bit of a walk from your accommodation, but we really enjoyed our stroll through Kuta, seeing some beautiful sights and getting a taste of everyday Balinese life on the way.


When we arrived at the restaurant, we found a quiet yet comfortable eatery with really friendly service. This place seems really popular with the locals - and understandably so, since their menu is packed with really delicious local food - from noodles, rice, traditional breads, curries, and, of course, sate - all made to their entirely plant-based, homemade recipes. Honestly, if we had more time in Kuta we would have spent several mealtimes here, sampling the tasty Balinese cuisine that De Ra Sa offer.


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

Our sate journey actually began when ordering: there are actually four different types of sate on De Ra Sa's menu. With a quick bit of help from an online translation, we worked out that their menu offers the following:

  • Sate Ayam Soya Bakar (grilled soy 'chicken' satay)

  • Sate Bumbu Kacang Soya Ayam (soy 'chicken' satay with peanut sauce)

  • Sate Kambing Jamur (mushroom 'goat' satay)

  • Sate Ayam Soya Padang (Padang soy 'chicken' satay)

So there was a lot of decisions to be made here: especially having never tried these before - which ones did we want to try? We are so used to only having one option that I will admit, this left us a little indecisive for some time! Ultimately, we decided that we should try both kinds of mock meat. So this meant trying the mushroom-based mock goat satay, as well as one of the varieties of soy-based mock chicken. Since satay is so frequently associated with that peanut sauce, we figured we couldn't miss that!


I was a little nervous about the mock goat - having never tried real or imitation goat meat before, neither of us had a clue what to expect here! When the plates of sate arrived though, we were really impressed by the presentation, and how realistic these cubes of mock meat looked! Honestly, if we saw them in a non-vegan setting we would find it really hard to believe that these sate skewers were entirely plant-based! They were very aromatic too, so much so that we couldn't wait to get stuck in.


Served with a dish of sambal, both types of satay really impressed us. The mushroom-based mock goat was kind of how we would expect goat to taste: a little chewy, harder than the mock chicken, with a very different texture. While both sauces were delicious, Mike preferred the slightly more savoury soy sauce base of the marinade on the mock goat sate. I, meanwhile, really loved the indulgence of that thicker, slightly sweet yet spicy, peanutty sauce that coated the vegan chicken. Honestly, these skewers were so delicious - and filling too! We chose not to have any side dishes, and though this would have made for a heartier meal, we were pretty full just from sharing these two plates of mock-meat skewers!


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

Indonesia is a pretty cheap place for restaurant food - though when it comes to Bali, in the tourist hotspots you might find yourself paying a lot more! Because De Ra Sa is predominantly a restaurant where locals eat, the prices are excellent. Six skewers of mushroom-based 'goat' only cost Rp28,000 (approx. £1.51, €1.74, or $1.87), while the soy chicken with peanut sauce cost Rp30,000 for six skewers (approx. £1.62, €1.86, or $2).


They were so delicious, and so worth trying while you're in Bali! It's also absolutely worth checking out De Ra Sa to try other plant-based Balinese dishes from their comprehensive menu!


Have you tried vegan satay 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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The centre of Vienna with tall, historic buildings all around
Bali is absolutely stunning!

Where should I stay?

Because Kuta is such a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of places to stay on the island, and options to suit all budgets. For a clean, modern, and social hostel experience why not try Pudak Sari Unizou Hostel, where the contemporary dorm rooms get consistently high ratings? Or if you'd prefer the privacy and convenient of hotel accommodation, Kondra Premiere Guest House is a great choice. Featuring double or twin en suite rooms, free wifi, a swimming pool, this guest house is close to the shopping mall, the beach - and only twenty minutes from the airport!


Tours & Experiences

Bali is an island full of culture and incredible sights, so you'll never be short of things to see and do. But if you find yourself wanting to blow off some steam after immersing yourself in the delights of this stunning island, why not head over to Waterborn Bali, a waterpark known for having the world's longest waterslide? Or, if that's not for you, check out some of the top-rated Viator tours below!

Please note that the below experiences are automatically suggested by Viator for their popularity, not selected and recommended by ATWIVE. We recommend considering the ethics of any animal-related activities carefully before taking part.




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