Eating A Vegan Diet In Bajo; Can It Be Done?
Eating vegan in Indonesia
For vegans, eating out abroad can be challenging. It can sometimes feel like a chore. The options are far less varied and harder to find without doing extensive research (otherwise known as Google searches!). However, when travelling around Indonesia you can eat a vegan diet, and a tasty one at that!
Labuan Bajo, the gateway to Komodo, located on Flores island, is a small fishing town on the west coast. One may think that eating vegan in Bajo would be difficult or impossible, but that is not true. There are plenty of options where you can avoid animal products. If you are interested or planning on a dive trip in Komodo, we have the answers for you.
Eating at local warungs
Throughout Indonesia, you will find warungs everywhere you go. Eating at warungs is often the most affordable way to eat all meals. They are small restaurants or outside stands with tables and chairs. The food at local warungs is normally made in large batches and you pick which toppings you would like to accompany Nasi (rice) or Mie (noodles).
Eating vegan at places like this can be done very easily if you are clear about what you can and cannot consume.
In Bajo, along the main street where Scuba Republic is located, there are plenty of local warungs to choose from. Two personal favourites are the two lovely women across the street from Bajo Taco. Their food is the most delicious. Picking tofu, tempe, veg, potato, rice and noodles, you can easily and affordably eat vegan.
Things to look out for and avoid are of course the fish, meat, and egg products. Some useful phrases which will help the staff to understand your diet are as follows: ‘Sayur saja’, meaning vegetables only, is useful. ‘Saya tidak makan’ means ‘I will not eat’ which can be then followed by things like ‘ayam’ (chicken), or ‘ikan’ (fish).
Catur’z Kopi Club
The one and only all veggie/vegan restaurant in Bajo is Catur’z. The menu has breakfast options, main meals, and drinks. Here, you can eat totally vegan or just vegetarian, as some options have eggs in them.
The mung bean porridge is an interesting breakfast choice. This is vegan, healthy, and delicious. You can sample tasty kopi (coffee), or kick back with a fresh fruit juice. Located just off the main buzz of the highstreet, Catur’z has two floors, with comfortable, spacious seating areas. This place is number one on the vegan restaurant ‘must-go-to’ list if you are visiting Bajo. Bear in mind, Catur’z is closed on Mondays!
A popular place in town, Happy Banana, has a large menu with a wide variety of options. Most well known for its sushi, this place attracts the tourists in town. Here you can eat vegan sushi (yes, exciting right?), falafel, hummus, and salads.
Costing a little bit more than other places in town, Happy Banana might be a special occasion kinda place if you are travelling on a budget, but the food is great, and a vegan friendly favourite that Bajo has to offer.
Wae Molas hotel, spa, and cafe is located off the main drag of Bajo. It has a lovely pool to chill at and the menu has lots of vegan and veggie options. Again, not the most affordable place in town to eat, but if you fancy vegan western food and a relaxing atmosphere, this is your place!
The menu offers a range of salads, burgers (veggie and vegan), pastas and lots of drinks. This is a vegan friendly place with a nice vibe to spend the day, chill out, play some pool, and relax.
Located on the main street, Bajo Bakery is a chilled spot for a smoothie bowl, a fresh fruit juice, or a healthy brunch. With a refreshing, light interior, this place is a must-go if you want somewhere healthy and spacious. The menu offers a variety of options and makes a nice change from other places in town.
Blue Corner Cafe
This spot is not a vegan cafe, but if you specify to the staff you can eat vegan here at a good price. Nasi goreng and mie goreng minus the egg are staple Indo meals which you can enjoy at lots of places in Bajo. This cafe is a cute and quick spot for a local vegan meal. Be careful to avoid the fish products!
On the boat
When diving with Scuba Republic you can eat an all vegan diet or a vegetarian diet on the boat very easily. Breakfast is a variety of fruits, spring rolls, and doughnuts. The doughnuts will need to be avoided as they contain egg, but other than that, everything is vegan.
Yoris, our onboard chef, prepares the lunch every day. Meals range from curries with tempe and tofu to stir fry and noodles. Sound good? Check out our Scuba Republic Komodo dive centre.
Eating vegan overall
We have compiled opinions and details about a few tasty eateries in Labuan Bajo where you can eat vegan. Of course there are many other restaurants in town that can cater for vegans and vegetarians, but these are some popular and affordable places to try if you are visiting Komodo and Labuan Bajo.
As long as you are prepared for a more limited selection of restaurant choices, you will be fine. And yes, eating a vegan diet in Labuan Bajo can be done! After a full day of diving you will be in need of a good meal so take time to research and explore, you won’t be disappointed eating vegan in Bajo!
If you are planning on visiting Bajo and hope to dive the wonders of Komodo National Park in Indonesia, discover the insane dive sites of Komodo that you may experience whilst diving with us at Scuba Republic Komodo! We hope to see you in the underwater world!