Bali has become somewhat of a paradise for raw food enthusiasts in recent years. It has some of the best tropical fruit in the world and an ever-increasing number of restaurants and cafes catering to those following a plant-based diet.
However, while there are lots of fantastic choices for raw vegan food in the town of Ubud, it can be more difficult to find raw food options in the Canggu area, with the exception of smoothie bowls. So if you are planning a trip to the surfing mecca of Bali, here are some of the best places where you can find a satisfying raw vegan meal.
My number one find in our recent trip was this great cafe that offers a selection of raw vegan meals, as well as catering for all kinds of dietary preferences. This would be a place to go if you have friends or family who have not yet discovered how good plant-based food can be. They either can try some tasty raw vegan food or enjoy one of their gourmet burgers and everyone will be happy.
I recommend you start with a Super Green Goddess Juice containing celery, apples, kale, pineapple, cucumber, ginger and mint. My favorite dish on the menu is their Tangy Papaya Rolls, which is simply a wrap made from dehydrated papaya and filled with mango, herbs and crunchy veggies.
They also make more traditional spring rolls filled with crispy raw veggies and served with Balinese satay sauce. This is not a completely raw dish because it contains rice paper, roasted peanuts and the sauce is heated, but it is still very light and fresh.
Their raw vegan salad is also a good choice and comes with sunflower seed bread, mushroom and red pepper patty, smashed avocado, lettuce, tomato, beets, cucumber and a tangy mustard vinaigrette dressing.
They also offer zucchini noodles with a choice of two sauces. The highlight was their Creamy Coconut and Mushroom noodles with dill and nut parmesan.
If you are in the mood for something more hearty you can try the Sun-dried Tomato Marinara with Vegan Meatballs.
In The Raw
Despite what you might expect, In The Raw, only really has a few raw vegan dishes on offer. They specialize in cold-pressed juices and smoothies but also offer an eclectic western/Balinese fusion menu to suit all dietary preferences.
Their Raw Pad Thai is quite a hearty dish made with zucchini noodles, carrot, red pepper, mung bean sprouts and Asian greens with a rich peanut sauce.
My favorite dish on the menu is the Raw Vegan Sushi but it is a very small portion so I like to pair it with their crisp Green Salad. It comes in two varieties – Papaya & Avocado or Rainbow Vegetables with Shiitake Mushroom.
This is a little vegetarian cafe connected to a yoga center, which also hosts the Sunday farmer’s market in Canggu. There’s not a lot of raw food on the menu but they have a nice and lively Gazpacho, Fresh Spring Rolls as well as a Raw Lasagna. Unlike many raw lasagnas this one was not too heavy on the nuts and oils. They serve the pesto sauce on the side so you can choose to use all of it for more flavor, or just a little bit if you want to keep your fat intake lower.
Cafe Vida has a great atmosphere, which feels like a traditional Balinese home and is well worth a visit. They have a wide selection of health shots and fresh juices and their superfood smoothies are a work of art.
While they specialize in coffee you can also choose one of their alternative drinks made with coconut or almond milk such as matcha, turmeric, dandelion and red velvet beet lattes. Additionally they have raw vegan desserts, raw chocolate and vegan coconut ice cream.
I love their Tropical Fruit Salad which comes with fresh coconut yogurt and grain-free granola. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of savory items on the menu for strict raw vegans except for one dish – Raw Paleo Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Zoodles with Hemp Seed Alfredo.
If you are a bit more flexible with your diet I would go for the Rice Paper Rolls that are filled with rice vermicelli noodles, crispy tempeh, avocado, fresh veggies and herbs, served with a green papaya salad and two dipping sauces – fermented chili and coconut-peanut. You can also order a side portion of kimchi or sauerkraut. There are a few other cooked vegan options on the menu and their Pumpkin Soup with turmeric, orange and coconut yogurt is probably the best I’ve ever had.
This vegan cafe undoubtedly has the tastiest plant-based food in the area. Unfortunately there is only one raw dish on the menu – the Raw Tacos – which I would say is probably my favorite dish out of all the raw vegan choices in Canggu. It is made with lettuce, shredded cabbage, sun-dried tomato and walnut meat, pineapple and corn salsa and drizzled with cashew sour cream. It is bursting with so much flavor but also nice and light.
It’s not a very filling dish though, so I would suggest you also enjoy one of their delicious smoothies – such as the Be Strong -made from mango, banana, moringa, spirulina and fresh coconut milk.
They also offer a few different fresh salads, which are not fully raw, but still a really healthy choice, like the Fuel Good, which contains a base of kale and spinach with lettuce, broccoli, red cabbage, red pepper, carrot, beet, green onion, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, topped with smashed pumpkin and hummus with a side of gluten-free garlic bread.
While not strictly in the Canggu area, the Kerobokan branch of Bali Buda is just a short drive and worth a visit to pick up some organic groceries and enjoy a healthy meal.
They have a range of raw vegan sweet treats like energy balls and raw chocolate. I recommend you try the Tropical Living Fruit Pie, which has a base of nuts and dates, topped with papaya, pineapple and banana with a sweet cashew cream.
The Live Food Platter is a solid choice containing flax crackers, sliced jicama and cucumber, house-made sun-dried tomatoes, guacamole and cashew-veggie pate. I also enjoy their Thai Green Papaya Salad.
We only visited this restaurant a couple of times during our stay but I was quite impressed by the large variety of fresh-pressed detox juices. Just about everything on the menu is gluten-free and there are a few raw vegan options to choose from.
I tried a seaweed salad which was simple but satisfying with fresh veggies, avocado and a cashew dressing. Their Raw Vegan Quiche, Zucchini Noodle Fettuccine and Mango Guacamole also looked good and there are lots of really healthy cooked vegan dishes too.
The Shady Shack
I couldn’t do a review of the best raw vegan food in Bali without including The Shady Shack. Even though they don’t have any strictly raw vegan savory dishes on the menu they offer a few high-raw options like the Superfood Salad, and their smoothie bowls are some of the best in Bali.
However, if you are a raw foodie you will probably be most excited about their raw vegan desserts. One of my favorites is the Caramel Doughnut for a really decadent treat – or if I just want a little boost – the Hemp Chocolate Energy Ball. I’m sure all the sweet treats are good here but anything with chocolate is guaranteed to satisfy.
Let me know what dish you would like to try the most. Or if you’ve already been to Canggu, I’d love to hear about your favorite places to eat raw food in Bali.