Finding Vegan Food Gets Tougher

We leave Ubud in our car that resembles a roller skate and the first stop on our Vegan Food Quest Road Trip is the town of Padang Bai, a busy port that services the people, cars and lorries heading off to Lombok and the Gili Islands. We’re heading here to meet family and friends who had been enjoying island life on Gili Meno and plan to spend a few days here together before they head home.


the best thing about Padang Bai was the company for sure!

As most people are just here to catch a ferry or waiting to get a bus to their next destination in Bali, the shops only seemed to sell a rather limited selection which meant finding vegan food was not very easy.

Top on the list of things that are easy-peasy to find in Padang Bai are chewing gum, crisps, very disgusting looking sliced bread that wasn’t vegan and rum. Bottom of the list, or not even on the list, is nutritious, tasty vegan food. Mild panic sets in, why didn’t I stock up on lovely nutritious healthy snacks before leaving Ubud?!

We did manage to find some tasty fresh fruit including the ‘Favourite Fruit Of The Trip’ so far – Mangosteen – delicious!


We ate kilo after kilo of mangosteen

After our short lived mangosteen success, we trudge around the town, sit in a restaurant not feeling very at ease and then have to leave as they have run out of anything that could make a vegan meal (yes, insane I know). Thoughts of malnutrition cross my mind as I consider a 3 day diet consisting of MSG-laden crisps, chewing gum and rum.

Then there is a glimmer of hope: some fellow travellers give us a tip about a local waring (small restaurant for people that have just joined us on the Indonesian leg of the Vegan Food Quest Blog) and we head there feeling that it’d be miraculous if the restaurant turns out to be any good for a vegan. By now, I have taken against the dark dingy streets of Padang Bai and the Vegan Food Quest has taken on a more urgent and desperate feel which is a world away from the happy exploring and discovery of vegan treats that I’ve become used to.

And then we find ‘Warung Sinar’ with beautiful hand-drawn menus offering real food, that is cooked with love (I know this because you can taste it in the food and feel it from the family who run this very humble little eatery).


Hooray for this yummy tempe & tofu vegetable curry


Hallelujah for this very tasty gado gado


Tempe curry

I feel filled with hope and good tasting, real food. I begin to warm to Padang Bai, although remain decidedly cautious of a place that doesn’t sell any vegetables anywhere. I’m holding back on my relationship with Padang Bai, one good curry can’t sway me that easily (OK it can, but I’m not giving in that easily).

That is, until I go snorkelling and put my head under the water to see the best coral reef I’ve seen in 16 years and hundreds of tropical fish.

I certainly wasn’t expecting this and so now I’m really rather fond of Padang Bai.
We try another restaurant and it’s a bit average apart from this bruschetta.


Tasty but expensive bruschetta

So we return to Warung Sinar for more curry and eat there at every other chance we have during our stay.

We also discover a German Bakery up the road in Candidasa which turns out to sell excellent bread and even better vegan chocolates.


Vegan chocolates made us smile ūüôā

Maybe Pandang Bai isn’t that bad after all?

Check out a selection of other vegan travel blog posts…


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One Comment

  1. eileen June 14, 2014 at 2:35 am - Reply

    Fantastic website. Easy to follow links. Particularly enjoyable reading and seeing places we experienced together. xxx

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