Being Vegan In Bali

Eating is quite possibly one of the best parts about travelling. Can I hear an Amen? But heading on an overseas trip with specific eating requirements can really mix things up. As a vegan, the life choice that probably has the most dietary limitations of them all, excitement can turn to anxiety. Will there be anything to eat or will it be a diet of water and air the entire holiday?

Well if you are heading to Bali and you don’t venture far from beautiful Canggu, you won’t find it a challenge at all! After spending a month in Bali in January and having just returned from another 10-day holiday in Canggu, I learnt that 1) being vegan in Bali is easy, 2) being vegan in bali is delicious and 3) being vegan in Bali is cheap. All three of which cannot be said for Perth. I had some of the tastiest and most flavoursome vegan eating experiences of my life over there.

So with all the time spent over there, along with my love of food, I’ve managed to suss out some of the best vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in Bali. Here are my top picks.

PELOTON SUPERSHOP

Highlight: The crispiest, crunchiest, most delicious sweet potato fries ever!

Peloton would have to be the best vegan restaurant in Canggu. Scrap that, the best restaurant in Canggu! Seriously, the food here is amazing! And you can totally trust me on this because I have pretty much tried everything on the menu. Like, I’m pretty sure we were basically on nickname basis with the staff by the end of our trip. Serving 100% vegan meals including salad bowls, tacos, lasagne, smoothies, brownies and more, Peloton can easily woo even the biggest carnivore and probably even convert them to #veganlife too. Everything we tried here (yes we visited that many times) from the ‘tricken’ parmy and Veggie burger to the pancakes and bruschetta toast, burst with flavour! The meals are hearty, filling and served to you with a smile. If you’re feeling like something sweet the iced choc whip, nuts n bolts smoothie and the raw snickers bar come highly recommended. Honestly, this place should be number 1 on your ‘to eat’ list. Just thank me later.

GREEN GINGER NOODLE HOUSE

Highlight: The Thai Green Curry.

If it’s authentic Asian food you feel like; the kind made with the freshest produce, aromatic herbs and fragrant spices, then this is the place for you. This gorgeous all vegetarian and vegan restaurant, which can be easily missed from the road so keep your eyes peeled for the sign, has that cute, cozy, homely feel. Once you’ve placed your order and the waiter has trotted away to the semi-open kitchen, your senses will be immediately filled with the divine smells of fresh herbs and spices being chopped and ground in to curry pastes and sauces. Ain’t nothing but made from scratch here!  The food tastes as good as it smells and I can honestly say the Thai green curry is the best I’ve ever tasted. Better than anything I have eaten in Thailand, bursting which rich Asian flavours and yep my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

CRATE CAFE

Highlight: Top notch iced Latte’s that arrive overflowing like an erupting volcano

Life is crate at Crate café. Before you even notice the menu of mouth-watering healthy delights written on the concrete walls (no paper menus here), you’ll be welcomed with funky tunes, chilled surfy vibes and friendly greetings from the always-smiling staff. With names like ‘hipster’ and ‘bowlarama’, Crate serves up (in my opinion) the best smoothie bowls in Canggu. It’s not all about smoothie bowls though, there are plenty of savoury breakfast and lunch options on offer and the coffee here is top knotch. It can be a little loud and sometimes crowded in this uber-popular hipster café, but the chattering of happy travellers and surfy locals just adds to the buzzing atmosphere. Plus, any Aussies having Vegemite withdrawals need not fear – Crate offers a dish called Veto, which is a homely combination of Vegemite and avo on toast.

THE SHADY SHACK

Highlight: The smoothies are 👌

Located on a quiet street overlooking lush green rice paddies, this recently opened cafe has the most relaxing vibes. With daybeds to lounge on, peacock chairs to perch your peachy, green tropical gardens and tables shaded by bamboo umbrellas, dining here almost feels like you’re on a holiday from your holiday. There are heaps of vegan options on the menu for breakfast and lunch, delicious smoothies and a cabinet full of raw cakes. Like anywhere you go in Canggu, you can order anything to takeaway, which could come in handy because The Shady Shack can get super busy.

LA BARRACA

Highlight: Owned by Italians, it’s the real deal for authentic Italian food!

So you feel like a good carb-load? A big bowl of al dente pasta or a soft doughy pizza? Just a good old Italian feast. But your vegan… well, s**t! That was my first thought when we rocked up here for dinner one night when I was already feeling very hangry. Just as I thought I was going to have to settle for a few pieces of bread or a boring salad, my eyes lit up and the heavens opened after reading two magic words – ‘Vegan Margaretta’ on the menu! And my golly, it was the best damn pizza I have ever eaten. Ever! (And I’ve been to Italy). Most of the vegetarian pizzas can be made vegan just by asking for vegan mozzarella. I recommend coming here for dinner, when the lights are dim, candles are burning and it feels oh so romantic.

AVOCADO CAFE

Highlight: Healthy, fresh, nutritious meals for veggos, vegans and paleoistas (I just made that up).

Any place that features an all day breakfast menu gets a solid tick of approval. Plus, it’s name can only mean good things, because seriously, who doesn’t love avocado? It’s the little touches that give this humble health-hub its charm. Recycled vodka bottles created into drinking glasses and candleholders, comfy cushions on the boho-chic chairs, glass straws and fresh flowers on every table. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, avocado’s extensive menu features vegetarian and vegan-friendly options plus plenty of choices for the paleo dieters. From protein shakes, smoothie bowls and fresh juices to lentil burgers, salads, curries and sugarless desserts, there is something for everyone, especially the health-conscious!

NALU BOWLS

Highlight: Healthy smoothies galore with gram-worthy presentation for the ultimate #foodporn #smoothiebowl snap.

Serving up an abundance of fruity smoothie creations completed with your choice of toppings in cute coconut bowls, these smoothie bowls are almost too pretty to eat. Now with two locations in Canggu, Nalu bowls is the perfect place to visit for a refreshing treat to cool you down in the Balinese heat. Design your own bowl from a choice of 6 different smoothie options, including the popular Acai bowl, and select as many or as few of the 15 topping options you desire. You can also find Nalu Bowls smoothie bowl shacks in Seminyak and Uluwatu.

Not staying in canggu? Here are some other restaurants in surrounding areas that also impressed me with their delicious vegan options.

  • The Spicy Coconut (Canggu)
  • Eden Cafe (Canggu)
  • Cafe Organic (Seminyak)
  • Zuchinni (Seminyak)
  • Earth Cafe & Market (Seminyak and Ubud)
  • Clear Cafe (Ubud)
  • Kafe (Seminyak)

In all honesty, being vegan in Bali was not a problem at all. Most places offer a huge range of vegetarian dishes as it is and it seems Bali is one step ahead when it comes to catering for Vegan travellers. It’s actually probably harder to be a vegan in Perth than it is in Canggu. Just another reason why I belong there.

Love Elo xx

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I Boycotted My Birthday and It Was The Best Bday Ever


I dislike birthdays. Every year, as the next one approaches, I don’t feel the excitement and happiness that most people do. And no, it’s not because I’m getting another year older and another step closer to 30.

I don’t like birthdays because of the expectations that they carry. The gifts, the celebrations, the attention. I have no interest in any of it. To me it’s just another day. Try as I may, to not get caught up in the hallmark hoax of it all, there is still a part of me that wouldn’t mind being spoilt, receiving heartfelt birthday messages and getting treated extra special for just one day. But with all expectations comes disappointment.
You see, there always seems to be at least one person who forgets my birthday. No, not one of the Facebook friends who are simply following the lead of monotonous ‘happy birthday’ messages written on my wall. I mean, one of my close friends. I appreciate all the birthday love I receive, but some certainly hold a lot more weight than others so when it’s someone I consider a close friend who forgets, that shit stings!

Then there are the presents. The gifts that I don’t really need or want. I am more a ‘moments over things’ person. Quality time over gifts any day. Of course, flowers never go astray (insert cheeky wink face here) but a beautifully written card or a genuine and loving message is the greatest gift I could receive.

I don’t really remember a time when I was ever specially fond of birthdays. Except for maybe when I was a kid and I was able to choose what Mum cooked for my family birthday dinner, which always involved a Vienna ice-cream cake for dessert (what ever happened to those delicious creations?) I was always shy growing up and hated being centre of attention. So birthday parties, even as a child, made me feel awkward. And nothing’s changed. I don’t like attention focused on me, so maybe that’s why I don’t like birthdays.

I’d rather the day go by relatively unnoticed. I’d rather not be fussed over. There are far too many expectations surrounding birthdays and in the past they have never been fulfilled. I have always been left feeling sad and empty to a certain extent. My idea of the perfect birthday is one in which I share quality time with the people I love. No extravagant celebrations, parties and certainly no drinking. Don’t get me presents. I don’t need gifts. None of that is necessary. What makes me happiest is to spend time with people who genuinely care for me and make me feel special, regardless of what date it is on the calender.

Birthdays only started to take a positive turn when I turned 25. Knowing how much I dislike birthdays and how depressed I felt on May 14th the year before, my work colleague (and also close friend) made a special effort to change my whole perspective on birthdays. Another close friend took me out for a special dinner so that I wouldn’t have to go home to a empty house feeling lonely, like I had experienced the year before. And this year, I finally found the perfect solution to make birthdays more of a positive affair. How?

Step 1. Boycott your birthday by going on an overseas holiday.

Step 2. Go with the person that makes you the happiest in the world.

Step 3 (optional but highly suggested). Turn your phone on airplane mode for the most part of the day and avoid all temptations to connect to wifi. Live in the moment and forget about social media.

It’s a foolproof plan and one I intend to adhere to every year from now on. For the past three years, I have danced around the idea of boycotting the cold Perth weather and my birthday with a trip to hot, sunny Bali. This year I finally made it happen. Well, my boyfriend, Mark did. With flights to Bali and 10 days in chilled out, Canguu booked, he did good. We successfully escaped the cold Perth weather (which only makes me more depressed at this time of year) and managed to avoid all the birthday awkwardness that I hate.


Honestly, I’ve never had a more amazing birthday! For once , I enjoyed the day. I mean, how could I not be happy when I got to spend the day in one of my most favourite places in the world with my most favouriteist person? We relaxed, swam, had massages, ate delicious food from my favourite Canggu cafes and watched the sunset. Perfection! But mostly I loved it because it didn’t even feel like my birthday. It just felt like another day. Another day in paradise. Another day spent with the man I love. Nothing fancy. No expectations. Just quality time with someone special who makes me feel loved and appreciated every day. Not just on my birthday.

And the best bit. We still have 4 more days here! I’m doing this every year!

Happy 26th birthday to me!

Love Elo xx

Travelling Unmasked

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During a recent month-long trip to Bali, I finally became okay with not wearing make-up. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually a big achievement for me. Usually I wouldn’t dare leave the house without makeup on. I am very self-conscious of my skin – my blotchy complexion from years spent in the Australian sun, the dark circles under my eyes that show the signs of my insomnia, the sporadic appearance of pimples that skipped my teenage years and decided to make their debut during adulthood. I usually cover all of this up.Whether I’m going to work or even just a walk up the street, I lather on the concealer and smooth on foundation to hide my blemishes. Heck, I even blot powder under my eyes when I am going to the gym. It’s never been about vanity or what others think of me; it’s my own self-confidence (or lack thereof) that has led me to live a life of hiding behind a mask.

But something happened in Bali. I stopped giving a fuck.

Appearance suddenly became a “who cares” affair. Make-up went from being a non-negotiable part of my morning routine to a non-existent task. The unbearably hot weather and constant stickiness in the air meant it would instantly melt off with salty sweat anyway. Not only did it feel gross wearing foundation in a 95% humidity tropical climate, but I legit stopped caring what I looked like. I barely wore makeup and I didn’t let the fact a couple of pimples were exposed affect my confidence, or my day.

There is something about travelling that changes our perspective on what is important. Showering becomes a once every second, sometimes every third day thing (because swimming at the beach or jumping in the pool totally counts as washing too). Clothing gets worn on repeat for as many times as possible before masking unpleasant smells with deodorant loses its effectiveness. Hair goes unwashed for days – either covered up with a hat or scrunched up in to a messy-bun somewhat reminiscent of a birds-nest. Sometimes even “teeth brushing” gets replaced by chewing a piece of gum or gurgling some mouthwash. It’s just that our priorities change. There’s shit to do and people to meet. Places to go and shit to see. Ain’t nobody got time for excessive personal hygiene.

I have travelled before, usually for weeks or months at a time, and on every single one of these trips I didn’t go a day without wearing makeup. Sometimes I would even rise early in the morning to sneak into the hostel bathroom before anyone else emerged from their hangover slash jetlag slash both to put on my face for the day. Because #iwokeuplikethis. I couldn’t bare facing the world as foundation-free me. Even when it was just my travelling partner who would see me, self-consciousness always won.

Ridiculous I know.

Yet something changed this time round. I can count the number of times I applied a full face of makeup on one hand. Two fingers in fact. Some days I would sweep on a thin layer of mineral powder to cover up sunburn but most days it was al naturale baby. While to some this could seem like a meaningless and kind of vain feat to celebrate, for me it is a milestone. Finally feeling comfortable enough to ditch the cosmetics and just roll with it is insanely elating.

I’m still self-conscious about my imperfections. Aren’t we all? But I am embracing them and learning that life is much more free when you focus less on appearance. Now my next challenge is to implement this “traveller’s mentality” into everyday life. Just maybe not the minimal showering part. There are some hygiene rules that shouldn’t be broken.

Love Eloise xx

Originally published by Global Hobo