Was your biggest worry when starting to travel wondering where you would find vegan food? Are you tired of trying to explain in broken Bahasa Indonesia or signing “plant-based” to street food vendors? Worry and tire no more! With the percentage of vegans on the rise worldwide, we have compiled a list of 5 vegan restaurants to soothe your hunger in Yogyakarta.
Yes, it’s easy to locate these places in search engines and maps. However, this list was thoughtfully put together factoring in all the other things you can do in the neighborhood, cost-friendliness and even some top picks of what to order when your hungry brain can’t decide!
You will find the menus ranging across traditional dishes from various regions of Indonesia to Western and even creative blends of cuisines. Not without their own charms, each of these plant-based enterprises have something special to offer you, depending on what you’re after. Are you ready to dive in?
1. Fortunate Coffee
Okay just because there is “coffee” in the name, does not mean it serves only coffee. In fact, you might even be familiar with this Taiwanese chain that has found a home right in the heart of the city. Located behind the iconic Malioboro Street, it’s the perfect place to start your day of exploring the city on foot with a warm brew and smoothie bowls (good luck choosing just one!).
They offer both Western & Indonesian food and have infused water at the counter to quench your thirst for no charge! It’s air-conditioned to provide you relief from the blistering sun. There is also a section dedicated to selling some dried goods, nuts, seeds and an assortment of other goodies, if you’re want to practice some of that shopping.
With affordable prices and friendly English-speaking staff, this is a reliable place for lunch or dinner, or even to work on your computer while the sun shines at its hottest outside. Want more inside information? Don’t ask the staff for the Wi-Fi password, it’s written on the GIANT blackboard inside!
Opening hours : 10:00- 21:00
2. Simple Plant Vegan Kitchen & Artspace
The best part about Simple Plant has to be its outdoor location. It is a hidden gem tucked under billowing palm trees, bamboo and other unnameable species, right alongside a river with fresh air cooling you off. Warning: It’s a bit hard to find, so make your way there while it’s still light out. It’s quite a drive from the city, but chances are you’re heading towards the beaches or pine forests around Yogyakarta, making this a nice stop on the way for a snack!
If you do, try some of their jamur goreng or fried mushrooms. Crisp and fresh, most of their ingredients are homegrown and don’t use any MSG or palm oil. The food is inexpensive when you consider how delicious, fresh and healthy it all is. Tip: Skip right ahead to the Tempe Burger or Mushroom Steak. With a BEER to help wash it down. Who can say no to that, right?
It’s also a nice place to bring a book and lounge under the natural light for a couple hours, or work! They do have Wi-Fi in the jungle, yes. Don’t worry, the breeze is strong enough to keep the mosquitoes away. Fun fact; They have an adorable pet pig. Say hello from Backstreet if you see him (or her?) and let us know in the comments how your interaction went!
Opening hours : 11:00- 20:00 (closed on Sundays)
Now here is something a little more typically Indonesian. Meaning, a very rustic location in a giant food complex that serves very simple and straightforward meals. It’s located north of Yogyakarta, in a very university-student area with about 200 cafes around selling single-origin coffee, bars (for beer and shisha) and even karaoke joints!
With the best value for money, try some of many fresh vegetable dishes, a serving of fried Tempe, and couple it with some ice tea. Or some Indonesian mie pangsit which is a simple dish of seasoned yellow noodles served in a broth with some fresh vegetables and “chicken” slices.
There is no air-conditioning so beware of not-plant-based mosquitos. The staff may not speak the best English, but hey, it’s a vegan restaurant so safe to say, anything you order will assuredly be 100% animal-free.
Opening hours : 07:30- 21:00
4. Loving Hut
Loving Hut, besides being the most well-known on this list, probably also ranks highest on happycow. The first one comes with an adjoining minimarket selling all your go-to plant-based groceries and offers an overall nicer ambiance. The second “express” one is slightly smaller and colder as compared to the former.
Both are located in yet another student-friendly neighbourhood slightly north of the heart of the city, which offers plenty of suggestions to the “what do we do now that we’ve had dinner” thoughts. Such as? Watching a movie, playing pool, having a drink (including alcoholic and caffeinated), shopping, partying, getting a wax (yes, really) or hair wash… The possibilities are truly endless!
The cuisine is predominantly Asian and is relatively more expensive than the previous restaurants, but incredibly tasty and dependably fresh every single time. My personal favourite is lunging at the buffet-style with some red rice, sauteed broccoli and big blocks of curried tofu with a chill Thai tea with coconut milk.
Opening hours : 09:30- 20:30
5. Vegan Padang Damai
Oh yes, we totally saved the best for last. When we first stumbled upon this absolute treasure in a ubiquitous food court in Malioboro Mall (of all places!), we were blown away by the mushroom rendang. It is maddeningly convincing how it replicates the slow-cooked-in-herbs-and-spices beef dish classically found in Padang of West Sumatra and Malaysia. Best. Vegan. Meat. Ever.
Every person making the transition to being plant-based surely misses a particular food from their hometown or culture. For most Indonesians and any expats who have lived in Indonesia long enough to know the allure of Padang, this is it. Vegan Padang Damai is the Beyond Meat to Padang food. Such rich flavours and scents from a plate costing less than 2$. Bar-gain!
The only negative aspect to this is that it’s in Malioboro Mall, so you will have to put up with sub-zero temperatures of the shopping mall and terrible karaoke music. Otherwise, find the silver lining in visiting Peri Plus, one of the only places in Yogyakarta to pick up a brand new English language paperback to call your own.
Opening hours : 10:00- 21:00
Hungry now? So are we.
There you have it, 5 vegan restaurants to try in Yogyakarta! Clearly, besides just boasting impressive temples, beautiful scenery, and cultural liveliness, this epic holiday destination also can offer you culinary wonders without having to compromise on your dietary choices. We hope this list of was as fun for you to explore, as it was fun for us to create. Selamat makan!