On our recent visit to Bali we were excited to discover how the raw and vegan food scene has developed. It was fantastic to see just how many choices there are now for those following a plant-based diet. Just about every cafe offers smoothie bowls and other vegan options on the menu, which wasn’t the case when we lived there about ten years ago.
Our favorite place to eat in Bali was a vegetarian restaurant called The Shady Shack. A large proportion of the menu is vegan and they also have a really wide selection of raw desserts.
The ambience is relaxing and the outdoor setting overlooking the rice fields gives a really peaceful vibe. However, it can tend to get busy between 11 and 3, especially in high season where you might have to wait a little while to get a table. For the most calm experience you might consider going for breakfast or or an early dinner, when it tends to be a bit quieter.
I recommend you start your meal with a fresh turmeric shot. This is a traditional Balinese remedy and offers so many health benefits including being a powerful anti-inflammatory and liver cleanser. They also have wheatgrass shots if that’s your thing.
I indulged in a really delicious smoothie called Bliss Berry, which was a combination of blueberries, red dragonfruit, banana, coconut yogurt, bee pollen and honey. I was in heaven!
I really enjoyed their smoothie bowls for breakfast. My favorite was the Heaven on Earth – a light and luscious blend of soursop, pineapple, ginger and coconut milk topped with watermelon, mango, goji berries and lime zest. I could eat this every day!
Another smoothie bowl is Lost Paradise with dragonfruit, pineapple, banana, watermelon, passionfruit, papaya, chia seeds and coconut. It usually comes with granola but to keep it raw and gluten free you can ask them to leave that out. Doesn’t it look so fresh and beautiful?
The Shady Shack specializes in bowls and most of them are vegan except for one – the Halloumi Bowl. I really liked the ingredients in this bowl so I asked them to prepare it without the cheese. The servers thought we were crazy to order the Halloumi Bowl – with no Halloumi – but it was really good.
This bowl contained quinoa, arugula, cucumber noodles, tomato, pickled beets, roasted peppers, olives, avocado, chickpeas, babaganoush, grilled limes, zatar and creamy tahini dressing. As you can see the cheese is really not necessary and this was a really light yet still a very satisfying meal.
They have quite a few other bowl choices including a Vegan Protein Bowl with lentils, nuts, grilled vegetables and fresh greens, and Indian-inspired Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Kale and Onion Bahjis, roasted carrots and a delightful raw green chutney.
The Nori Bowls (pictured at the top of this post) are another good choice and they included veggie nori rolls, shiitake mushrooms, pickled ginger, edamame, snowpeas, wakame, fresh greens and cucumber with miso dressing and Japanese fried rice.
If you are in the mood for something more substantial try the Jack Stack, which has marinated pulled jackfruit with a root vegetable hash, steamed green beans, vegan feta sauce and beetroot and apple relish. This is only available in their dinner menu after 5pm.
I was really impressed with their vegan feta, which had just the right amount of tanginess. Overall this was a really well-balanced meal with all the different flavors and textures working together to create a very cohesive dish.
The burgers were probably the most popular item at the Shady Shack but since I follow a gluten-free diet and generally prefer to eat lighter foods I didn’t get to taste them. The vegan burger featured the same marinated jackfruit as the Jack Stack and was served with salad, grilled veggies, vegan zucchini tzatziki and a side of crispy potatoes, which looked sinfully delicious.
Remember to save some room for dessert. They have a really wide choice of raw vegan cheesecakes, which I didn’t get around to trying but they all looked really good. There is also vegan carrot cake (not raw) and a big variety of raw vegan energy balls.
One dessert I did try however was the raw caramel doughnut. This was amazing! I think it is probably the most delicious raw dessert I’ve ever tasted. The base reminded me of a raw brownie and the caramel topping was perfectly sweet and gooey. You can also try matcha latte, turmeric latte or organic coffee made with fresh coconut milk.
The Shady Shack is one of our favorite restaurants we’ve come across in all of our adventures. The food is great and the staff are really friendly too.
Bali has become a real destination for raw and vegan travelers and this is one of the best places to go for healthy and delicious food. Definitely check it out, especially if you are in the Canggu area.