Okay let me put it out there straight away, travelling on a low FODMAP diet in Indonesia is hard…very hard. We were there for 6 weeks and travelled through Java into Bali and onto Lombok and the amazing Gili Islands. For the majority of this time we found it hard to find low FODMAP options. Instead we just put up with bloated bellies, which actually came in handy, helping to hold up Lee’s favourite shorts as he has lost some weight while travelling 😉 ! Always look on the bright side of life as they say 🙂
Don’t get us wrong you could try and follow a low FODMAP diet but it would make finding suitable meals miserable, unless you like plain rice and fried eggs. That is until you got to Bali where you can eat plenty of Western style food if you wanted and live off meat and chips with a few salads. That’s not really our typical cuisine though and we like to eat the cultures food we find ourselves in. The traditional Indonesian cuisine which consists of lots of different flavoured Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Mi Goreng (fried noodles) all had plenty of garlic. The noodles were nearly always wheat based but you could find some rice noodles for a lower FODMAP option.
The one place you will find low FODMAP heaven however is in Ubud in Bali. They even have restaurants that DO NOT add onion and garlic FROM THE START! We can only assume this is because it is then suitable for a Jain diet, however didn’t find a proper answer. Anyway the food in Veggie Table (yes it was a vegetarian and vegan restaurant) and Laba Laba where they omitted garlic and onion did some great low FODMAP dishes at super cheap prices.
Indonesia low FODMAP meal options
If you are travelling in Indonesia and need to have a few low FODMAP meals to help relive IBS symptoms here are some of the best options we found. These are all based on the Indonesian cuisine, like I said you can find plenty of suitable Western options in Bali or the bigger cities in Java.
Breakfast is best for low FODMAP choices
Like in other Asian countries we found breakfast was always suitable for low FODMAP restriction with plenty of egg based dishes. If having an omelette ask for no garlic just in case but the omelettes usually came plain with no vegetables added. Oats were also available in most places although costed quite a bit more and you had to watch the amount of yoghurt you were given (2 tbsp. of yoghurt is a low FODMAP portion size). The muesli usually came with suitable low FODMAP fruits especially banana and papaya.
To save some money when we had a kettle in the room we used to make our own porridge with ‘instant’ oats, water and a squirt of condensed milk, which could be bought everywhere. This turned out to be a great idea and something we will continue for the rest of our travelling and probably when we get back home too.
Our favourite Vegetarian Indonesian low FODMAP meals
Being a vegetarian and following a low FODMAP diet can be hard but if you decide to go to Indonesia then first of all you will be happy to hear you can find quite a few vegetarian and vegan dishes, although they are all quite similar. Secondly you will also be happy to hear that some traditional vegetarian Indonesian dishes were almost completely low FODMAP, often apart from some garlic in the sauce. If you want to enjoy Indonesian food these were the best choices we could find and suitable for a modified low FODMAP diet when travelling.
A complete low FODMAP dish apart from the peanut sauce which is the best bit and should not be avoided! The ingredients consist of rice vermicelli noodles, fried tofu, sliced cucumber, sliced white cabbage, lontong (basically cylindrical chunks of steamed rice) and bean sprouts. Sometimes restaurants topped it with fried shallots which were easily picked off. Oh and of course as you are in Indonesia, a boiled egg which seems to accompany every meal no matter what it is! See this blog for a traditional recipe.
Pecel is steamed vegetables (spinach, green beans, bean sprouts, parsley, ginger) with a spicy peanut sauce. Pecel varies from region to region and we liked the ones in central Java most as the peanut sauce was sweeter compared to more salty ones we had further East in Indonesia. See this blog for a traditional recipe.
Similae to the two dishes above Gado gado is found everywhere and either comes ‘decontructed’ as demonstrated in this blog or it came smothered in another version of peanut sauce. This time potatoes are the carbohydrate used and come with green beans, cabbage, cucumber and tofu most usually.
In the restaurant Veggie Table in Ubud (the one that didn’t use garlic or onion) they served a fantastic dish they called yellow rice. The rice came with fried tofu and tempeh and fried aubergine in tomato sauce. We had never really enjoyed tempeh until we started to eat it more and more of it in Indonesia. They fry it in spices until it is crisp and it provides a great texture to the meal.
Plenty of BBQ corn everywhere
For a quick, cheap, healthy and really delicious snack we used to share barbecued corn-on-the-cob from the street vendors found in all the touristy locations. Make sure you sample them they really were excellent.
Finally just a quick travel tip for Bali. If you visit Ubud make sure you do one of the downhill mountain biking adventures through all the rice fields, it was the best thing we did in Bali and highly recommended.
See you next time where we will be in Thailand….
We are currently travelling around the world and plan to bring you‘Around The World In 80 Low FODMAP Dishes’ – a collection of the best low FODMAP foods and recipes as we travel the globe. See more on our low FODMAP diet travel section.
Want more information on the low FODMAP diet and IBS? Click here for the latest changes and important updates.
Good news! The first ever book dedicated to reintroducing FODMAPs is now available to purchase on Amazon Kindle and paperback. The book is titled ‘Re-challenging and Reintroducing FODMAPs – A self-help guide to the entire reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet’. Click on the logo for more details.
More information on Reintroducing FODMAPs here.
Low FODMAP recipes here.