The Jakarta Post
Vegans may follow the strictest diets, but they still have plenty of food choices in Indonesia. Foreign visitors may be pleased to learn that more than 1,000 restaurants across the country serve vegan and vegetarian dishes.
The Indonesian Vegetarian Society (IVS) is organizing a forum in Jakarta later this month to popularize veganism, a diet based strictly on plant-based foods to the exclusion of all animal-based foods, including dairy products.
The Earth Day Vegan Festival and Forum on Mar. 23-25, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, will be followed by the Vegan Culinary Festival that will introduce 168 foods on Apr. 13-15.
Approximately two million people in Indonesia are either vegetarians or vegans, IVS director Susianto said on Tuesday. This was relatively low for a nation with a population of 260 million, but veganism was gaining popularity, if not becoming fashionable, among health-conscious Indonesians.
One often cited benefit of veganism is that eating only plant-based foods reduces the chance of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and degenerative diseases by up to 90 percent.
Most people still have little knowledge about what it meant to be vegan, and where to buy vegan food if they decided to follow the diet, Susianto said.
The internet was of no help, he added, as users often accessed the wrong information. “The understanding of food nutrition and healthy eating habits is low in Indonesia,” he said.
The two events will invite tourists from 10 countries, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India, to show that Indonesia is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, said I Gde Pitana Brahmananda, the tourism ministry’s deputy minister for marketing development.
“We want vegetarian tourists not to worry about where to eat,” he said. (roi/bbn)