Travelling in the Philippines as a vegan can be frustrating and starving experience. You’re better off finding a hostel that you can cook yourself, but on the go most of the time you have to rely on your snacks or basic food of rice with side veg. Which is of course fine every now and then, but hey, part of travelling is getting to taste the oriental flavours of these magnificent places too, am I right?
If your path goes through Dumagete city – capital of Negros Oriental, this post is for you. Dumaguete is great town to stop for few days, eat great food, catch a movie and stock up supplies. It also have amazing things to see close by such as twin lakes and many waterfalls. Al’s post about the best spots to visit in Negros coming soon!
1. Roti Boss – Super delicious Indian food for spice lovers
Lovely Indian couple Bak and Zahra have put their heart and soul into this curry house. They opened a little curry shop near the Quezon Park in central Dumaguete, and had high standards from the very beginning. Food is authentic Indian-Malaysian, so those who love their roti prata (who wound’t?), this is the place for you. Their well-trained chefs cook amazing vegan and vegetarian food from super monster curry to briyani. They can cook more veggie options than the menu says and the owners understand what vegan means. The only minus on this place is that they don’t have anything else vegan to drink than tap water (I’m not kidding, you can drink the tap water! Well okay they have bottled water too but I just cannot buy it when this world is drowning in plastic.)
When the small curry house got too crowded, only few months ago they opened a second curry house in town, and this one is much bigger than the original. Curry house near Silliman university has different menu than the original Roti Boss, but this place is as good or even better. Great curries and dosas, everything packed with flavour and cooked to perfection makes you order everything on the menu and roll out from the restaurant. Prices are a bit high for Dumaguete, but absolutely definitely worth every peso. I’m drooling just thinking about the food there, we even had food sent to Panglao with a friend.
2. Tarbush – Great homemade falafels
All time favourite falafels never fail to satisfy hungry vegan. Tarbush looks little bit like fast food joint, but actually food is done fresh and owner knows good hummus. Falafel roll has some yoghurt-based sauce inside, but the staff changed it to salsa and hummus when we asked vegan alternative. Al and I definitely enjoyed these rolls more than many others, since we have never seen a falafel place in the Philippines before. This place of course offers meat, but has few different falafel and veggie plates too. Highly recommended for a quick bite, we visited twice in two days.
3. Kri – Almost fine dining with cheap prices
Kris is maybe the most famous restaurant in Dumaguete, and for a good reason. Place is stunning, kitchen immaculate, service top quality, and believe or not, prices are very low. They have separate vegetarian menu with vegan option in it (ask before). We loved our hummus plate and clever burger, although it could have had little more moisture. Mung bean “dahl” was nice too. I wish there had been some dessert for us too since we were celebrating our anniversary, but I’m not complaining.
Owner has just opened a new place called Esturya Tapas and Bar, and the management told us they can make some vegan tapas or pastas for sure. We already had dinner that night but went there for some great wine. Definitely will check this place out next time we have a chance to visit again.
4. Harold’s mansion – Backpacker food on roof top bar
Legendary backpacker place Harrold’s mansion has great roof top bar and restaurant with urban garden. Menu has plenty of vegan items to order. We loved the garden salad with cherry tomatoes, spinach and fresh herbs and they have good quality vinegar and french dressing too. Sizzling tofu was a top choice with some freshly baked bread. Their vegetable spring rolls were super yummy and fresh buko, smoothies and all the rest are very affordable. Burger was pretty good, however it’s not vegan automatically, you have to change the sauce. Great place for some beers and chat with fellow travellers after a long day trekking and waterfall searching.
5. Fin Bar
30 mins from Dumaguete is amazing muck diving place Dauin. If you’re heading that way, check out Fin bar. Great vibe and great vegan burger with sweet potato fries. And you can also get cinnamon apple spring rolls as a dessert – a true highlight for any vegan craving for something sweet. Excellent night out with divers and great music.