A Samoa Guide for Vegans and Vegetarians
Here we go again; another trip another dietary minefield! Samoa is a mixed bag when it comes to vegan and vegetarianism. Luckily, the capital Apia is not only prepared for more sustainable/ethical diets, it’s actually a delight for both vegetarians and vegans! As you venture further and further away from the capital, however, the fewer choices you have to make your vegan or vegetarian meal “exciting”. But we’re here to make dining sustainably a little easier with this complete guide to Samoa for vegans and vegetarians with tips for self-catering, as well as what to do if you’re staying at a beach fale.
10 Best Restaurants for Vegans in Samoa
Before we jump into our complete Samoa guide for vegans and vegetarians, here are some of our favourite restaurants in Samoa for vegan food:
- Krush Juice Lounge (Tanugamanono, Apia)
- Tiapapata Art Centre (Malololelei, Upolu)
- RiVaiv Cafes (Tanugamanono & Vaitele, Apia)
- Krush Juice Bar (Taufusi, Apia)
- Ava I Toga Restaurtant, Sinalei Reef Resort (Maninoa, Upolu)
- Nourish Cafe (Mulivai, Apia)
- All Things Sweet Coffee & Cake Bar (Fugalei, Apia)
- Paddles Restaurant (Matautu-Tai, Apia)
- Tifaimoana Indian (Fugalei, Apia)
- Taefu T. Matafeo Store (Asaga, Savai’i)
Find out more about these restaurants in the guide below, as well as in The Best Places to Eat in Samoa: 20 Best Restaurants in Samoa.
Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Apia
As Samoa’s cosmopolitan capital and official melting pot, Apia offers plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians! Although the one vegan/vegetarian-exclusive restaurant often has limited options, there are at least creative vegan dishes on the menus of many other cafes and restaurants that cater to all. You’ll even enjoy the traditional dishes of Samoa where dairy staples are naturally replaced with coconut milk and fruit!
Top 5 Restaurants in Apia for Vegans and Vegetarians
Here are our top picks of the best restaurants in Apia for both vegans and vegetarians.
1. Krush Juice Lounge
Primarily a smoothie and juice bar, Krush Juice Lounge is your solution to a bit of a health boost in Apia. Their restaurant serves 100% vegan meals with their sushi bowls looking genuinely impressive. However, their food cabinets have been pretty bare each time we’ve visited, giving the sense that they have a limited made-to-order menu. Nevertheless, if you want to support what they’re doing, be sure to check them out.
2. RiVaiv Cafe Tanugamanono
Although RiVaiv serves a range of cuisines, their vegan options are done well, such as their bean bowl, shiitake bowl, power bowl, pesto burger and tempura sushi taco made with tofu.
3. Nourish Cafe
Nourish Cafe is aptly named and will likely give you the health boost you need to see you through your day – even if you’re vegetarian, dairy- or gluten-free. The majority of the base menu is vegetarian, charging extra to add meat. Vegan food isn’t explicitly specified on the menu, but with the odd egg, cream or cheese to remove, eating vegan isn’t too difficult.
4. Paddles Restaurant
Easily the most popular dine-in restaurant in Apia, if not Samoa, Paddles Restaurant might not look like it caters well to vegans and vegetarians at first glance but they have a very good reputation for adapting dishes for different diets. The restaurant specialises in Italian cuisine.
5. Tifaimoana Indian Restaurant
One of the limited Indian restaurants in Samoa, Tifaimoana Indian boasts a menu with the majority of curry, starter and naan dishes being vegetarian. Ask about making dishes vegan (thank god for coconut cream!).
- All Things Sweet Cafe – Vegetarian lunch and cakes, and vegan wraps and bagels
- Krush Juice Bar – City centre juice bar with vegan snacks
- RiVaiv Cafe Vaitele – Vegan bowls, burgers and sushi tacos
- Bella’s Kitchen – Vegetarian burgers, noodles, wraps and soups.
Self-Catering as a Vegan or Vegetarian in Apia
Finding vegan ingredients in Apia is easy thanks to the well-stocked supermarkets and grocery stores found around every corner. The largest selection of foods can be found in stores like Frankie and Farmer Joe’s typically stocked with imports from New Zealand and Australia. Items like almond/soy milk, rice, nuts and vegan snacks are all available.
While fresh local fruit and vegetables are available in supermarkets, it’s typically better and a little cheaper to pick up fresh produce from roadside stalls and markets, as listed in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
There are also small convenience stores in Apia, which offer the basics but usually not the variety of vegan options you’ll find at the larger stores. We go into more detail about what to expect from grocery stores and supermarkets in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa.
All you need with your vegan or vegetarian ingredients is a place to cook them! Check out the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Apia & Upolu for our top picks.
Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Upolu
Outside of Apia, the dining landscape is a lot different. Most restaurants on the greater island of Upolu can only be found in resorts and some beach fales. You’ll find that most resorts only serve one or two vegetarian options per course and you can bet one of them is a vegetarian pizza… Needless to say, you won’t be having the most exciting meals as a vegetarian when exploring the greater island of Upolu.
Below, we’ve listed a limited couple of our favourite restaurants with vegan and vegetarian options, as well as where you can get supplies for self-catering.
Top 2 Restaurants on Upolu for Vegans and Vegetarians
Here are our top picks of the best restaurants on Upolu for both vegans and vegetarians.
1. Tiapapata Art Centre
(Malololelei) – Homemade everything and specialising in vegan meals (as well as meat and fish dishes), the Tiapapata Art Gallery offers a delightful lunch option on the Cross Island Road just 15 minutes from Apia. They also do espresso coffee, lemon-ginger-turmeric drinks, fruit pies and cakes, homemade ice cream and rustic homemade artisan bread.
2. Ava I Toga Restaurtant
(Maninoa) – The fine dining restaurant of Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa has a dedicated vegan and vegetarian menu with tempting antipasto platters, tempura vegetables, risotto, gnocchi, curry and more. Learn more about Ava I Toga in the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Samoa.
Self-Catering as a Vegan or Vegetarian on Upolu
The biggest hurdle you’ll have for self-catering on Upolu outside of Apia is finding somewhere to cook your own meals. What limited self-catering accommodation there is is usually the highest tier of room at a resort, which is not great for those on a budget. See what options you do have for making your own meals in the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Apia & Upolu.
We recommend stocking up on vegan and vegetarian snacks in Apia before travelling around Upolu. Otherwise, there are large supermarkets located in Saleimoa and Utualii on the northwest coast and in Tanumalala on the west coast Cross Island Road. Find out more about these supermarkets in the Information, Shops & Services on Upolu.
Another option is to bring your own vegan and vegetarian snacks from home, as long as they are not fresh and/or unpackaged foods that may not pass through airport biosecurity – find out more in Taking Food to Samoa: What You Need to Know.
While there is a generous number of small grocery stores in just about every village on Upolu, the variety of vegan “luxuries” is nowhere near as extensive as in Apia. You can still find items like tinned vegetables and vegan snacks like rice crackers but you might just have to look in a few stores until you find what you’re looking for. Staples such as rice, flour and tinned goods are readily available.
Learn more about Upolu’s supermarkets in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa.
Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Savai’i
We’re not going to pretend otherwise; Savai’i doesn’t make it easy for vegans and vegetarians. Samoa’s more traditional island is also quite traditional when it comes to its restaurant menus. Resorts will have a token vegetarian dish for each course menu, while the limited restaurants outside of resorts commonly have little to no vegetarian options, let alone vegan. There is one exception on the island but this tiny cafe operation will hardly sustain you for your whole visit. In short, be prepared to have a polite conversation with the wait staff or chef to see how they can accommodate you.
Alternatively, self-catering is an option on Savai’i, although accommodation with cooking facilities is extremely limited. Interestingly, your best option might be staying at a beach fale where traditional staples of coconut cream and tropical vegetables are likely to be a core part of the meal offering. Just be sure to let your hosts know about your dietary requirements before arrival – more on that in the section below.
The Top Restaurant on Savai’i for Vegans and Vegetarians
Here are our top picks (or pick) of the best restaurant on Savai’i for both vegans and vegetarians.
Taefu T. Matafeo Store
(Asaga) – At the northern end of Asaga village is the Taefu T. Matafeo Store, also known as Netta’s Cake Shop. Needless to say, the cafe is famous for its cakes and cupcakes which pair perfectly with an espresso, latte, mocha or iced coffee but they also claim vegan and vegetarian snacks are available.
Self-Catering as a Vegan or Vegetarian on Savai’i
By far the largest supermarket on Savai’i, Frankie Supermarket at the commercial end of Salelologa (from the wharf, head toward Lusia’s Lagoon Chalets then turn right) is your best option to get stocked up with vegan and vegetarian snacks and supplies before venturing across the island. Otherwise, small grocery stores are available in each village but are likely to have limited stock.
Learn more about Savai’i’s supermarkets, again, in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa, as well as in Information, Shops & Services on Savai’i. As for where to stay for making your own meals, check out the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Samoa to see your two options on Savai’i.
Staying at Beach Fales for Vegans and Vegetarians
Staying in a beach fale is an iconic part of the Samoa experience but these accommodations work very differently from resorts. Instead of a la carte menus, meals are usually predetermined or a buffet, enjoyed family-style with fellow guests in a communal dining fale.
Because meals are usually a set menu, it’s helpful to let your hosts know about your dietary requirements before you arrive. Not only is this much politer but it allows your hosts time to prepare. Don’t worry, in most instances, hosts are happy to cater to vegan diets as their own diets tend to be not all that different from veganism (with the exception of seafood). Traditional meals are typically made with vegetables and fruit grown on the island along with coconut cream. As some meals are shared with other guests, there will likely still be meat and fish served at the table.
For more tips for staying in a beach fale, take a look at our guide, Staying in a Beach Fale in Samoa + 10 Essential Tips!
More About Food in Samoa
That’s it for our complete Samoa guide for vegans and vegetarians including the best restaurants for vegans and vegetarians. For more about food, check out the following guides:
- Traditional Samoan Food: 20 Foods to Try in Samoa
- The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours
- The Gluten-Free Guide to Samoa
Finally, plan a trip around Samoa with food in mind using the following itineraries: Samoa Food Itinerary: 3 Days, Samoa Food Itinerary: 5 Days, Samoa Food Itinerary: 7 Days, Samoa Food Itinerary: 10 Days and Samoa Food Itinerary: 14 Days.