Back in June 2019, Chris and I spent two wonderful weeks in Malaysia, travelling to the capital Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi island and George Town, Penang. There are three main ethnic groups in Malaysia- Malay, Chinese and Indian, meaning that the food in Malaysia is super varied! It was amazing exploring different cultures and being able to try vegan versions of traditional national dishes, all whilst in one country. Eating in Malaysia was so enjoyable and we still talk about the food months later! We had a couple of minor incidents, but on the whole, we had very little trouble with vegan food.
As I always do, I used Happy Cow beforehand to research where we could eat, but even walking around, we saw plenty of pure vegetarian Hindu restaurants (dairy is used but not eggs) and Buddhist vegetarian restaurants in KL and Penang. I also took instant ‘packet’ porridge oats with us, which we had for a few mornings. They’re not big portions but helped set us up for a day fo exploring! I really hope you enjoy this series and that they can help you if you are travelling to any of these cities. We found eating out to be very cheap, by far the cheapest place we’ve eaten out in.
We flew with Emirates and their vegan options were fantastic. The food just seemed to keep on coming and we even received vegan cheese with two of our meals and a blueberry muffin. One of the desserts was coconut-based with tapioca pearls and it was delicious!
Water Lily Restaurant (V)– Salted fish + veg fried noodles and pumpkin tofu & rice. Amazing portion sizes and super tasty! The owner was such a happy and friendly guy and gave us his recommendations. It was a great first meal!
Putu Bambu Tradisi (VGN)- An ‘accidentally vegan’ Malaysian steamed layer cake made from glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, coconut, pandan leaves & palm sugar, steamed over a bamboo rod. The stall is outside of KL Central Market
Dragon fruit smoothie bowl- in our apartment using fruit from the local grocery store
Gandhi’s Vegetarian Restaurant (V)- an amazing Hindu Indian pure veg buffet. I asked the staff which dishes had dairy in and the staff were super knowledgeable. We could eat about 80% of the items. The dishes were so flavourful and amazing. Even though I was full, I just had to go back up for seconds! We also picked up some kuih (steamed rice cakes) for snacks.
Yuet Hen Vegetarian (V) A very popular Chinese veg restaurant. We had to wait before we could get a seat inside but it was worth the wait. I had a yam and deep-fried crispy vermicelli dish and Chris had a vegetable beancurd and rice dish.
Nature’s Vegetarian (V)- A must go to for an INCREDIBLE dim sum. 90% was vegan and items with egg were labelled on the menu. We had sweet steamed sweet pumpkin buns, satay ‘chicken’ skewers, fried sesame seed peanut balls, fried yam rolls and filled chung fung noodles.
Kind Kones (VGN)– There are several branches of this vegan ice cream parlour. We went to the one in Bangsar as it was near the dim sum place. We had the Almond Brittle Fudge and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Bakkit Woodlands (V)– A North & South pure veg restaurant. I asked if there was any dairy in the dish and the guy said no. When it came, there was a creamy yoghurt dip and I assumed it was dairy based. However, since coming across this a few more times, I think it might have been a coconut yoghurt based dip so may have actually been SFV.
Dharma Realm Monestry (VGN) an amazing volunteer-run vegan buffet at the back of a Buddhist monastery. Although we left a donation, it is not expected and we were only required to wash our plates up! We arrived late so most the food had already gone (I’ve seen pictures during the lunch rush and the place is absolutely heaving! ) yet the staff were ever so kind and filled our plates up. The spicy noodle soup was amazing and the fried garlic greens and fragrant were really tasty. I’ve seen that they offer lots of steamed buns so it would have been great if we got to experience the full buffet.
Simple Life (V)- a chain of ‘healthy’ vegetarian restaurants. I had an incredible Nasi Lamek (a Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf with various components). Unfortunately, the menu was mislabelled and Chris’ meal came with a boiled egg. Luckily, it wasn’t cooked in the dish itself, so he could leave this. Nonetheless, we both thoroughly enjoyed our food here.
Cendol (from a hawker stall near Chow Kit market)- Cendol is an iced sweet dessert that contains ‘strands’ of green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup.
New Start Health Kitchen (VGN) a super delicious and ‘fresh’ dinner. We had Inari pockets as sides, a Malaysian ‘chicken’ curry, a black bean and braised tofu noodle soup and an oat waffle dessert.
Day 13 (we came back to KL for our return flight home)
Mr Nan and Mrs Idly (V)- A popular North & South veg Indian restaurant. Very knowledgeable of vegan food with vegan signs outside the restaurant. The food was pretty spicy haha but so incredibly tasty! We shared an okra curry, a veg curry and a spicy South East Asian inspired potato dish. It was a great last meal to finish off such a fantastic trip!
Highlights- Gandhi’s Vegetarian, Nature’s Vegetarian, Dharma Realm Monastery & New Start Health Kitchen