Travel & Vegan Food Adventures in Malaysia (Part I – Kuala Lumpur)

Hello Readers 🙂

Been away from the blog since few weeks. Family and travel kept the month of May busy. Loads of food and laughter in the last few weeks. Back to Bangalore with a recharged mind ready to take on more 😀

Spent a week in Malaysia (KL – Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi Islands), got to taste a lot of new Vegan food on my travel, explored the country and its way of life. I decided to travel light this time and did not carry my SLR camera but had a sizable collection of phone pictures documenting my travel. Putting some of it together into this blog here. 🙂

It can be hard locating vegan options when traveling to a country with heavy meat consumption. But gladly I didn’t call it a day and took out time to research whatever vegan options were available in my vicinity. My friends were patient enough to help me find my choice of food wherever we went. I connected with a few Vegan Instagramers from Malaysia who were so kind to help me with my doubts. Thankfully I did not end up eating bread and fruits for a week. In-fact, the trip became an ode to all the delicious food I tasted. 🙂 I am more aware of my options now if I were to travel again to KL. As a Vegan traveler these details will certainly be useful to you if you are visiting KL / Langkawi for the first time.

I am writing here as per the flow of events and may talk about personal experiences other than food as well. Bear with me if you landed up here looking mainly about vegan food. I hope to make this an interesting read for everyone 🙂

Days in KL (Kuala Lumpur)

We landed in KL and found the day we started with in Bengaluru was already coming to an end. Time difference always confuses mind which leads to hunger I guess! Thankfully my friend Shweta who was hosting us in KL took us to the first grocery store on our way home. I am always enchanted seeing the variety of things in any grocery store even though I hardly intend to buy much. A grocery store is a window to understanding the lifestyle and eating habits of local people. My eyes were piercingly looking for something vegan. Hello! Soy Milk – something you will easily find off the shelf all across the country. A safe bet if you are looking for a refreshing drink. This brand was sweetened and quite light, less viscous when compared to our Indian brands. Sipping away on my drink I enjoyed the long drive home on the amazing roads of KL city.

Soy Milk
Soy Milk brand in Malaysia

It was a quite a happening trip for each day was filled with activity and planning. Our first breakfast was at Curry Leaf Restaurant at Petaling Jaya. Enjoyed our south Indian breakfast of Idiyapam with dal and chutney in just about total bill of 4 ringgit(70 Rupees) ! Cheers to my most affordable meal outside in KL 😀 .

South Indian Breakfast @ Curry Leaf
South Indian Breakfast @ Curry Leaf

We made a quick visit to The Starling Mall which is right opposite to The Curry Leaf. Daiso & Miniso are interesting stores to visit here. Daiso a Japanese store where everything costs 6 RM. And Miniso a chinese brand with sturdy electronics and other multi purpose products. Some Vegan friendly stores to visit here would be BMS Organics which sells a lot of Vegan friendly food items and Neal’s Yard Remedies which sells cruelty-free, organic and ethical skincare products.

The day proceeded to be a busy one with visit to IKEA store nearby. It was my first ever visit to an IKEA store and I was blown away by the convenience , quality and prices ! Wish we have something similar in Bengaluru soon. Reaching here is super easy if you have Metro (MRT) access as the store is walk-able from the nearest station.

It was a rainy evening and we stepped out to check out Petronas Towers the tallest twin structures in the world currently. It is situated in KLCC which is a hub of major hotels , fashion malls in KL. We visited the Suria KLCC Mall here and dined at the food court. I was happy to find a Vegetarian friendly stall here Simple Life Healthy Vegetarian Recipe Cafe which offered a wide range of veg options including mock meat. Most vegetarian places in Malaysia also place an egg on top of your veg meal as a decoration! So its best to specify No Egg , No Dairy and No fish sauce wherever you eat even if it says vegetarian. The locals do not understand the concept of vegetarian that well so you got to explain a bit more in detail for vegan. I ordered Veggie Dumpling Noddles Soup here. Lots of veges , bean sprouts and seaweed. Healthy, bit bland but worth trying. Seaweed flavor can be quite overpowering if you aren’t used to it.

As a traveler it would be a good idea to stay connected to internet at all times to research the places you can eat / shop at while on move. An internet enabled local sim can be purchased at the airport for as low as 25 RM with enough internet pack to suffice a weeks usage. I found that most malls and airport also provide free wifi access which makes life even easier.  Another good discovery I made at Suria KLCC was that the Grocery store Cold Storage sells Vegan Cheese ! My most precious piece of shopping in KL will soon be eaten on a home made Vegan Pizza 😀

Dairy Free Cheese
Dairy Free Cheese

Day 2 started with a swim at this beautiful infinity pool at my friend’s condo. A quiet peaceful multi cultural community, everyone minds their own business and lets you be. It is so easy to be just yourself at such places and focus on important things in life. This and the great infrastructure are certainly major plus points of living in a city like KL.

Infinity Pool
Infinity Pool at Glomac Damansara Residences

We started our outdoor adventures at the China Town Petaling Street – known for its shopping and food stalls. The first stall that caught my sight here was this fruit stall selling a luxurious variety of tropical fruits by piece for 1-2 RM. This was my favorite food experience in Malaysia 😀 So many colorful fruits.. Mouth Watering !! They had around 15-20 varieties of fruits at this stall. I have never seen so many kinds of melons together.

Tropical Fruits
Mouth Watering tropical fruits

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Just opposite to this stall was the famous Kim Soy Bean Stall. Selling a variety of drinks and desserts made with Soy. The dish I tried was a Tau Foo Fah which is a Soy bean pudding eaten with white / brown sugar syrup. The warm custard is very light, jiggly, mildly sweet and is soy right , left and center in taste. The brown syrup adds to sweetness and helps cut through the prominent aftertaste of soy. Still, there was something comforting about this warm bowl of soy. Unless you are used to the flavor, you probably cant finish a full bowl of it. It filled me so much I could not even try the other items on his menu ! I wonder how they get such a beautiful glazed texture out of Tofu. Something to work on back at home 🙂

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Tau Foo Fah with brown sugar syrup
Kim Soy Bean
Kim Soy Bean @ Petaling Street

Another dessert I tried on this food street was from an old lady’s stall selling sweet sticky rice dessert called Muah Chee(mochi) made with glutinous rice flour coated with ground peanuts and sesame seeds. She had many flavor varieties like lychee, rose.  A very unique sweet, Sticky and glutinous dessert. Most of the local desserts I tried were sticky and starchy in texture. Also check out the roasted chestnuts in this market, they are delicious!

Moving on we went to Berjaya Times Square Mall. They had many food options but it was hard to locate a place suitable to get vegan food. Internet came to my rescue at all times! I ate lunch at the Taste of Asia Food Court which had a vegetarian food section. There were quite a few options but then again check out for fish sauce and eggs! Ask for the oil they cook in. After much convincing I decided to go for Vegetarian Hokkien Yi Noodle for 9 RM. This is a typical KL recipe the noodles are braised in dark soy sauce with some chinese cabbage and soy mock meat pieces. What I loved most about this dish was the flavor of the sauce and the soy mock meat texture.

And no we did not spend the whole day eating, the next few hours were spent shopping at times square mall followed by a Soy milk latte at Star Bucks. I haven’t really tasted Soy milk coffee before this. I would anyday trade it with fresh coconut milk coffee or black coffee 😀 .

We had been killing it since morning and had an equally exciting evening. We celebrated my friend’s new job with a dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant called BAKO at Sri Petaling. I had slim hopes of finding much to eat here. But my friends helped me find something suitable. I had vegetarian Bibimbap and also a yummy glass noodle salad tossed with veges. I don’t have the exact dish names as my friends helped me veganize the dishes from the menu. The staff was understanding to my requirements and the food I was served was delicious. Bibimbap is made with steamed korean rice, sauteed veges, fresh veges has an amazing sesame and Gochujang chilli sauce to flavor it with. The sauce is the hero which ties together the dish. The dish is served in a hot stone vessel keeping all the flavors buzzing. What I loved was the texture of rice in bibimbap and the flavor of sesame in all my dishes at this place 🙂

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Our day had not ended yet and next we went to Loud Speaker – A Karaoke Bar in Sri Petaling and sang our hearts out for the next few hours. Loved the concept of this karaoke bar, you get the room to yourself and can create your own playlist and can scream away without feeling conscious 😀 We sang all our college time favorites and it was awesome fun ! A must have experience in KL!

 

I had been following Instagrammer rawchefyin online and got to know there are quite a few Vegan eat outs in Kuala Lumpur! BTW check out her instagram profile she shares some amazing inspiring content 🙂 and also conducts Vegan raw food workshops in KL. I landed up on some other awesome vegan content creators in Malaysia while doing my research – Veganning_in_kl & http://www.kindmeal.my/. With the short time I had left, I decided to spend my last day in KL checking out some Vegan eat outs.

I headed over to Sala a Vegan Restaurant at Mont Kiara township in KL. This is a high end affluent locality in KL so I was expecting this place to be heavier on the pocket but I was pleasantly surprised ! I had a nutritious filling meal in just 12 RM which is 200 Rs in Indian currency. I ordered a Large Curry Laksa which is a typical Malaysian Noodle soup made in coconut curry. Always wanted to try a vegan version of this local dish. It has thin rice noodles with spicy coconut gravy , some fried aubergine, bean sprouts, fried tofu and a lot of bombs of flavor like lemongrass , galangal & some crispy caramelized onions! To me the dish tasted very south Indian, very comforting, homely and I loved it. I am definitely going to try making this in my kitchen 🙂

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Malaysian Curry Laksa

I reached SALA post the lunch rush hour and could still feel a lively and happy vibe at this restaurant something that reminded me of our very own carrots restaurant in bengaluru 🙂 They also sold some vegan edibles like vegan anchovies, vegan mayonnaise and many interesting things. I even tasted their glazed lemon cake and it was amazing! They had many interesting items on their menu which I would love to taste if I went back to KL.

SALA
SALA – Vegan Restaurant in Mont Kiara

I was so full after my extra large bowl of soup and decided to walk down the 1.5km to my next destination which was 1MK Mall also in Mont Kiara. I was in lookout for matcha tea powder and was told I could find it at the Village Grocer in this Mall. Pleasantly surprised, I also found situated in the same mall my next place of interest – A Vegan Ice Cream Parlor called KIND KONES. 🙂

At Village grocer, I found a great collection of vegan friendly items. A variety of vegan cheese, Yogurt & tofu filled the fridge section. I wasn’t on my cooking mode during this trip and was heading to Langkawi the next morning else would have definitely indulged in some of these! I also got my Matcha tea powder and would soon be coming up with recipes using it 🙂 . Not all matcha powders sold are vegan and you need to check the ingredients before buying.

Tofu
Varieties of Tofu

After a happening visit at Village Grocer I headed over to KindKones inside the same Mall. The variety in ice creams blew me over. They don’t just sell ice creams but also desserts, and even some savory wraps etc. You could have your entire lunch and dessert at this place. After such a long time I had my Ice Cream in a cone here!

 

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Ice Cream flavors
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Dessert Section

 

My KL adventures were over. Gathered some great experiences and yummy food and a lot more information on places I could explore when I visit next time 🙂 If you have had some exciting vegan food adventures in KL or have any more information about local cuisine do share them below in comments I would love to read them !

Photo credits – Shweta Rao, Tiarenla Jamir , Ekta Minocha

Read part 2 of Malaysia Adventures – https://theveganbirdie.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/travel-vegan-food-adventures-in-malaysia-part-ii-langkawi/

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. enishaeshwar says:

    Nice post 🙂 There is an app called ‘Happy cow’ which mainly lists Vegan restaurants. This was a saver for me when I was in Bali. Best and easy way to locate all vegan restaurants. Check it out.

    Like

    1. Thanks :-).. it did help.me out a lot of times on my trip.

      Like

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