Hi ! 🙂
This blog post is in continuation of – https://theveganbirdie.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/travel-vegan-food-adventures-in-malaysia-part-i-kuala-lumpur/
The Second half of Malaysia trip was spent on the Beautiful Islands of Langkawi. We flew down in an early morning Air Asia flight. Langkawi airport had nothing to eat , thankfully we had booked our meals in the flight itself. While travelling around here getting vegetarian / vegan food can sometimes be challenging so it was a good idea to book a flight meal as atleast you got something to eat. Wouldn’t say the food served was great – some rice , plain veg gravy but it avoided me from buying some junk to fill up my stomach.
After checking into our hotel we straight away went to Langkawi Sky Cab – a must do activity here. The trip up and down on the cable car(Gondola) and the walk on sky bridge gives a 360 degree panoramic view of Langkawi , its surrounding ocean and islands. The view was unparalleled to any other experience I’ve had so far so not boasting about it is not an option 😀
Back from our sky cab adventure we were really hungry. The base station of sky cab has plenty of options to eat at The Oriental Village. Right across to the ticketing counter was a small cafe called REFUEL. We had our first meal in Langkawi at this place. I had the best noddle soup with the most fresh vegetables and Cantonese Mushroom Rice. Freshness of Mushrooms can make a load of difference to such dishes. I could have such a bowl of soup for dinner everyday 🙂 . No major flavoring just the aroma of fresh veges. Kind of obsessed at the moment to replicate the exact dish at home.
After a satisfying lunch we checked out the other activities in the area. The 3D art museum was a fun place to check out and so were the Sky Rex and Sky Dome. Who doesn’t like to tickle belly of a larger than life cat 😀
Finally after a long day we returned to our hotel room. And later stepped out only at night to check out the surroundings. Our stay was at Pantai Tengah at Aseania Resort. The advantage of staying in this location was easy access to almost everything. Pantai Tengah is close to Pantai Cenang where most of the restaurants, cafes, spas, shops and duty free outlets are situated. Almost everything was walkable from my hotel which made it very easy to explore food outside. Most resorts will offer you a breakfast with the package but the variety for vegans is really limited. From my hotel I could walk out and there were many vegan friendly hotels. We dined at Yellow Cafe on Cenang Beach. A few options for vegans – french fries, salad & Aglio Olio Pasta (specify no cheese) made my meal.
The next morning after a quick breakfast, we went out for island hopping. Another listed to do activity in Langkawi. They took us in a boat to three different locations. First being the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park. After getting down here you do a mini trek to reach a fresh water lake called Lake Guillemard. Its a beautiful location surrounded by dense forest mountains on all sides. A perfect place to take a dip. Watch out for the friendly monkeys on your way out of the park 😀 they love to snatch your bag!
The next destination we were taken to was a place I wouldn’t recommend. We were taken to a spot where they throw pieces of meat to feed Eagles. A variety of carnivore birds come diving to pick up the food off water. Its an inhumane activity made into a tourist attraction. Years of this feeding have left the birds incapable of preying on their own completely dependent on the human feeding. Most public island hopping tours take you to this spot but if you have a boat to yourself you could ask to skip it.
Our next destination was Pulau Beras Basah Beach. A picturesque beach with white sand and blue waters. A lot of plastic waste gets generated in these tourist spots so it would be good to carry your own bottle while travelling. It also gets really humid and you would need to stay hydrated. Unfortunately the country doesn’t make it easy to avoid buying water bottles. Drinking water is expensive in Malaysia and you have to pay for it even in hotels. But I managed to fill my bottle every day at the breakfast buffet in hotel 😉 don’t care being judged about that!
Enjoyed the lovely sea breeze & green Mountains on our bumpy boatride back to Pantai Cenang.
Honestly I wasn’t well prepared to deal with the food situation in Langkawi up until this point. And after a compromised breakfast with minimal calories followed by the trek , the swim and boat ride the stomach needed some comforting. 😀
We entered a chinese restaurant right next to our resort for lunch. On my way into this restaurant I saw a cage filled with dogs. And then once I opened the menu the first thing I read was deer meat. I consider myself very tolerant to non vegetarian food around me, but sometimes these experiences can be very painful for a Vegan specially one who is vegan for the very reason of not hurting animals. How long can you clutch onto that mask and pretend its okay and you feel nothing for the avoidable death of innocent creatures. I have never ever felt this level of aversion before but at that moment something just flipped in my mind and I walked out of that place to check other options. Started researching on Vegetarian / Vegan options around me. There weren’t any fully vegan or even Vegetarian restaurants but many with good options. The next few days I tried to eat at as many places as I could which were positively reviewed by Vegans.
For my lunch, I walked into a French Patisserie called La Chocolatine. The owner of the bistro was very sweet and understanding, he Veganized a Sandwich for me. They bake their own breads and don’t use milk. The place had a very comforting vibe and their flexibility to my requirement really put me at ease. I loved the sandwich made with a really fresh bread and filled with fresh vegetables tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Another awesome thing about our Resort were its Pools and water slides ! 🙂 We spent the afternoon frolicking in the pool and slides. No better way to beat the heat and a better alternative to locking yourself up in a AC room. Couple of hours during midday can get really hot and you wont see much activity going on around at this time even in markets.
At evening we ventured out to the lively streets of Pantai Cenang. There is an Indian restaurant down the Jalan Pantai Cenang (street) called Taj Mahal Restaurant. A safe bet for vegans, it serves Indian & Arabic cuisine. I was craving for some Roti & Dal after these many days away from my Indian diet and wasn’t disappointed. The food was soul satisfying.
Roaming around the Jalan Pantai Tengah I went to check out the duty free malls there. Mainly intended to look for Chocolates. Besides a few varieties of dark chocolates I could not find many vegan chocolate varieties. I observed almost every popular processed food you buy in this country will invariably have palm oil in it and so did the chocolates.
Day 3 at Langkawi started with a lazy breakfast at the resort. One thing I was super thankful for was the large variety of fruits in the buffet. Perfect food to start the day. Other than fruits there was salad, a bread counter, a noodle soup counter some local sweets but most of the other things had either eggs , seafood or meat in them. I took advantage and detoxed my body with a large helping of fruits every morning 🙂
After a late breakfast we ventured out only early evening to grab an even more late lunch. Not a great idea because due to Ramadan most eat outs were closed at the post lunch hour and would open again only in evening. We were surprised by sudden showers which made us run and pick the first spot we could find open. Lunch was at Secret Recipe – apparently a famous chain in Malaysia. The display had an amazing variety of cakes something that always grabs my interest ! The place had very limited veg options. After specifying no egg no dairy I ordered my meal of veg fried rice and veg satay for 16 RM . The Satay was made from soy mock meat and coated with flavorful bread crumbs. For a mock meat lover the soy veg satay would be quite interesting.
We hired a car and decided to drive around places on our last evening in Langkawi. Lunch was however dis-satisfactory even for my friends and the first stop we made was at a Ramadan food market. A variety of foods were being sold in the stalls by locals. Most of food wasn’t vegan but my friend helped me find some interesting local sweets here which are accidentally vegan. The dessert is called Kuih which exists in different varieties. It is usually made with glutinous rice flour and coconut milk sometimes flavored with pandan leaf which is a famous flavoring leaf in Malaysia. Some are made with tapioca , coconut milk and palm sugar. It is a really interesting dessert – Sticky and starchy. In general some of the desserts vegan can try in Malaysia are Cendol , Gula Melaka, Kuih, Ondeh-Ondeh , Putu Bambu are the few I got to know of. On my trip I could try only Kuih , Cendol is something I’ve already tried in Bengaluru. It can be quite confusing to communicate with the locals about ingredients, most of the desserts look alike but not all are vegan! Here is a guide I found which will help you make your choices right!
I am really excited looking at all these Asian desserts and so inspired to try making some of them on my own perhaps veganizing some 😀 .
I noticed there was so much use of plastic in all such local markets. Food is directly put into small plastic bags. Even Juice! As a conscious traveler you may want to carry your own things to reduce your plastic use especially if you stay on for long vacations. Solid food to be eaten right away can always be taken on a paper napkin. Always carry a reusable eco-friendly bag while shopping. Make a statement carrying your own bag and bottle of water everywhere!
Our drive to the beach was beautiful and exciting. Its was raining all through and we had picked a semi automatic car with no clutch. None of us had driven such a car and it was fun to drive and even to ride in as a co-rider 😀
I choose Red Tomato to dine at on the last night in Langkawi. It was reviewed by some vegans to be Vegan friendly. Ordered Pasta Mexicana which was spicy, flavorful and yummy, it was loaded with avocados 🙂 . Enjoyed their service and was happy to find a place which was familiar with the concept of vegan food.
My vacation to beautiful Langkawi had come to an end and the next day we caught a morning flight to Bengaluru from KL. It was a lovely trip filled with exciting activities. I was super busy before taking this holiday and went on it with no expectations and zero planning. Almost all my research was on the go. But I made good use of my one week 🙂 fun memories, tasty food, new vegan connections and a lot of inspiration. And also a lot to go back for! 🙂
Travel is close to my heart and I am so glad for this vacation I could finally take. I was travelling with non vegans but I easily managed to find my food and grab a bite of the vegan in Malaysia 🙂 . I spent a few moments alone in KL and also in Langkawi wandering by myself and it has given me confidence to do a solo travel ! Even without much planning I could easily work my way around and find myself a variety of vegan foods! So if you do plan, I am sure this place will embrace you with a lot more vegan goodness 🙂 Do share your vegan stories from Malaysia !
Love to All,
Photo credits – Shweta Rao, Tiarenla Jamir , Ekta Minocha