Last year, I wrote a vegan food guide to Malacca in light of a week spent in this charming UNESCO World Heritage city. Malaysia is one of the easiest places in South East Asia to find vegan and vegetarian food, and I was thrilled to be back in Malacca this year to see what I had missed the first time around. As it turns out, I missed a lot! Below is a new and revised, more complete guide including restaurants and self-catering options. There are still a few places I failed to visit, so who knows, maybe there will be a take-three next year!
I felt I hit the vegan jackpot when I started researching restaurant options in KL. Unfortunately I was only supposed to stay a week, so I did some elimination and curated a list of the places that I thought sounded the best among the lot to make things easier. Even then, I was only able to visit a handful of restaurants, but since a few people have asked me if I was going to make a vegan food guide of KL, I thought I would share with you the list and hire the help of a few fellow bloggers to describe the places I unfortunately couldn’t visit. Those were in my mind the restaurants the most worthy of a visit, and I am dying to try all of them! Here they are, in no particular order.
Ashley’s is the more laid back sister of Living Food Bistro and Café, which I reviewed a few days ago. Located in KL’s trendy Bangsar neighborhood amongst lovely shops and cafes and a few minutes’ walk from the Bangsar Village 2 shopping mall, it has the unmistakable warmth of a passionate family-owned business. If Living Food felt like an oasis in the middle of the corporate world, Ashley’s is definitely its after hours, loosened-tie counterpart. Its cool interior, cool music, cool waiters (coincidentally my waiter was also Canadian!) and cool ambiance all lend themselves to lingering and feeling on holiday, even on a weekday.
I stumbled on Living Food Bistro & Cafe by accident as it is located in the same building as the Canadian Embassy in Menara Tan & Tan on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur. I immediately felt compelled to look at the menu – “living food” to me is food that hasn’t been killed by over cooking and that still brims with enzymes, nutrients and, well, life! That is how I ate back in Montreal when I had a kitchen and how I strive – but not always succeed – to eat on the road. I am so glad I got to sample some of the menu at Living Food and put a little mojo back in my diet, even just for one meal.
Kuala Lumpur is one of those places where, in the midst of a meat-eating nation, you barely have to scratch the surface to unveil an exciting health-minded paradise ripe for exploration. This week is all about #CleanEatingKL! A few days ago, I was able to visit Simple Life, a little chain of vegetarian restaurants who has healthy eating as its core value and is making Kuala Lumpur all the more exciting for me to explore.
Since I have been blabbering about laksa non-stop for about a month straight, I thought it would be appropriate to provide you with a recipe. Laksa is a mix of Malay and Chinese cuisine, a noodle soup that is traditionally made with fish. It is widely available in Malaysia, Singapore and in some parts of Indonesia. We have sampled several variations on the laksa, most of them made with a creamy coconut broth, but my favorite was the sour broth variant we found on Penang Island: the Penang Asam laksa, a unique and complex blend of spicy, sweet and sour flavors.
As you might have guessed from the quantity of blog posts that are already piling up here about Bali, we absolutely loved it. A LOT. And for many reasons. The one I’ll be discussing today is jamu, this traditional Indonesian medicinal drink that looks a bit like mango juice and that you might have seen popping up on several warung menus or in baskets on the head of the Jamu Gendong, these women roaming the streets selling their precious potions to the locals every morning.
With its abundance of wellness centers, spas and yoga studios, it’s no wonder Ubud has such a vibrant healthy, raw/vegan, and organic restaurant scene. And if you’ve been following us for some time, you’ll know that this is right up our alley! It is, in fact, one of the many reasons why we lingered around Ubud for so long.
Travelling to South East Asia doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with following a vegan diet in many people’s eyes. And with good reason : walk around Bangkok or Hanoi and you are likely going to see big cauldrons of pig’s rectum soup and duck beak stew simmering on the road side with sides of congealed blood and fried goat stomach. And unfortunately I am not actually joking. But take a bit of a better look past the grotty and grim, and you’ll soon find that there is a wide selection of food for the vegan and health conscious all around. Happy Cow is a great place to start your hunt for healthy grub, but just a poke around the market will reveal delicious and unexpected surprises.
The food in Cambodia was nowhere near as good as the food in Thailand, and the vegan options were also a lot more sparse. We had our fair share of rice and noodles with vegetables, and quite a few incidents of unsolicited eggs. One thing I realized early on in Cambodia is that, no matter how vegan something appears to be on the menu, always specify no egg or you might end up with a surprise. That being said, we did have some amazing food in Cambodia. From baguette, to durian, to tofu amok (a mildly spicy, coconut-heavy curry), to mango salad, we had some lovely exotic food – most of the time 😉