1. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS IS TOUCHING ME BEYOND WORDS AND HAS 100% RESTORED MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
I have not had to pay for accommodation in over a month and food has been provided for me along the way on several occasions. Whether it be friendly and generous Couchsurfing or Warmshowers hosts, friends met during or before the trip or people at private houses, police and gas stations or temples where I have clumsily asked permission to pitch my tent, the response has always been overwhelmingly positive. I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone that has crossed my path so far. Although I know this isn’t the reason why they are doing it, I cannot wait for the day I can pay it forward when I am in a situation to do so.
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 came to volunteer at a guesthouse in Malaysia as part of my rehabilitation into the single people club. I needed some time to pick up the pieces and to decide what my next move would be before starting to travel again. Things seemed like they were lining up for me without having to ask, so I took the opportunity that was presenting itself – all I had to do was to hit the reply button, say “I’m on my way”, pack my bags, and go start this brand new chapter of my adventure. Opportunities to volunteer at guesthouses like this are usually found through work exchange websites, but I was actually poached by a previous guesthouse owner where I had stayed a few months prior – so in my case it was just a matter of good timing. And as unable as I was to decide what was best for me – it was indeed the perfect timing.
Spending time in KL after backpacking through the rest of South East Asia is comparatively expensive. Of course nothing compares to Singapore, but food, accommodation and entertainment in the Malaysian capital are likely to leave a dent in your wallet if you are not careful. That is precisely what started to happen to me. I intended to spend only a few days in KL with a friend to try some vegan restaurants before moving on – but life had different plans for me and I found myself stranded in Kuala Lumpur for nearly three weeks with a rather empty bank account. I had to be crafty and come up with ways to make my stay cheaper. Turns out, it’s absolutely doable to stay in KL on the cheap! Here are a few things I discovered.
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.
The (vegan) cavewoman in me always worries about starvation. I worry there will not be enough food and never leave home without a gazillion snacks. As a health-minded person though, juice cleanses have always been on my radar, but thanks to the aforementioned, I’ve always been a little wary of them. I decided to give one a try anyway with the help of the good people at Lifestyle Juicery in Kuala Lumpur. Feel like doing your own juice cleanse at home but don’t know where to start? Check out these juicers reviews on Janes Kitchen Miracles.
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.