Hello and happy Sunday!
Two weeks ago I got back from a two week holiday in Malaysia – one of the most incredible holidays I’ve been on. My boyfriend and I were invited to friends’ wedding and decided to combine the beautiful occasion with some exploring. While the trip was a bit of a headache to plan (so we much we wanted to do and see while not wanting to completely overload our schedule), we found the right balance between city and beach life, culture and nature, adventure and relaxation. In this post I’m sharing our favourite food spots for plant-based eating as well as our accommodation highlights (scroll down). There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get straight to it!
This hipster-y cafe around the corner from our apartment was just what we wanted on our first morning after almost a full day of traveling. While not particularly vegan-oriented, I was able to order a delicious breakfast after a few tweaks: a massive portion of highly satisfying avocado on sourdough (leaving out the feta and egg) with a soy milk latte and a bottle of their amazing home-brewed kombucha (reminding me what real booch should taste like: tangy, acidic and also slightly sweet). My boyfriend enjoyed his fruity granola bowl with soy milk (there was dairy yogurt with it, but this could easily be omitted). It was super relaxed and a great place to fuel up while planning our next steps.
Here I enjoyed my first real taste of Malaysia: a delicious, hot & spicy laksa with lots of veggies, tofu and tempeh. There was so much flavour and goodness in this bowl, some of which stayed with me in the form of tiny orange stains on my white dress… Afterwards I cooled down my palate with a divine dragonfruit smoothie. The menu was quite extensive and had several vegan options (dishes with egg were clearly marked) and I loved the focus on wholesome ingredients. The one we went to was located in a shopping centre, so definitely more of a lunch place.
Located on the third floor of a slightly rundown looking mall, you definitely wouldn’t stumble upon this place by accident! It’s absolutely worth checking out though as it’s a little vegan haven filled with good food, positive vibes and several random teddy bears. There wasn’t a huge menu, but everything was vegan so I still had a hard time choosing. I ended up going for rice with some sort of bean concotion – no idea what it was, but it was soft yet gloriously crispy and totally delicious! It arrived on a tray with cucumber pickle, a spicy sauce, fruit and a soy-based pudding. I also really enjoyed my hazelnut latte and picked up a few of their homemade vegan mooncakes ( ❤ ) to go.
Yes, I know sushi isn’t Malaysian and I know you shouldn’t go to the same place more than once when you have limited time BUT this fully vegan place was an absolute gem. We first discovered it in Georgetown, Penang (this shoe-free zone had a fun, eccentric and laid back vibe) and then went back to it in KL (this newly-opened branch in Bukit Bintang was more “trendy”, but also really relaxed). We ate our way through many items on the menu and were in raptures with each one – particular favourites were the seasonal mango rolls and the epic cakes. I don’t know what it was about their homemade vegan cakes (chocolate & vanilla) with whipped cream and jam / fresh fruit, but I don’t think I could ever get enough of them! What we also loved about Sushi Kitchen was the sustainable, wellbeing-oriented concept (wholesome ingredients, no chemicals, prevention of food waste, etc.). You can also buy their natural cleaning products made from leftover vegetables (in the KL branch).
Note: We also ate quite a bit of amazing Indian food in KL. No specific recommendations here, just go to Little India and you’re bound to find incredible vegan options!
Another one of the fully vegan places on this list, this is one we would definitely have gone back to if we’d had the time. It had a quirky interior, very friendly staff and incredible food, reminding us very strongly of our favourite haunt in Labuan Bajo, Flores from last year’s Indonesia holiday (Happy Banana 😉 ). We really liked the mix of traditional Malaysian and western food on the menu and had trouble deciding on what to order. I was very happy with my Nasi Lemak, which included red rice, tempeh and some sort of spicy mushroom stew. I had it with home-brewed kombucha and for dessert we shared a very memorable cacao brownie.
The restaurant also has a small shop section selling all kinds of lovely, sustainable products – perfect for gifts or your own use. I went away with three reusable silicone food storage bags as well as some silicone tops for covering dishes.
Nearby, on the opposite side of the street is another vegan restaurant (this neighbourhood definitely seemed like the place to be for vegans!) called Blue, which we sadly didn’t make it to.
Unsurprisingly located just two streets away from Pinxin and Blue (above), this was another little plant-based gem. I went for an insanely delicious choco chia parfait, which contained an entire vegan snickers bar (what more could you want!). My boyfriend went down the savoury route with a pizza topped with veggies and tempeh (also would have been available with a gluten-free base). It was super cute and another place we would have loved to go back to. The only negative point / curiosity was another guest holding a live broadcasted meditation session on his laptop from the table behind us. My boyfriend and I were alternating between rolling our eyes at his strange instructions and trying not to crack up at his loud displays of peculiar breathing techniques.
Right behind Wholey Wonder we discovered Pharm Hut, home of incredible water kefir, hidden behind lots of beautiful greenery. The lovely lady let offered us tasters of all the different flavours and we left with a bottle of dragonfruit and one of ginger kefir – I can highly recommend checking the Hut out if you’re in Georgetown!
This little cafe near Fort Cornwallis was a lovely spot for an early dinner after a day of lots of walking around Georgetown. It’s fully vegetarian and has nice, healthy Malaysian food. They also stocked vegan mooncakes (seasonal), so of course we tried one of those as well – super delicious!
Sushi Kitchen (see above)
A real “insta-cafe”, this place was in the style of some we’d seen in Bali the year before. Cute, calm and very pink with some green accents, it seemed like a little “insta-bubble” – in stark contrast to the more rundown exterior of the street it’s on. I had a delicious smoothie bowl and matcha latte while my boyfriend enjoyed the free wifi and water (he’d had breakfast at our hotel). I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to go back here again though: The other places were just too interesting and this seemed a bit soulless / uninspiring in comparison. Plus, there weren’t all too many vegan options. If you want good matcha and insta-worthy pink toast, this is the place to go though.
The Blue Mansion (Georgetown, Penang) – a historic gem, lovingly renovated and managed. Harmonious and with a high standard of service and comfort, I can’t recommend this place enough! (Just note: the food / breakfast is not particularly vegan-friendly. I didn’t make any special requests as we went to different cafes and restaurants while there).
1511 Coconut Grove (Tioman Island) – located on stunning Juara Beach next to a turtle sanctuary, this place was paradise. The cabins are very simple but comfortable and incredibly close to the beach. You can get vegan meals onsite (the vegan options were a bit limited in that area in general – think fruit, rice, curries & some bean curd – but then, you don’t go to Tioman for the food :D). It was a dreamy experience ❤
Club Med Cherating Beach – this was the location of our friends’ wedding. Beautiful, secluded beaches (we would walk and swim and not see anyone else!), a great adults-only Zen Pool area and in terms of food we were absolutely spoiled – so much variety and it was all-you-can-eat (and you better believe we did!).