The Best Vegan Food Court in Malaysia
We love to eat in a local vegan food court in Melaka, called Yummy Garden, which not only has a brilliant name but also has to be the best of it’s kind in Malaysia, if not in all of South East Asia – it has great food, it’s clean, busy, full of characters and even has free wifi…
As you may have guessed our vegan food court is actually a food court that has a number of vegan options. When you’re travelling like us, this is more than enough for us to officially declare it a ‘Vegan Food Court’…
At Yummy Garden the service is super efficient on account of the fact that everyone who works here seems to operate at some kind of supersonic speed. It’s a great place to spend the evening eating, drinking and watching the world go by.
We never thought we’d find such great vegan food in a place like this which is mainly set up to offer meat, fish and egg laden dishes to the locals, but we were very happily surprised.
On one of our first visits to Yummy Garden, we met Jessica and Eric who are from Sabah and who run a stall in the food court. It just so happens that they serve a vegan nasi lemak ‘Sabah Style’, which Jessica tells us means the rice is cooked in turmeric instead of coconut milk.
Nasi lemak or ‘fatty rice’ is Malaysia’s national dish and unless you’re getting it from a vegetarian restaurant, it’s never vegan. It always comes with sambal that contains shrimp, which is the key part of the dish in most Malaysian’s eyes, some meat and an egg on top. But Jessica makes a vegan version with 5 spice tofu and it’s really, really good.
The rice is steamed and nicely flavoured with turmeric, the peanuts are crunchy, as is the fresh cucumber and the cabbage dish on the side is soft and tasty with carrot, jelly mushroom and garlic. And then you get to the 5 spiced tofu, firm yet juicy and full of flavour; it makes this dish perfect.
Normally vegans are pretty satisfied if we can find one tasty dish we can eat somewhere; this isn’t a lifestyle you adopt because you want to be spoiled for choice after all (although we love it when we are!).
Not only can we eat vegan nasi lemak at our local food court, but we have also discovered ‘tauhu sumbat’ or stuffed tofu and it’s just 3 RM or 55 Great British Pennies!
Tauhu sumbat is so simple and yet so tasty: lightly fried firm tofu, sliced in the middle and stuffed with bean sprouts and cucumber, sprinkled with chopped peanuts and then drizzled with spicy chilli sauce. This dish is a tofu lover’s dream.
Add your tauhu sumbat to some ‘thai style’ vegan fried rice and you have a very nice meal indeed. We aren’t sure what makes this rice particularly Thai, (the pineapple perhaps?) but we were happy to be able to get this vegan version made as it goes really well with the tofu.
As if the Yummy Garden Food Court wasn’t already perfect for us, it just so happens to have a bar (that serves vegan Tiger beer) which is run by the craziest bar staff we have ever met, Sam and his team are full of energy as they move around the food court in a kind of dynamic whirlwind, smiling and oozing positive energy.
We will miss Yummy Garden as it became our second home whilst in Melaka and is everything a food court should be: full of life and full of great vegan food. It’s definitely top of our list when our travels take us back through this wonderful part of Malaysia in the future.
You can find Yummy Garden on Jalan Ujong Pasir in Melaka (it’s well worth the trip out of the main tourist area for a night out with the locals).