Melaka Vegan Food and Culture
After our 2 month tour of Bali, it felt a bit strange landing in Kuala Lumpur again. We stayed for a few days and then took a 2 hour bus journey south to Melaka, a UNESCO World Heritage site where old meets new, East meets West and there’s amazing vegan food to be found…
We instantly fell in love with this place and clocked up an 11 night stay where most people just pop by for the weekend. Melaka is a beautiful mix of old Chinese, Malay, Indian, British, Portuguese and Dutch heritage buildings which make up the old town and Portuguese Settlement area; giant modern shopping malls filled with Western brands where the icy air-conditioning is initially a happy relief from the heat but then quickly chills you to the bone and amazing delights like finding another place to add to the ‘favourite drinking spots in the world’ list.
We loved Doris-Lee’s bar, tucked away in the back streets of Chinatown, where her family have been serving up boozy refreshments to the locals for over 70 years
Not forgetting the most weird, wonderful, and utterly fabulous rickshaws in the world, that drive around (sometimes on mass) blasting out loud music and glowing from the light bulbs that cover them. 11 days of suggesting it and I still couldn’t get Paul to go in one with me… I am seriously losing my touch.
I’m still plotting ways of getting Paul to take a ride in one of these with me…
All of this would be useless though, if the food wasn’t up to much (sorry but that’s just the way it is here at the Vegan Food Quest). Luckily, Melaka is a great place to go if you want vegan food (huge sigh of relief).
Melaka, you have definitely got it going on
Awesome Street Food – especially the different varieties of ‘kuih’ made from rice flour, coconut milk and ‘gula Melaka’ palm sugar. Finding kuih (and then eating them) has become a favourite Vegan Food Quest pastime with daily tasks that involve seeking out new places for ‘ondeh-ondeh’, or trying ‘putu piring’, finding their way onto our ‘to do’ list.
Ondeh-ondeh – little rice flour dumplings filled with runny ‘gula Melaka’ coconut palm sugar and rolled in fresh coconut
Putu Piring – steamed cakes made from rice flour, coconut and gula Melaka sugar…would be perfect with some vegan custard
Kuih with no name – we just can’t seem to find out the name for this sticky rice in coconut milk, with a coconut and gula Melaka topping, steamed in a banana leaf (the blue streak comes from a purple flower apparently)
An Outstanding Indian Restaurant called ‘Selvam Restoran’ – (there are others but only one that deserves this accolade) where the food is fresh, tasty and plentiful, not to mention cheap and served by a lovely bunch of people. Indian restaurants (especially Southern Indian) are often the place to go for vegan food and is always one of the places we try to find upon arriving somewhere new
Hard to resist these little deep fried ‘parippu vadai’ flavoured with chilli, curry leaves & fenugreek seeds
Unlimited curry that tastes amazing and is served on a banana leaf for 80p? Oh OK then…
The Vegan Food Quest love affair with the Southern Indian Dosa continues, these were especially good as you could help yourself to extra chutney
Chinese Vegetarian Restaurants – (several of them) where you can fill up on vegan food including mock meat if that’s your thing (it is ours, occasionally, even though we secretly think it might not be good for you.
2 dishes of your choice with rice for 80p
Tasty, vegan and admittedly a bit of a guilty pleasure
Veggie Planet – an up market vegetarian restaurant selling healthy Malay cuisine that serves the best vegan laksa we’ve had which I can only describe as spicy, rich, sour, soupy, flavoursome and fresh. Not only was the food at Veggie Planet exceptional but the staff were really friendly and had created a very peaceful and calm escape from the craziness outside. Plus they were really passionate about the vegan food they served and you can’t ask for more than that.
The best vegan laksa in Malaysia? We think so…
A lovely gentle reminder
Juice Heaven – get yourself over to the mall and there’s a juice bar and a few places selling vegan sorbet. We happily sipped on carrot, ginger and orange juice before the air-con chills set in.
All vegans should be treated to regular fruit and vegetable juices
My Favourite Kind of Shops – we love a good health food shop, one where the shelves are stocked with all sorts of whole foods, super foods and general vegan goodness.
There are a few good health food shops in Melaka, which as you’ll all know is very important for the travelling vegan (imagine the excitement at being able to stock up on chia seeds and other goodies).
The magic ingredients to our chia seed porridge which is the perfect breakfast for a travelling vegan
The Vegan food Quest favourite health food shop in Melaka, an Aladdin’s cave of vegan goodies
In short, we did a lot of really good eating, which always makes us happy. In fact we were so happy in Melaka we decided to schedule in a 6 week visit and have rented a lovely apartment…But first we had just a little more adventuring to do.
Tioman island – the Vegan Food Quest is coming your way!