OCTOBER 2022: Due to COVID we were unable to travel for nearly two years, which means it’s been impossible to update our vegan travel guides. Therefore we cannot be sure if the below restaurants are still open, so please contact them directly to check. As travel has now restarted we will be updating guides accordingly, but in the meantime please check out the excellent HappyCow, which you can find via the link at the bottom of this vegan guide.
Published August 2018
Johor Bahru is the southernmost city in Malaysia and often overlooked by tourists and travellers alike, our Vegan Guide to Johor Bahru shows you where you can find tasty vegan and plant based food when you’re in town and also a couple of suggestions as to where you can stay. Currently undergoing mass development and investsment we believe Johor Bahru offers the perfect location for a night or two if you’re en route to Singapore; from the central business district of Johor Bahru to downtown Singapore takes little over an hour as long as you avoid peak times. We’ve even stayed here when we’ve had meetings in Singapore, avoiding the very high room rates in Singapore and finding much better value for money in Johor Bahru.
Although situated a little way from the town centre this restaurant is well worth a visit. Delicious Indian vegetarian buffet with super friendly staff including Mr Krishnan who we had a very nice conversation with during our visit. It’s located in an old wooden house which is also home to ‘The Temple of Fine Arts’ where thy teach traditional music and dance to students from 7 to 70 years old. The place has a lovely feel and is mainly run by volunteers, they operate a “pay as you wish” policy for their food which is amazing considering how good it was. Worth checking out for sure.
Chinese vegetarian food situated on the 5th floor food court in the same building as DoubleTree Johor Bahru. Simple but tasty selection of vegetables, tofu, rice and a soup for 6.50 MYR. Close to the border crossing for anyone heading to Singapore and perfect if you’re staying in the hotel.
We headed to this Chinese Malaysian vegetarian food stall to check it out en route to the border crossing, it’s only 5 minutes walk from the City Square immigration entrance so perfect before heading to Singapore. There were so many choices it was overwhelming with multiple curries, vegetables and mock meat to choose from. Everything was vegan with eggs available to add to your food extra, from what the friendly owner explained none of the dishes have egg inside (or onion for that matter due to the Buddhist nature of the food). All in all a very good buffet option where you can have your fill of traditional Buddhist Chinese Malaysian vegan food for just a couple of dollars…and they had vegan sausages too.
Noodle Face Johor Bahru City Square Lot MF-10 Level 03 Johor Bahru
Opening Times: 10am-9pm every day
Located in the City Square Mall this is an ‘Express’ outlet of the vegetarian restaurant of the same name at Jalan Austin Heights. Due to eating so much there was no way that eating more vegan food was possible but we swung past to check it out. Many of the dishes included egg but this clearly marked on the modern and concise menu. We loved the concept and would eat here for sure next time we’re in Johor Bahru.
Opening Times: 11am-3pm and 5pm-8.30pm closed Tuesday
This was the closest all vegan restaurant to where we were staying listed on Happy Cow. We arrived to find it closed despite the hours being correct, having jumped back in the taxi a staff member mysteriously appeared and opened up. Not sure how to describe the set up but it was a little strange with a feeling we were in someone’s living room despite a number of large tables set up in a restaurant style. A quick look at the menu and a chat with the staff highlighted that it clearly wasn’t all vegan (we’ve submitted an update to Happy Cow) but they were able to help us choose vegan dishes. We ordered braised tofu and vegetables with a sweet and sour soy meat fried rice and they were both just OK, we wouldn’t rush back but if you’re local to here then it might serve a purpose.
We’ve just returned after not staying for 2/3 years and we’re very impressed indeed. The staff team went out of their way to cater for us, arranging vegan food in the Exec Lounge and also showing us all of the options at breakfast in Makan Kitchen of which there were plenty. They were also happy to create a couple of dishes that were not on the buffet upon request. If you decide to stay here (remember it’s only an hour from the downtown Singapore) let them know in advance especially if you have lounge access, otherwise ask to speak to someone from the F&B team upon check in so they can arrange to help you at breakfast. We will return for sure, in the meantime here is our updated review of DoubleTree Johor Bahru.
Another great vegan friendly luxury hotel in Johor Bahru is the Renaissance which is part of the Marriott family of hotels and resorts. It’s a little further away from the centre of town and the border for Singapore but Grab taxis are plentiful and very cheap. We let them know in advance (as we would always recommend) that we were both vegan and they assured us they had it all under control, we’re happy to say they certainly did withbus enjoying tasty vegan food in both of their signature restaurants and in the club lounge. Here you can read our detailed review from Renaissance Johor Bahru.
Other Vegan Guides to Johor Bahru
We found a few other articles about vegan and vegetarian food in Johor Bahru that might also be helpful: