Vegan Travel and City Living
What should you do when your vegan travel plans land you in a big city with endless opportunities and round the clock living? Simple, you eat…well you do if you are on a Vegan Food Quest and trying to find great vegan food around the globe!
Kuala Lumpur marked the beginning of a short spell of luxury accommodation on this leg of the VFQ and it was time to see if the vegan eating matched up to the more local haunts that TravelMush and I had been seeking out during the past few weeks.
Staying at the KL Hilton for 1 night and then the Doubletree KL for a further 5 nights, we were joined by family & friends from Europe which was very nice indeed having now been away from home for just over 2 months.
An abundance of lovely vegan food was sitting right under noses in the mall below the Doubletree KL, in a great, but not-for-budget-travellers supermarket called Jaya. There were endless vegan snacks and goodies (including vegan mayo, hummus, natural nut butters, tofu and marmite!) and a great advertising campaign which just needed a photo…
Day 1 of our KL city break saw us make a dash to the interestingly named Titiwangsa Stadium for the Asian Super Series Finals of Sepak Takraw. Sepak Takraw is a sport that is very popular in this part of the world and with TravelMush never wanting to miss the opportunity to watch live sport, off we went. Normally I’m only ever vaguely impressed by the sporting events I get dragged along to and I was all set to brave out the day but was quickly won over by the fact that Sepak Takraw is a beautiful mix of insane, flying overhead kicks and volley ball. It is both captivating, easy to understand and is now officially my favourite sport in the universe. Never have we enjoyed our press accreditation so much.
In between the endless vegan food our luxury hotel stays were providing, TravelMush and I did manage to seek out a simple vegetarian restaurant where traditional Malaysian food was easily veganised. We sampled Nasi Lemak for the first time and can confirm it was very good! We also had Laksa which was awesome but a bit dangerous as a picnic item on account of its soupiness (sorry the picture is before the soup sauce was added). Still, as we sat at the foot of the twin towers in the park next to the lake with our easily obtained Malaysian vegan food, I was a happy vegan indeed.
The other notable vegan eating opportunities in KL came in the form of Southern Indian delights (did I mention I love Southern Indian Food and could happily eat it every day of the rest of my life?).
We just love vegan Indian food
We hijacked an unsuspecting couple who have also set out on adventure like TravelMush and I and visited Little India where we suggested they try their first dosa and pani puri. They weren’t vegan but I like to think they their world was changed slightly that night as the beauty of a well cooked dosa was added to their food memories. Plus they were awesome company and meeting people like this is one of the things we love about travelling.
In between all the vegan eating, we had time to act on the advice of another fellow traveller who we met in the Cameron Highlands. She told us that the Museum of Islamic Arts was an interesting place to go and although I think that it probably wouldn’t usually have been on our list of things to do, we liked her so much when met her, that we decided to trust her judgement and set out to visit. We weren’t disappointed and it was one of the highlights of our trip to KL. It just proves the point that meeting like minded people and taking a leap of faith is a great plan and a bonus of independent travel.
Islamic Art Museum in Kuala Lumpur
After our sightseeing success of the Islamic Arts Museum we decided to perfect the art of being tourists and jumped on a train to visit the Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India (according to Wikipedia the source of all knowledge these days). I was hoping for a bit of culture, maybe a sense of spirituality or something like that but I was sadly a bit disappointed.
Firstly, I hate seeing tourists treat wild animals like a weird play thing by feeding them for amusement and a photo opportunity. I’m just funny like that. There are a population of wild monkeys who are very used to hoards of humans who supply them willingly or unwillingly with all variety of junk to eat. This amuses people climbing the 272 steps to the top no end, which annoys me because I think the sight of a monkey drinking Gatorade is really sad.
Secondly, the whole place was a bit dirty and smelt of wee, so there went the spiritual experience with the day being saved by nature intervening and providing an incredible sun beam bursting through the roof of the cave – not the greatest picture but hopefully you get the idea.
The fact that I got to eat lunch at a pure vegetarian and Jain restaurant where they literally had buckets of coconut chutney and sambar also kept me happy – I mentioned that I love Southern Indian food, right?
We visited Central Market to look around the tons of fake bag stalls but this was dangerous territory for people who are travelling long term and who hate carrying a heavy bag around. Having already sent a box of stuff home, TravelMush wasn’t about to let me fill up my bag with fake Kath Kidston purses… Sigh… and we managed to leave empty handed. Yes, empty handed… Which is a small but notable achievement.
We also spent a few hours admiring the Petronas Towers, which have to be the most photographed building in the city and can be stared at for as long as your neck holds out from all the looking upwards.
We were lucky that we had a few days of good weather when we arrived as during our last couple of days the air quality was so bad that you could taste the smoke in the air meaning that the towers were obscured and we didn’t want to be outside for long on account of not actually feeling like were were getting enough oxygen in our lungs.
Never have we been more pleased to board a budget Air Asia flight to get out of the city… Bali here we come!