a Vegan in Sabah _ Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, was actually a very pleasant surprise, through my stay I easily found really great places to eat.
I just need to start to say that KK has countless markets, all selling fresh fruit, juices, coconut water and lots of other local vegan delicacies.
I had no trouble at eating at the street markets either, the food was okay, nothing too extraordinary  but I appreciated that they could always veganise something for me.
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I’m going to start with my very favourite place of all, the Vege Garden.
The only reason I didn’t have all my meals there was just because I wasn’t always in the city and they are only open till 5pm.
This small eaterie located between an Orange Convenience store and a Tourism Operator, and it’s part of Wisma Sabah mall. the food is just amazing and it’s very affordable.
The owner is super friendly and is always happy to give you some advice about the food he has for the day, and if they have runned out of food they will arrange something for you. I loved this place so much that I had all my breakfasts there, a few lunches and even a couple of meals as a snack 😀 😀
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The Liew Chai Vegetarian has really delicious options of mock meat, and its very affordable.
If you are not a mock meat fan they also have a good selection of vegetables and tofu.
 This eatery is located in the middle of the food court on the lower ground floor of the Centrepoint Mall.
Beyond Veggie is located in the Suria Sabah Shopping Mall. Its a bit more sophisticated and modern and more expensive than the other ones a mention. Has a huge variety of dishes and desserts and the food is tasty.
Among all the food, the most surprising things we found on KK was the coconut jelly/pudding that is served in a coconut shell with the flesh of the coconut, I truly enjoyed it.
The green caviar (called also by Latok or sea grapes), that is a type of seaweed found in Sabah and Philippines. I found it at the Night market.
Interesting enough for the first time in my travellers life I just found many stalls selling fermented drinks and herbal teas with fungus.
 Other dishes we had:
Click here if you want to know what to do and visit at Kota Kinabalu and here if you are planning to visit the islands.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha
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Cameron Highlands_ what to do & where to eat

We got the bus from Ipoh to the cameron Highlands (18RM). It’s a beautiful journey but very hard for those who get sick easily, so get ready.

We decided to stay at Tanah Rata just because it has more affordable options of restaurants and hotels. Tanah Rata is no doubt the most convenient place but don’t expect a particularly charming place.

In town there are many shops/hotels offering tours, but we decided to go on our own. We looked at the different options like renting a bike or a scooter, but that turned out to be difficult. So we sticked with the last option available hitchhiking đŸ‘đŸŒ and I’m so glad we did, the people we meet were so nice and gave us lots of great tips. Hitchhiking was perfectly safe.

During the time we spend there we visited the Boh and the Bonet tea plantation were we did some trekking. The surrounding landscape covered in tea is beautiful. You can visit both for free.

If you like to hike there are many great jungle treks with streams and waterfalls to be found. You can also hike to the Peak of Brinchang Mountain and explore Mossy Forest. The views are breathtaking.

EAT:

There are some options available however don’t expect any food heaven 🙂

At Tanah Rata there are plenty of  indian restaurantes so banana leaf meals and dosas for all 😀 I specially recommend the Sri Brinchang and the restaurant Kumar both have some variety of vegan dishes and the food is quite tasty.

They also have a small evening market with a few local specialities, like the Apam Balik (pancakes with peanuts).

Nearby Brinchang we found a local not-for-profit vegan restaurant, and a great vegan buffet restaurant near the night market – Fu Guang Vegetarian.

The Night Market at Brinchang its good for cheap local food. They also have a weekend market selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

You can’t miss Cameron Highlands mostly if you like to hike, the other attractions probably don’t worth the time and money 🙂

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

A vegan in Melaka

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We attempted to go to the Night Market on Jonker Street but was choc-a-bloc with people, so we gave up on that, but not on the idea of finding a good market away from the heavy tourist wave. So we talked with a few locals and cycled to the suburbs to find a great market thrumming with locals and fresh vegan treats, and we also found a good small night market  with the best popiahs in the world 🙂

Malaysia is one of the easiest places in South East Asia to find vegan and vegetarian food, and  Melaka wasn’t an exception. You have great street food,  eateries and restaurants, among the places I tried, I do recommend the Soon Wong Vegetarian Restaurant,  the Mori Vegetarian Tea House, the indian restaurant Selvam Restrain, and the Veggie Planet 

Once in Melaka if you want to try something different and delicious don’t miss:

  • Lei Cha, a traditional hakka rice dish,
  • Roti canai,
  • mock meat,
  • fresh spring rolls (popiahs),
  • Barley drink,
  • one of this great sweets, kuih, ondeh-ondeh, putu piring (steamed rice flour cake with gula melaka filling), Putu Bambu (rice flour and shredded coconut with a filling of gula melaka), Apam Balik (pancakes filled with sweetcorn and peanuts),

To come to the point, we did a lot of really good eating, which always makes us happy. Malaysia and Melaka is full of foodie surprises…

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🚌 More about Melaka here 🚌

a Vegan in Sarawak – island of Borneo

Sarawak’s food is just amazing, and the only problem you will have being a vegan is not to gain 10kg 🙂

Kuching 

đŸŒ±Sin Wei Tong cafe – has a vegetarian stall, great food around 5RM per dish. some dishes have egg but can request without.

đŸŒ±Shun son yen – vegetarian restaurant  by kilo, with delicious food and fresh juices I paid around 15RM for my meal. Make sure you go early to have all the option still available because the food goes quickly. You can try a bit of everything.

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đŸŒ±Â water front –  there are food stalls and restaurants that have great vegan options.

đŸŒ±Zhen Xiang Zhai, delicious food and a good place to try the Sarawak laksa, they close at 3pm. A meal with drinks will cost around 15RM can can choose from the buffet or order off their menu.

đŸŒ±open marker – lovelly local place to explore.

đŸŒ±Food fair, at the time you are visiting Kuching check if they have a food fair, they have all kinds of food, but be prepared for a crowded place.

Bau

đŸŒ±Bau food court– One of the food stalls serves exclusively great vegan food but other stall still have a few options, have a look and ask around.

Other food in the region

💚Seri Muka – Malaysian sweet with rice with pandas leavesimg_1804

💚Steamed Buns –  easily find any food markets and street stalls. They have vegetarian fillings like – sweet been past,  Kaya, Pandan or black sesame paste.

💚Kendal, dessert made with coconut milk, green jelly noodles (rice flour)

💚ABC, made out of shaved ice and a variety of ingredients such as red beans, fruit, sweet corn, grass jelly, etc..

💚Ondeh-Ondeh, glutinous rice flour dumplings filled with ‘gula Melaka’

💚Sticky coconut rice with palm sugar and mango

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💚Fruit and Vegetables, don’t miss it …

💚Other treats

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

A taste of Vegan Thailand, testimony and tips

15I have been in Thailand twice, and visited the country from north to south, east to west and several islands from both seas. Thailand was the firsts country I visited in Southeast Asia and since then felt in love for that part of the globe.

If you are planning to travel there, be prepared to be astonished with its exotic, luxurious and unspoiled natural areas, colourful places, interesting temples, nice, smily and laid-back people, great weather, unbelievable beaches, maniac drivers, and at last but not the least THE FOOD….

From my personal experience, I need to say that’s fairly easy to have a vegan/vegetarian diet in Thailand. Even when you adventure yourself out of the big cities and you go to places that haven’t seen many Foreigners.

I found that being vegan in Thailand is often deeply respected as Thailand is a predominately Buddhist country.  There is a big prevalence of soy products, like milk and tofu, and traditionally Thai food doesn’t contain dairy, this includes desserts 🙂 so your main concern will mainly involve the use of eggs.

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Fruit stands, fresh markets, night markets and street stalls are very abundant. You will  have so many vegan options to choose from, that looks like heaven. All my meals included fresh veggies, fruit (so much fruit),  rice or rice noodles, juices and Coconut Water and may I say fruit again 🙂

The fruit is just amazing, you definitely need to try Mango, Mangosteen, Rambutan, Pineapple, dragon fruit, Custard Apple, Langsat, Longan, watermelon and Coconut.

The fruit is so delicious that I just couldn’t have enough of it… and you will understand why…

The only problem is what they cook with. They tend to use  fish sauce, oyster sauce, and shrimp paste a lot, so be careful, prepared and relaxed knowing that most of the times communication is not the best, so make sure you explain that you are vegan/vegetarian and you don’t consume shrimp paste (gapi), oyster sauce (sot hoi naag rom), and fish sauce (nam bplaa).  In some odd occasions I even needed to add that I don’t eat chicken too 😀

If you can’t communicate your needs and you’re feeling uncomfortable just politely decline and move on to another location. you will see that everyone will smile and be kind to you. I like to eat in the street stalls and markets, from my experience people is really nice and will try to do something for you even if is not in their “menu” but be prepared to be persuaded to have their normal dish because they think what you are asking is not going to be delicious 🙂 Try not to be to picky and expect them to cook using the same pans where they did the chicken, fish and shrimps.

jclassrestaurant_thumb4I found that the easiest way  is to  say that you follow a jay diet, which translates as strict vegan, but with no garlic and onions. So you can look for the national sign : a bright yellow flag with “Jay” (àč€àžˆ) written in red, looks like a 17. You can find this sign almost everywhere from restaurants, food stalls or supermarket packages. The restaurants are not to expensive and the food is great.

I found that looking for Taoist temples which have also restaurants is great as well, they are vegan, the price is usually low and they use lot of really delicious textured vegetable.

It’s also good to know that Thailand hosts a great annual national vegetarian festival called teet-sa-kan kin jay, so you can always try to travel during those dates  (9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar) you will not regret.

Happy Cow is a very useful tool to find restaurants.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Bali – Indonesia

Sofia Fernandes, is a 22 years old Portuguese women, that works in Cambridge in the tourism area. Sofia is very easy-going and sociable person that enjoys spending time with her friends, travel and do exercise. Last month she did her first solo travel to Bali – Indonesia. Have a read, and feel free to leave any comments and questions.

“Traveling solo was a life changing experience.

New cultures, new people, different costumes and food, you find yourself at home because everyone is so friendly.

Mainly, I consider it’s quite easy to find vegetarian options. They serve the typical fried rice or noodles with vegetables that is actually quite tasty. It usually comes with a fried egg on top, so if you are vegan, just ditch the egg. They have a vast selection of fresh juices that you can order for breakfast, so sweet, refreshing and all natural. My favourite was the watermelon juice that we got as a welcome drink in one of the places we stayed in. The locals are so welcoming and genuine, definitely fell in love with the people, always willing to help with a smile on their face. Since it’s a very poor country, they normally grow their own food, obviously everything is organic and tastier. We had the amazing chance to try home cooked food by one Balinese family and it was incredible. They offered a buffet with a lot of vegetarian options including tempeh and tofu so you wouldn’t miss out. They had the famous Bakwan Jagun which is basically corn fritter served with rice and chilli sauce, my favourite – Keripik tempeh pedas – thinly sliced tempeh, fried, and doused in spicy, sweet sauce and much more. However, they mainly eat pork and chicken. Kuta is probably the easiest place to eat because it offers a lot of different restaurants with different kind of food, it’s more western since it’s a very touristic place. I definitely recommend visiting, it’s a piece of heaven with a lot of healthy options!!”

 

photography – all rights reserved – Sofia Fernandes