If you are a vegetarian and planning a trip to Malaysia, you will think hard about the places where you can find vegetarian food. If you ask me, vegetarianism as a concept is foreign to this country, but it is surprising to know that vegetarianism is very prevalent among locals. It is just that they like to eat their meat too along with the vegetable dishes. In my personal experiences, I have always struggled to find vegetarian food at top restaurants and hotels in Malaysia. All I end up finding is Indian vegetarian or continental vegetarian like pizzas, spaghetti, etc., both of which taste better in their respective countries of origin. But, I have never faced any trouble in finding vegetarian food at street stalls, mamak stalls or small restaurants (restoran).
Most of these places either have the daily platter served out in front of you or you can choose your ingredients and design your dish. The best part about such places is that they are cheap, the food tastes very good and it has a local flavor to it. I would never go to Malaysia to eat Indian food or to eat Pizzas or a sandwich. No offense to the others, but when I travel, I like to experiment with the local foods all meals of the day. If you are a pure vegetarian, you can stick with the vegetables and if you can eat eggs, then your options go up. Most of the Malaysian style places offer rice as the staple food, while at Mamak’s (Malaysian Muslims of Indian origin), they offer Roti Canai too. One can eat Sayuran (vegetables) and Telur (Eggs) with either rice or Roti canai. My favorites to eat with rice are Terong (eggplant) in sweet and sour sauce, Sayuran Kumis (Cabbage and carrots in a soupy broth) and Sayuran Kacang (Stir fired French beans and carrots). If you feel like eating a spicy hot meal, you can ask for Sambal Blachan to mix with your rice or noodles.
And once you have finished your meal, you can wash it down with Teh Es Susu (Ice tea with milk), Teh O (Plain hot tea), Teh Aliyah (Hot milky tea) or Air Bandung (Sweet and cold refreshing drink. Now, ain’t that a lot of options for the vegetarian to taste in Malaysian food? And that too available at every small town and village of Malaysia.
Courtesy: I was invited on this trip by Tourism Malaysia to attend the Chinese New Year Open House at Taiping.