So another MCO is upon us, meaning the option to ‘balik kampung’ is unfortunately unavailable to us. Similarly, visiting family and friends to ‘makan’ together in celebration of Hari Raya may not be possible for everyone due to inter-district travel being banned!

But guess what?

Even if you can’t ‘balik kampung’ or attend any open houses, you can still enjoy traditional Malay dishes through food delivery services such as GrabFood, Foodpanda and Beepit. Although many perceive Malay food to be unfriendly for vegetarians and / or vegans, mouth-watering options do exist so here’s a comprehensive list of traditional and typical Malay food you can enjoy:

 

 

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A post shared by BMS Organics Official (@bmsorganics)

BMS Organics Cafe was founded in 2007 and, since the start, has focused on providing customers with food free from artificial colouring, chemical preservatives, GMOs and MSG. If you avoid microwaves, then know that BMS Organics Cafe does not cook its food in microwaves at all!

If you’re craving: Curry Laksa

Location: Find a BMS Organics Cafe outlet near you (and double check that it’s the cafe)

Opening Hours: Varies depending on outlet

Order via GrabFood during MCO

 

 

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A post shared by HALAVEG 清真纯素 (@halaveg)

HalaVeg was founded by a local woman who decided to leave her high-paying job to start a vegan restaurant. Why? After 10 years of being vegan, she realised that more options for vegans were needed, which is why the slogan for HalaVeg is: everything you love made vegan.

If you’re craving: Nasi Tomato with Ayam Masak Merah (Ramadhan Special)

Location: LG07, Empire Damansara, 47820 Petaling Jaya

Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Order via GrabFood during MCO

 

 

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A post shared by The Hungry Tapir (@thehungrytapir)

The Hungry Tapir (THT) opened during the first MCO in Malaysia and, despite the challenges, has only gained in popularity due to its diverse menu that offers a fusion of flavours. If you want to know more about THT, then read our interview with the foundHer here!

If you’re craving: Satay

Location: Lot 135, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (closed on Mondays)

Order via GrabFood during MCO

 

 

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A post shared by Lauk Pauk : Urban Warung (@laukpaukrexkl)

Lauk Pauk is basically a warung that’s been urbanised. Literally nestled in the heart of the city, Lauk Pauk caters to meat eaters and non-eaters, so note that choices for vegetarians and / or vegans is limited compared to other options in this list. 

If you’re craving: Pajeri Nenas

Location: RexKL, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Varies depending on the day 

Order via Grabfood during the MCO

 

MediFood is run by a team of dietitians, nutritionists, and pharmacists with more than a decade of experience combined. While you can’t physically visit a branch right now, know that you can get professional advice on your dietary needs for free once the restaurant / store reopens.

If you’re craving: Mee Rebus

Location: Bangsar South, Damansara Kim, or Subang Jaya 

Opening Hours: Varies depending on outlet

Order via GrabFood during MCO

 

 

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A post shared by SALA Kuala Lumpur (@sala.kl)

Sala is known for its Tex-Mex cuisine but as the owner is local, he included Malaysian favourites in the menu. On Fridays, Bakso is available but normally sells out fast so if that’s something you’ve been craving, know that Sala is currently the only vegan restaurant providing Bakso. 

If you’re craving: Nasi Lemak with Rendang 

Location: Find a Sala outlet near you 

Opening Hours: Varies depending on outlet

Order via GrabFood during MCO

 

 

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A post shared by Simple Life (@simplelifemy)

Simple Life was founded in Malacca, 1992. Originally, it was a shop selling organic products and organic food. Following its success, Simple Life slowly started expanding and there are now 12 outlets across the Klang Valley, so check which outlet is closest to you by clicking the link below!

If you’re craving: Assam Pedas (labelled as Assam Seaweed Beancurd)

Location: Find a Simple Life outlet near you

Opening Hours: Varies depending on outlet

Order via GrabFood during MCO

 

 

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A post shared by 🍁Jean ジーン🍁| 日本びいき🎌📍Ipoh↔️PJ 🇲🇾 (@lijhuin)

Tze Erne was founded in 2015 based on the chap fan concept – essentially, a Chinese version of a warung. The menu is incredibly affordable and consists of mainly Chinese food but classic Malay items make an appearance, too. If you love salted egg yolk chicken, then the vegetarian version by Tze Ern is another recommendation! 

If you’re craving: Butter Chicken

Location: D3-G4-09, Publika, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Varies depending on the day 

Order via GrabFood during the MCO

 

Bonus: Even though Hijau is currently not available for dine-ins, keep it in mind for when the MCO is lifted as the pop-up buffet serves delectable vegan food. For now, a few dishes from the weekly buffet can be ordered via Thursdvys

 

 

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A post shared by Hijau 緑 (@hijaukualalumpur)

There was a time after The Game Changers premiered on Netflix where everyone wanted to try a plant-based diet and put its claims to the test. The eye-opening documentary showcased the strength of super-athletes, from a powerlifter to an ultramarathon runner, which purely came from plant-based proteins. This changed the way veganism was seen – vegans weren’t ‘weak’, and it wasn’t a fad diet to lose weight either. It has since made the term ‘plant-based’ go mainstream, securing the refreshed label a more prominent place in grocery stores, cafes and conversation.

If you’ve ever wanted to try being plant-based, but weren’t sure where or how to get started – Veganuary is here! The world’s largest vegan movement, started by a non-profit organisation of the same name, encourages people from all over the world to go vegan during January and beyond. A 31-day challenge, it aims to promote the bigger picture of veganism, which is the worldwide impact it has from protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering and improving the health of millions of people.

It doesn’t matter what diet you follow – Veganuary is for everyone! Don’t let living in a country filled with flavourful food, where cheap dishes usually end up being the most delicious, discourage you from going vegan. It’s not as bland as it sounds, and doesn’t have to be costly either. Here’s our beginner’s guide to the plant-based challenge, courtesy of our plant-based editor:

What Can’t I Eat?

Avoiding animal products (meat, fish, eggs, dairy and honey) doesn’t mean you have to give up big, juicy burgers or your lifelong love for cheese – there is a plant-based alternative for everything! From protein-packed tempeh patties to dairy-free cheese, they taste just as good and are guilt-free too.

Is It Nutritious? 

Did you know that every single nutrient we need is available in non-animal sources? Protein can be found in tofu, tempeh, nuts and vegetables; beans and greens tend to be calcium-rich; edamame, lentils and chickpeas can boost your iron intake; leafy greens are filled with omega-3 and omega-6; seaweed is the best plant source for iodine. However, vegans are advised to take B12 supplements. If you have health concerns, please speak to your doctor or a registered dietician before starting.

Will I Lose Weight?

Not all vegan food is healthy. As mentioned earlier, there is a plant-based alternative for everything, including sweet treats and snacks such as ice cream, donuts, cakes and cookies. Like all diets, it needs to be balanced in order to be healthy. Some people lose weight at the beginning because they aren’t sure about what to eat and end up eating less than usual. Start by planning your meals out, and remember – it shouldn’t be restrictive, it is simply a replacement.

Is It Hard To Eat Out?

More and more vegan options are becoming available, even Tealive sells oat milk now, but most restaurants are able to swap out food items for you. Here are my vegan restaurant recs:

What Should I Start With?

Try these small switches to get a better idea of how easy and affordable it can be.

What Happens If I Can’t Do It?

Don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s okay if you miss a meal or even a day. Just know that these seemingly small changes that you make to the way you eat can actually have a big impact on the world. Happy Veganuary!