According to Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, State Domestic Trade, Consumer and Religious Affairs Committee Chairman, Penang is turning into a new hub of vegetarian cuisine in South-East Asia. Speaking at the 2012 International Meatless Day Charity Carnival he said that there was an increasing demand for “meatless” food.
Penang is a small island offering many different cuisines and now there is a vibrant vegetarian food scene. A paradise for non-meat eaters. There are so many veggie food places to choose from: Chinese, Indian, Western – take your pick.
Gone are the days when veggie food consisted of overcooked vegetables, limp salads or a cheese omelette. Now you can find tasty and creative veggie food that will have customers returning again and again. Here are three that are recommended.
Idealite advertises itself as Malaysia’s 1st wholesome dining place. As you step inside it certainly looks bright, clean and inviting. Idealite’s philosophy is on tasty, fresh food that is healthy and nutritious. They don’t use white sugar, white salt, MSG, synthetic colourings or preservatives. Instead they use whole grains, brown sugar and rock salt.
Choose from some amazing looking salads such as curry tofu salad, coral salad with yogurt and walnut veggie salad. Appetizing side dishes include sushi and popiah rolls. Mains include a variety of rice, ramen and noodle sets. Try the nasi lemak, one of their signature dishes.There are also some interesting looking desserts, juices and drinks such as pumpkin barley to choose from. A very healthy and wholesome dining experience.
Address: 27C Gottlieb Road, 10350, Penang. (beside Waterfall Hotel). Business Hours: 8am – 3pm, 6pm – 8pm. Closed Monday.
Located on Jalan Chow Thye, close to That Little Wine Bar, is JanxDen Lifestyle Cafe. This small cafe with a cool green and white interior, promotes a healthy lifestyle using organic ingredients and no MSG.
Their menu consists of mainly western cuisine with appetizers including Singapore pai tee, Vietnamese spring rolls, Italian tomato bruschetta, sushi and soups. Mains include tasty looking pasta dishes, thin crust pizzas, rice and noodle dishes, sandwiches and even an all day breakfast with veggie sausages and egg. For those with a sweet tooth there are some yummy looking eggless cheesecakes. They also have some interesting fruit enzyme drinks and the popular roselle juice. This veggie cafe is a hidden gem and deserves to be explored.
Address: 21 Chow Thye Road, 10050 Penang. Business Hours: 9.30am – 9.30pm daily.
This unassuming Indian restaurant in Tanjung Bungah is not entirely vegetarian, but deserves to be mentioned as they have a great vegetarian self-service buffet section. You can also order things like roti canai and dosas off the menu board. Frequented by many expats in the know, the food is both tasty and plentiful and the beer cheap (allegedly).
The vegetarian buffet section has a variety of appealing looking vegetable dishes, tofu, dhal, samosas and vadais to choose from. They also do a great mango lassi and spicy masala tea. There are tables inside and out and an air-con dining room next door. I would recommend going at lunch time as often food runs out later in the day.
Address: 9 Tanjung Bungah Park, 11200 Penang (road opposite Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel leading up to Horizon Tower). Business Hours: 11am until 11pm. Closed Monday.
It’s easier than ever to be a vegetarian in Penang with so many dedicated and veg friendly eateries to choose from. It’s a good sign that there is an increasing demand for vegetarian food whether its for health or animal rights reasons. Penang is certainly rising to the occasion by becoming a “new hub” for vegetarians. This vegetarian is certainly living in paradise.
For more details of vegetarian food in Penang check out my post on a trip around vegetarian Penang.