Ask most omnivorous diners about going vegetarian, and you’ll hear the common complaint that there aren’t many options beyond boring overpriced salads that only calorie counters indulge in. Over the past couple of years, however, KL’s vegetarian scene has improved substantially, driven by ethical diners and restauranteurs who have found ways to provide tasty and filling vegetarian meals. Here are a few of those dishes.
The popular vegetarian Indian restaurant on Lorong Kurau still pulls in the crowds, thanks to its evergreen ‘no MSG, no colouring and no eggs’ principle that results in lighter meals (no food coma here) that are downright delicious. Go for the standard thali set with three vegetable sides, dhal, rasam, papadum and salad, or opt for the G-Light version which serves smaller portions of the same thali at a cheaper price.
You really should give Real Food’s lentil croquette burger a try – it’s certainly less guilt-inducing than a burger from a fast-food chain, with ingredients that are sourced ethically and directly from farmers. The patty is no replacement for real beef, but it’s flavour- and nutrient-packed with roasted walnuts, mushrooms, quinoa, oregano and Himalayan lentils, topped with melted cheddar cheese and tomato slices (vegans can opt to have the cheese omitted).
This seemingly regular-sized rice bowl is packed to the brim with all sorts of ingredients of varying flavours and textures – think brown rice topped with thick slices of roasted pumpkin, tortilla chips, tofu, caramelised cashew brittles and more. It’s served with a side of mildly-spiced Thai coconut red curry, which you pour over everything for an extra boost of flavour. The dish is vegan, lactose-free and packs 740kcal, so you’re guaranteed to be stuffed.
Vegan nasi lemak. Yes, you read that right. Sala's vegan version of our national dish is infused with full-bodied flavours despite lacking ikan bilis (instead, it's dried mushrooms that replace the typical anchovies) and an egg. Here, you’ll get a scoop of white rice surrounded by cucumber slices, peanuts, sambal tempeh, sambal bilis, and even more sambal – but don’t worry, it isn’t as spicy as it sounds. Even the most steadfast ikan bilis fan will be satisfied with this vegan version.
Nasi lemak bowl, RM9; nasi lemak plate, RM12
Literally translated from Hindi as ‘veil with vegetables’, this is essentially an Indian take on a vegetarian pot pie. Sitting atop the palm-sized metal pot – just the right size for a single-serve meal – is a sheet of flatbread that covers a rich vegetable curry made with masala spices, carrots and long beans. The curry is mild but moreish, and you’ll find yourself lapping up every bit of the dish within minutes.
This comforting toastie is one of the best sellers at Kind Kones in Damansara Heights (formerly Raisin’ The Roof). Stuffed between two thick slices of wholemeal bread are generous helpings of roasted beets, chunky feta cheese, caramelised onions, rocket salad and pine nuts. The result is a winning combination that ticks all the right boxes: the savoury richness of the feta cheese is balanced out by sweet beets and onions, while the rocket and pine nuts provide that necessary contrast of crunch and bitterness.