From nasi lemak roll with grilled chicken thigh to Borneo laksa made with almond mylk, join the healthy cheaters' club with these healthy alternatives to Malaysian dishes.
Vegan, RM25; flexitarian, RM33
Instead of the usual santan, Ashley’s by Living Food make do with almond mylk instead, creating a nutty, creamy broth that’s not too different from the Sarawak laksa we all know and love. The soup is herby and minty with a peppery kick; there’s finely julienned carrots and cucumber for crunch; you get the healthier brown rice vermicelli; and the miso sambal adds an umami flavour rather than heat. You can also opt for the flexitarian option which replaces the grilled tofu and tau fu pok in the vegan version with prawns and omelette.
This classic dry curry gets a healthy makeover at Raisin’ The Roof. Instead of the usual chunks of beef, you get tender sweet potato and eggplant doused in a rich and spicy homemade rendang paste. It also comes with brown rice and cucumber, plus a welcome helping of cherry tomatoes on the side. While daging lovers might miss the meat, this rendang dish should bowl over the rest of us.
Here’s another interpretation of chicken rice, but with healthier ingredients and less carbs. Red rice is mixed with baby spinach, Japanese cucumber, onions, bean sprouts and poached chicken. For that classic flavour, it’s dressed with sesame soy and topped with fried shallots and spring onion.
Everybody loves a good fried rice, but at The Good Co, the term ‘fried rice’ is used very loosely. This vegan salad pot has mixed leaves, broccoli, carrot ribbons, air-fried tofu and homemade kimchi cauliflower ‘fried rice’, and is served with a kimchi marinade and honey dressing. It doesn’t remotely taste like fried rice, but it has the hallmark spicy, tangy, vinegary flavours that we find addictive.
This healthier nasi lemak is legit. You get everything you want: grilled chicken thigh, kampung egg, crunchy ikan bilis and peanuts, Japanese cucumber, romaine lettuce, and even a decent sweet-spicy sambal. The only difference (besides it being a roll rather than wrapped in a banana leaf) is that santan rice is replaced with nutty quinoa dressed with virgin coconut oil. All the flavours and textures are there; we must say, it’s rather convincing.