My second trip to Malaysia turned out to be a vegan paradise after a rough go the first time around in more remote places such as Cameron Highlands and Tioman Island. But, as with most major cities and tourists towns—the well-known spots around the country have plenty of veggie options and Melaka is no exception. What made eating vegan food in Melaka so fun was that the majority of plant-based eateries are spots serving up vegan versions of traditional dishes such as my favorite, nasi lemak. Here’s a guide to vegan food in Melaka, Malaysia.
THE GEOGRAPHER CAFE
I love me some nasi lemak, the national dish of Malaysia, and surprisingly the tourist favorite The Geographer Cafe (GoogleMaps)makes one of the best versions I’ve ever had. The rice has just the right hint of pandan and the beans are salted perfectly. It even comes with spinach and a hearty portion of peanuts and fish-sauce free sambal. My only complaint is that the tempeh is a bit crunchy, which seems to be the norm in Melaka, and I prefer it to be a bit softer. They have quite a few other vegan-friendly dishes on the menu as well.
SHUI XIAN SU SHI YUAN VEGETARIAN
This is hands down my favorite local vegan spot in all of Malaysia. I went here almost daily and tried so many of their dishes and they never disappointed, and even if they had, they’re each about $1. Shui Xian Su Shi Yuan Vegetarian (GoogleMaps) has a daily menu so the specials vary but there are some standard items that are always on the menu such as chee cheong fun. The family-owned joint has some of the sweetest staff ever—despite language barriers they knew when to bring me water and tissue when something was too spicy for me. They’re closed on Sunday and stop serving food by 2 P.M. each day so go early and go hungry. I didn’t get to try their nasi lemak, but it’s served on Saturday. Don’t miss the Assam Laksa on Thursday.
MORI VEGETARIAN TEA HOUSE
Mori Vegetarian Tea House (GoogleMaps) was my first meal in Melaka and it started my 2 weeks in the city on a delicious start. I reunited with one of my favorite travel buddies, Rose of Where Goes Rose, to chow down on some shared vegan plates. My girl loves to eat just as much as I do! We both raved about this sweet and sour jackfruit and the coconut eggplant curry was also divine. The portions here are huge so it’s a bit pricey than other spots but the quality makes it worth it. I didn’t love my laksa here—there are better spots to have it in town.
Botanist (GoogleMaps) is a gorgeous vegetarian cafe next to the Doubletree by Hilton Melaka. I wish I had the chance to eat here more than once. The matcha green tea, nasi lemak, and green juice were just perfect! It’s also a gorgeous cafe and since it’s outside of the city center the WiFi is fast so it’s a great spot for digital nomads in Melaka.
Green House (GoogleMaps) is a local Chinese Malay veggie spot has a gigantic menu with lots of super affordable options. Go ahead and order a few dishes to try! There are a lot of tempting fried dishes, so try to do a side of greens to balance things out. If you’re into mock meat this will be your favorite spot.
Indian Malay food is seriously drool-worthy and in Melaka the best spot for veg eaters is Selvam (GoogleMaps). There’s a daily banana leaf curry thali that’s all veg with rice, 3 curries, papadam, and some sauces (pass on the yogurt if you’re vegan—my favorite is coconut chutney) as well as biriyani and masala dosa that are vegan-friendly. Don’t forget to pick up on some coconut sweets.
Navy Cafe (GoogleMaps) cute cafe is where you can get your smoothie bowl fix in Melaka. They’re usually made with yogurt so be sure to specify that you’re vegan when ordering and they can whip you up a plant-based version. The WiFi is rough here, just like it is in all of the UNESCO area, but it’s a good spot to get a little work done.
JONKER STREET NIGHT MARKET
Vegan options at the Jonker Street Night Market are a bit limited. You can order noodle dishes such as Hokkien mee or carrot cake without eggs and fish sauce just be sure to keep an eye on the dish as it’s prepared. Nothing I had was extraordinary so maybe just go for coconut and stroll around. The market is just like most other markets in Southeast Asia and I’d honestly prefer to skip it. If you see a Mua Chee stall grab a bit of the gooey rice rolled in peanuts, it’s oddly delicious.
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Have you been to Melaka? What was your favorite vegan food in Melaka? Tell us in the comments.