Green and all things healthy

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Raku Raku’s Golden Roll.

QUESTIONS always arise when it comes to dinner or lunch dates — not from my partner who’s a vegetarian — but more often from friends and family. Truthfully, there have never been issues over dining since there is a myriad of vegetarian restaurants that serve dishes even non-vegetarians will enjoy. Here is a list of my top 10 picks of vegetarian restaurants in the Klang Valley.

#10: Moon Garden (MG) Café: Vegetarian Café and Bakery
I walked into this café by chance one hot afternoon. I looked through the menu for a cold drink but was pleasantly surprised by the variety of dishes from local offerings like Nasi Kunyit to Western dishes like pizzas and even cakes for dessert. That day, I had a glass of iced Roselle but needless to say, I kept frequenting the restaurant to try more things on the menu. My personal recommendations are the Raspberry panna cotta, Satay and Pumpkin rice with Tomato and Mushroom.
Price range: RM20 to RM25 per pax
Outlets: Hartamas, Taipan, Uptown
Website: http://www.mgscafe.com/
Tel: (03) 2300 3118 (Hartamas) (03) 5631 3023 (Taipan) (03) 7733 5152 (Uptown)

#9: Love Health Vegetarian Restaurant
I was having a bad spell of tummy upset and was desperately looking to eat something besides the cream crackers and plain bread with tea I was advised to the entire previous two days. My better half suggested this place saying it might have what I was looking for and he was right. I had a soothing bowl of vermicelli noodle soup that the manager specially made for me with less oil and it calmed my stomach down. On my second visit, I tried the Hokkien mee and found myself forgetting that it was a vegetarian dish — it was that good. However, the restaurant primarily serves Chinese rice and noodle dishes with mock meat.
Price range: RM20 to RM25 per pax
Outlet: Jalan PJU 5/15, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Web site: https://www.facebook.com/Love HealthVegetarianRestaurant/info
Tel: (03) 6148 1346

#8 WTF (What Tasty Food)
This is an Indian restaurant that serves everything from soups to burritos to various types of roti. And, they are all freshly made, so it might take some time for the food to be served but you will not be disappointed. While waiting, you can choose to play a board game that the restaurant readily provides or exercise your drawing skills on the mahjong paper that doubles as a table cover. Because their menu has such a wide range, one might not be sure what to order. And it allocates a section of its menu for instances like these.  The “mystery” section aptly states: ‘Anything, Everything, I Don’t Know and Something’. The chef will decide what to serve; the patron just needs to be adventurous.  I had the ‘Anything’ and for starters, I ordered tacos. The tacos were really fresh and filling which left little space for my ‘Anything’ that comprised two puris and chick pea dhall. The puris were soft and flaky, just how puris should be. I’ve yet to try the desserts, but I have been told they are must-try items.
Price range: RM30 to RM35 per pax
Outlet: 98, Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.
Web site: http://www.wtfrestaurants.com.my/index.html
Tel: (019) 2617 070

#7 Chayo Café
This is truly a must-try restaurant. Tucked away in Kelana Jaya off the LDP, the ambience in Chayo is not only calming and peaceful but reading the menu itself will make you drool. As a fan of jeera rice (cumin rice), it pleases me that Chayo serves one of the best jeera rice I have tasted in the Klang Valley. Its side dish, like raita, (yogurt with shreds of onion, cucumber and carrots) simply completes the meal. Another dish which will make an impact on the palate is the butter chicken. Creamy, rich and buttery, the dish has all that is needed to make believer out of a non-veg eater. I have no words to describe the joy of sipping its signature Punjabi Masala tea. You will have to try it yourself. The restaurant also has a lunch and dinner buffet that is very friendly to the wallet.  It also offers egg-free desserts, which are equally tasty and easy on the palate.
Price range: RM20 to RM25per pax
Outlet: 50-1 Kelana Mall, SS6/14 Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya. (opp Giant Mall, Basement Carpark)
Website: http://www.chayo.com.my/ or https://www.facebook.com/chayocafe/info
Tel: (03) 7806 2675

#6 My Vege Steamboat
The one thing I found surprising in vegetarian restaurants in KL is that whatever that is available in the non-veg diet, there will be the same options for vegetarians as well. This steamboat restaurant has all types of mock meat, vegetables and of course mushrooms that are boiled in Tom Yam or herbal soup. The shop is spacious and very colourful which exudes a cheery vibe. If you are having a bad or moderate day, the ambience in this restaurant is sure to turn your mood around.
Price range: RM25 to RM30 per pax
Outlet: G-20, Jln Puteri 4/9, 47100, Puchong, Selangor
Web site: https://www.facebook.com/myvegesteamboat/timeline
Tel: (012) 3200 996

#5 Loving Café Sri Petaling
Again, I was introduced to this place by my better half on one of his surprise dinner dates. But, I have no complaints. Serving a variety of dishes from Chinese, Italian and Asian Fusion cuisine to snacks like burgers and sandwiches, Loving Café also offers a good range of beverages from teas to smoothies. My favourite dish, however, is the butter mushroom. The steaks and sandwiches are also worth the money.
Price range: RM25 to RM30 per pax
Outlet: No 23, Jalan 13/149L, Bandar Baru Seri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Web site: https://zh-tw.facebook.com/pages/Loving-Cafe-Seri-Petaling/125900467504538
Tel: (012) 3138 221

#4 Raku-Raku Vegetarian Steamboat Japanese Cuisine
This restaurant took me by complete surprise — a very pleasant one. The restaurant I initially had in mind was closed and I felt adventurous when I saw vegetarian Japanese dishes. The sushi that came six in a pack complete with wasabi and pickled ginger was unexpectedly good. Instead of the normal salmon or tuna, it had fresh mangoes, avocado and a vegetarian version of the California roll. It also had hand-rolled made-to-order sushi, pizza, ramen, udon and a full-on steamboat menu. They also have bento sets that have a rice dish, a small bowl of ramen, and a choice of a side dish with a drink. I had the Katsu Curry Chicken set and had no complaints.
Price range: RM20 to RM25 per pax
Outlet: No. 51, Jalan SS22/11, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: (03) 7726 4626

#3 Gandhi’s Vegetarian Restaurant
Tucked away in the heart of the city is this restaurant that serves the best vegetarian burger and satay I have ever tasted. It is so addictive it’s not even funny (because the satay is made of mock meat which equates to high sugar levels). The burger looks small but it is so filling and it tastes like the roadside burgers Malaysians are so accustomed to. The Quesadilla and the Masala Tea are must-try items.  Gandhi’s also offers a full range menu of rice, noodles and snacks. It also has a lunch buffet and is open till late.
Price range: RM20 to RM25 per pax
Outlet: Ground floor, 28 Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Web site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gandhis-Vegetarian-Restaurant/228968530504442
Tel: (03) 2273 3190

#2 Tian Pin Vegetarian Restaurant
I wasn’t particularly hungry, but my better half insisted that I try the food in this place. I went along and as I stepped into the place, I became hungry immediately. The smell of asam fish was the catalyst to my sudden hunger. Along with the asam fish, I tried the Singapore mee hoon and sweet and sour chicken. It was delish! The ambience was  calm and the staff friendly. I enjoyed my dining experience though I wasn’t prepared to eat a whole meal.
Price range: RM15 to RM20 per pax
Outlet: No 53, Jalan 20/7, Paramount Garden, 46300 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: (03) 7874 3660

#1 Niche Vegetarian Restaurant
And, the numero uno! Nothing beats the Tom Yam fried rice from this place  —  for me, at least. Dishes like butter prawns, abalone mushroom and Thai fish are not only sumptuous but also totally worth the money and the dry curry wantan mee is also very good. I can go on and on with the list from this place but I would rather you go try it for yourself.
Price range: RM15 to RM20 per pax
Outlet: Jalan 14/22, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: (03) 7956 0088

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 13, 2014.