A vegan in Melaka

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We attempted to go to the Night Market on Jonker Street but was choc-a-bloc with people, so we gave up on that, but not on the idea of finding a good market away from the heavy tourist wave. So we talked with a few locals and cycled to the suburbs to find a great market thrumming with locals and fresh vegan treats, and we also found a good small night market  with the best popiahs in the world 🙂

Malaysia is one of the easiest places in South East Asia to find vegan and vegetarian food, and  Melaka wasn’t an exception. You have great street food,  eateries and restaurants, among the places I tried, I do recommend the Soon Wong Vegetarian Restaurant,  the Mori Vegetarian Tea House, the indian restaurant Selvam Restrain, and the Veggie Planet 

Once in Melaka if you want to try something different and delicious don’t miss:

  • Lei Cha, a traditional hakka rice dish,
  • Roti canai,
  • mock meat,
  • fresh spring rolls (popiahs),
  • Barley drink,
  • one of this great sweets, kuih, ondeh-ondeh, putu piring (steamed rice flour cake with gula melaka filling), Putu Bambu (rice flour and shredded coconut with a filling of gula melaka), Apam Balik (pancakes filled with sweetcorn and peanuts),

To come to the point, we did a lot of really good eating, which always makes us happy. Malaysia and Melaka is full of foodie surprises…

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🚌 More about Melaka here 🚌

Don’t mess with Melaka

We landed in Kuala Lumpur and went straight away by bus to Melaka what takes approximately 2 hours, and we felt in love with this small appealing and pleasant town.

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Melaka was colonised by the the Dutch, Portuguese and British. The city has a rich history and to tells it proudly with it’s 14 museums 🙂 You can say that fusion is a good word to use when talking about Melaka, once you can find in this charming city  Christian churches, chinese and hindu  temples, mosques and red-brick buildings.

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Melaka is a UNESCO world heritage site and an exciting place to discover. You can easily walk to every point of interest, and if you want to go further you can always rent a bike. The city has great views, artistic buildings and streets. Although not to the extent of Penang there is a lot of street art to be found in the side street nearby the River.

The Dutch Square is the tourist centre, it’s buildings are painted red but more surprising than that are the colourful and noisy trishaws decorated with famous cartoon characters.

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The Jonker Street,  is the main tourist street which can be very crowded. The Ruins of St Paul’s Church are at the top of St Paul’s Hill.

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Melaka has a large and thriving Chinatown that deserves a visit. The Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is the oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia and a must see.

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Melaka is a great place to seat and watch the world go by,  either by the river, or at one of the great many eateries. Food was one of my favourite parts of Melaka  so if you are interested check out the link –   🍡 🌱a vegan in Melaka 🌱🍡

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Sarawak – island of Borneo

Sarawak Borneo will amaze you with its culture and natural beauty. The Island of Borneo has probably one of the most richest and diverse ecosystems I ever seen, but unfortunately many of its forests have been lost for oil palm, putting wildlife and people in danger.

I started my trip in the capital Kuching and I used bus, boat, motorbike, bicycle, and mini vans to travel, this are the places I visited :

🚌 Kuching  / Santubong peninsula / Bako National Park / Semenggoh Nature Reserve/ Bau / Kubah National Park

Explore Kuching and it’s old colonial charm by foot, loosing yourself in its magnificent streets from china town, indian neighbourhood and the river front. I highly recommend you to visit the museums they are really good, look up for street art and don’t miss the sunset in the river front.

To visit the other side of the river, get one of the local boats (1RM each side), go for a walk,  enjoy the view and try a traditional Kek Lapis (layer cake).

In Kuching you can rent a motor bike in the city for 40RM a day to explore the the small villages around including Santubong Peninsula, a nice  quite town with great views and beaches.

I went to the Matang wildlife centre but I don’t recommend it at all, they may do a good job at rescuing and helping the animals but they are all in small cages, I found it quite depressing.

We got the red bus nº1 stopped in front of the open market in Kuching to Bako National Park (3.50RM) the park entry is 20 RM, and the boat 40RM both ways (runs from 8 to 15h). You defenetly need to spend at least a day there and do a couple of trails. The park as beautiful mangrove swamp, luxurious rainforest, streams, waterfalls, and if you’re lucky (like me ) you may see proboscis monkeys in their native habitats. This park has an incredible biodiversity, which includes almost every vegetation type in Borneo.

We went to Semenggoh Nature Reserve to see semi-wild orangutans in their natural habitat for that we got a bus from Kuching (4RM) at 7:20 from the open market stop. Once in the reserve you need to walk to the feeding point, the entry is 10RM. Be aware that you may not be lucky enough to see them.  They have 2 hour-long feedings, 9am to 10am and from 3pm to 4pm.

Next stop was Bau, the bus from Kuching  takes an hour,  the bus is an old one so expect a sweaty journey (4.5RM). Bau is a small clean and organised town, has a good market, food court and a Chinese temple that deserves a visit.

Once in Bau we realised that was difficult to find public transports to take us to the different caves so we started walking and hitch-hiked. Hitchhiking was safe and we meet really nice and interesting people. We visited the fairy cave (5RM), a really nice and impressive open mountain cave, no light needed. then we took another lift to the wind cave Nature reserve (5RM) for this one you need a torch, there is plenty to see and lots and lots of bats.

If you plan to come buck to Kuching by bus, the last one departs at 3:20, but never trust the bus schedules 🙂 they often leave early.

To go from Kuching to Kubah National Park, get the bus K21 (4RM) and its an hour ride.The entry is 20RM. The park is gorgeous with lots of hills, ups and downs, I personally found it quite tiering, so get your legs ready. The park offers several trails from one hour to several hours, you can’t buy food or water in the park, so bring something. I did  a couple of trails including the trail to the waterfall where you can get refreshed  and visited the frog pond. The last bus the kuching is at 1:30 but if it doesn’t appear you will have mini bus passing and you can ask them to stop (5RM)

Sarawak is not known for its beaches, I went to Damai beach but I don’t recommend it at all.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🌱 Information and testimony about being a vegan in Sarawak – A vegan in Sarawak 

a Vegan in Sarawak – island of Borneo

Sarawak’s food is just amazing, and the only problem you will have being a vegan is not to gain 10kg 🙂

Kuching 

🌱Sin Wei Tong cafe – has a vegetarian stall, great food around 5RM per dish. some dishes have egg but can request without.

🌱Shun son yen – vegetarian restaurant by kilo, with delicious food and fresh juices I paid around 15RM for my meal. Make sure you go early to have all the option still available because the food goes quickly. You can try a bit of everything.

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🌱 water front –  there are food stalls and restaurants that have great vegan options.

🌱Zhen Xiang Zhai, delicious food and a good place to try the Sarawak laksa, they close at 3pm. A meal with drinks will cost around 15RM  you can choose from the buffet or order off their menu.

🌱open marker – lovelly local place to explore.

🌱Food fair, at the time you are visiting Kuching check if they have a food fair, they have all kinds of food, but be prepared for a crowded place.

Bau

🌱Bau food court– One of the food stalls serves exclusively great vegan food but other stall still have a few options, have a look and ask around.

Other food in the region

💚Seri Muka – Malaysian sweet with rice with pandas leavesimg_1804

💚Steamed Buns –  easily find any food markets and street stalls. They have vegetarian fillings like – sweet been past,  Kaya, Pandan or black sesame paste.

💚Kendal, dessert made with coconut milk, green jelly noodles (rice flour)

💚ABC, made out of shaved ice and a variety of ingredients such as red beans, fruit, sweet corn, grass jelly, etc..

💚Ondeh-Ondeh, glutinous rice flour dumplings filled with ‘gula Melaka’

💚Sticky coconut rice with palm sugar and mango

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💚Fruit and Vegetables, don’t miss it …

💚Other treats

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha