One of the misconceptions about going plant-based is that it is expensive. It is marketed as a luxurious lifestyle that involves expensive supplements, expensive superfoods, and expensive restaurant dining.
The reality is, vegan living can be extremely easy, accessible and affordable. And doing so in Asia is no exception.
It’s just a matter of focusing on what your local options are.
In my opinion, Malaysia is one of the BEST countries in the world to be a vegan. On the dining front, options are available thanks to the Hindu and Buddhist communities. In terms of ingredients, we have a stupendous variety of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits, offering an immense array of colours, tastes and nutrients. Our cuisine branches out into Indian, Malay, Chinese and Peranakan, as well as influences from neighboring countries and our colonial history. This means that access to unique ingredients like tempeh and tofu, nuts and pulses, herbs and spices are diverse and abundant.
AND… We have the wet market.
The charm of this establishment is in a rawness that goes beyond the meat, fruit and veggies sold there. There is a rawness in system, presentation and human interaction. It’s the rawness that our parents and their parents are accustomed to when they’ve bought their groceries. When people think of culture, they think of language, arts and traditional ways of life. The wet market is a not-so-celebrated culture statement that encapsulates the casualness that travellers love about our country and its people.
Veganism doesn’t need to be all about quinoa, acai bowls and supercharged supergreen superpowders. It can be about chapati and dhall, kangkung and paku pakis, tau too fa and kueh gulung. Many of us don’t realize that plant-based eating is already in our culture, and bringing it out more prominently can be an uncomplicated affair.
This video below shows me on a typical trip to the local wet market. It focuses on fresh produce and doesn’t include rice / noodles which I already have at home, and dried legumes like split peas (dhall) and green/red beans which are also cheap and available at most wet markets.
The market featured in the video is located at SS2 in Petaling Jaya every Sunday, open from 6am to about 11am. But enjoy the authentic feel while it lasts: an upgrade including proper roofing and flooring will take place mid-2018.
Have fun shopping at your own local market, and let me know what plant-based gems you find!