If there’s one term to describe Malaysian food, it’s ‘food heaven’. Thanks to our multiracial community, we are exposed to all sorts of cuisine – Malay, Chinese, and Indian, just to name a few. The diversity and complex flavours and textures of Malaysian cuisine is even making waves in countries such as the United States and the UK.
Now Malaysia is given another culinary honour as it is ranked third on the Global Vegetarian Index. To measure the data for this Global Vegetarian Index, the researchers at Oliver’s Travels took into account the number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants, the ratio to population size, and the annual meat consumption per capita in countries around the world, and Malaysia took the third spot while Singapore came in number six on the list.
Although this is good news, it came as a bit of a surprise to be ranked so high, as most of our dishes are cooked with meat in it. Think nasi lemak, char kway teow, and nasi kandar! But in recent years, with more and more Malaysians embracing a healthier lifestyle, the number of pure vegetarian and vegan restaurants is certainly increasing. We’ve also noticed that more restaurants are adding vegetarian options to their menus as well. In areas such as Bangsar and Mont Kiara which are heavily frequented by tourists and expats, quality vegetarian food is really easy to find.
As a whole, Seychelles came in first place with a score of 328 while Thailand came in a close second with 326, and Malaysia scored 311. Although we scored the same mark as Soa Tome and Principe, a country located in Central Africa, Malaysia has a higher volume of people per vegetarian restaurant, granting us the third place. There are about 1, 185 vegetarian-friendly restaurants opened throughout the country, which is almost 200 more stores compared to Thailand.
So for all our vegetarian friends out there, you’re definitely not forgotten here in Malaysia!