Tag Archives: restaurants

Favourite Food Websites

5 Aug

As a foodie, a cook, an eater, and a techie, I love the internet. Its such an amazing space, and its really wide ranging in terms information, inspiration and help. I have, as most people do, a few websites I visit on a regular basis. Some every day, some, as a treat, once a week, to catch up on. All these sites open me up to the food world. I thought I would share some of my best with you – and explain why I love them so. I have divided my websites into three major sections: Tools (my favourite conversion site, for example, or the best vegetarian food guide site); Recipes (the best, easiest to use and most informative recipe sites around); and Personal (blogs, rantings and ravings about food). Here are my top in each section.


I do like About.com … they have such a myriad of topics, and each one is quite in depth and detailed. I love their conversion calculator because when I need to figure out what fahrenheit is in celsius or how many cups in a specific number of millilitres, and I need to do it quickly, this is the page that does it for me. For conversions, I also use Google – on their home page, you can just type… “170 c in f” and immediately, it will convert 170 celsius into 338 fahrenheit without you having to do much else! Brilliant.

When I am cooking, and realise oh damn, I thought I had 4 eggs, but I only have 2 – or the recipe calls for a certain spice, or ingredient and I dont have it in my larder, I go to Cooking Thesaurus. It is an awesome site that helps you figure out what foods you can use as substitutes. Its got a great search mechanism, and is really easy to use. Thousands and thousands of substitutions. How useful is that? And they are very systematic. Take an egg for instance. When you want to substitute an egg for dipping before breading, its very different than if you want to substitute an egg in a cake – they carefully go through all the various permutations.

And for all things vegetarian, I love the Vegetarian Resource Group. Their page about Nutrition for Vegetarians is invaluable when you are thinking about the vegetarian diet, and thinking about  ensuring proper nutrition, proteins etc. They have a great link to a pdf file of a  vegetarian food pyramid that I refer to now and then. I do think that most ways of eating should be about balance. I am not going to try and get all my food groups in one day – but this helps me think about what I have (or have not eaten) in that particular week. Though, they need to add chocolate at the top of the pyramid! The Vegetarian Resource group also has a brilliant recipe page that I love scrolling through…Inspiration for the veggie mind. And their links page is truly comprehensive.


For all around food extravaganza, there is nothing else online like Epicurious. It is seriously a huge, sometimes overwhelming website. Its recipe section alone archives the late, lamented and beloved Gourmet magazine, as well as Bon Apetit. It has forums, chatrooms, and you can sign up and have your own Epicurious profile with saved recipes. Its got video, shopping lists, mobile apps. Its truly epic. But I use it mainly for its recipes. Type in any search term – chocolate for instance – and thousands of recipes will be returned. The width and breadth of recipes and sources is truly astounding. I love to read the user comments – home cooks who actually have cooked the recipe before, and they are often spot on about substitutions, adjustments, baking times, etc. Such a great community.

I also love Saveur magazine’s website. Another extensive recipe resource, with wonderful sections on kitchen gadgets and technique. Saveur is definitely not vegetarian-centric, but its a great place for inspiration.

Food & Wine, on the other hand, has literally thousands of vegetarian recipes. I love their clean layout, easy to understand recipes and navigation. And their images are totally droolworthy.

And finally, I love The Kitchn – a satellite site from Apartment Therapy. Great recipes, articles, inspiration – in a very easy, modern, funky layout. I dont go to The Kitchn when I am searching for a specific recipe, but I include it here because it is such a wonderful place to go and read recipes. Everything has a story, and I want to try each and every idea they come up with. Small, but very readable.


I have so many personal favourite cooking websites, that I couldnt narrow them down to just a few. So here is my condensed list. I hope you enjoy!

  • Ballymaloe Cooking School – I often go to this site and just daydream. Its where I am going to cooking school next year. I cant wait.
  • Ruth Reichl’s blog – some of her great recipes, her wonderful food writing, and her clear, passionate voice. I love her blog – and also her Twitter feed. She was the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, and oh this woman loves food.
  • Huffington Post’s Food feed. A great, current collection of food news – I read this every day.
  • Oh I ADORE Dorie Greenspan’s blog. This woman is totally immersed in her passion for cooking – especially baking and pastries. Every day, every post, exhilarates the senses. Moving between France and the US, she is a nomad who writes about the world around her. She has written 10 cookbooks, including two with Pierre Herme (yes, macarons), one with Daniel Bolud, and one with Julia Child. Her blog is passionate, generous and so so tasty. I also follow her Twitter. Yum.
  • I love 101 Cookbooks’ blog too. Heidi Swanson is inspired by food – mainly vegetarian – and cooks from her extensive cookbook collection. She makes delicious looking, exciting dishes that seem at once wonderful and approachable. I love her stories and comfortable voice. I also follow her on Twitter!
  • Cannelle et Vanille – its just so damn pretty!!! I look at this site when I want to smile.
  • Three restaurant websites – mainly to drool over their menus! Chez Panisse (Alice Walters), The French Laundry (Thomas Keller), and El Bulli (Ferran Adria).
  • And the most accessible vegetarian eating guide – Happy Cow. I love this site, and whenever I visit a new place, I always check out whats good in the vegetarian scene through them.

I have others, but I dont want to overwhelm you 😉 I am sure I will do another favourite links post, but for now, enjoy these! I know I do!

More KL Vegetarian Restaurants: PappaRich (via Zoom) + Saravana Bhavan

3 Aug

I had a late night visitor last night, and we were hungry. Hungry for good, fresh, hot food. I remembered that I recently got an SMS about Zoom Delivery – a new service in Kuala Lumpur that delivers 7-11, Ramli Burger, Mamak Stall, Old Town Kopitiam and PappaRich… And they deliver until 3am every day! What pleasures … This is a very exciting development in the lepak culture of Malaysian eating – now we dont even have to go out to eat from our favourite stall foods. Zoom is much less expensive than the other delivery company that operates here, and restaurants that focus on our local dishes. How wonderful and awesome is that?! I had glanced through the PappaRich website and menu, and realised that they offered a lovely vegetarian selection. This is just such a pleasure for me because hang-out places dont usually cater to vegetarians on such a lavish scale. So, we ordered from Zoom Delivery, specifically from PappaRich, and we were extremely happy.

Nasi Lemak

We ordered Nasi Lemak – that perfect Malaysian meal. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late night snack. Soft, warm, rich pandan and coconut flavoured rice. Crisp cucumber slices. Roasted peanuts. Vegetarian version of sambal ikan bilis (anchovies in chili and onion). And crispy fried green beans with a hint of soy flavour. Half a hard boiled egg. Its a masterpiece of a dish, and PappaRich made it totally accessible and delicious for vegetarians. It was filling without being overwhelming, and hit the spot perfectly late at night.

Sweet Corn Siew Mai and Char Siew Pau

We also shared two starters – the steamed sweet corn siew mai – three little dumplings filled with sweet corn – and the steamed pau filled with a vegetarian version of char siew (roasted honeyed pork). Oh my goodness Goddess. Both starters were delightful, but oh I did love those paus. Soft, fluffy and delicious. The filling was perfection. As a vegetarian, this is as close as I will ever get to meat, but it was absolutely wonderful. Full of flavour, deeply caramelised, roasted, rich, oh I loved it. And my non-vegetarian companion was impressed by the taste and texture of the paus. We both loved them. I particularly liked eating the pau with a splash of soy – the sweet and the salty a heavenly melding that made my tummy sing arias of joy… Heh.

We also ordered the sweet lemon iced detox tea and the banana smoothie. The tea in particular was refreshing and helped cut through the richness of the meal. A couple slices of toast with kaya. The food was delivered hot and fresh within the time that Zoom had given us, and cost (including delivery) less than RM50. The delivery guy tried to give me change when I gave him a few extra dollars, and was very grateful when I told him it was a tip. I have known other delivery services to wait, impatiently and expectantly, for their tip.

All in all a totally satisfying experience, both from Zoom Delivery and PappaRich. For those who really cant be arsed to go out at night to forage for food, try Zoom. Its worth it! And for vegetarians who want to hang out with their non-vegetarian friends, in an inexpensive and very accomodating space, PappaRich is totally it. I am their new Number 1 Fan!


My favourite vegetarian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur (and actually in many places around the world), is Saravana Bhavan. They have outlets in the US, UK, France, Canada, Qatar, Oman, the UAE, India, Singapore and Malaysia. I am lucky enough (and eternally grateful) that they have a branch in my neighbourhood. When my sister is here, we eat there almost daily if she can help it. The absolute most satisfying Indian vegetarian food on the planet. And I am not over-exaggerating here. The food is phenomenal. Non-vegetarians dont even miss their meat, and they are given a superb education on the variety, taste, texture and delights of the Indian vegetarian plate.

I love the food here – it is so multi-layered, so delicious, soul-satisfying. I love the cooks and the waitstaff who greet you like family. I love that they deliver to my house in 20 minutes or less, and that I can have a multi-course dinner party for six people for less than RM100.

My favourite dishes from Saravana Bhavan (in no particular order) are:

  • Paneer Tikka Masala: Roasted cottage cheese blocks, charred in the tandoor, deep and creamy, covered in a tomato chili cream masala spice sauce, with curry leaves, onions, thick and so delicious that when people taste it for the first time their eyes roll back in their heads
  • Chicken Fry: Vegetarian “chicken” pieces, dry fried in a thick coating of chili, garlic, onion, ginger, curry leaves, tomato and other amazing tastes. So layered, so more-ish. I dare you to just have one piece.
  • Aloo Palak: A paste of deeply green spinach, sauteed with onions, spices, garlic, potatoes. The essence of green. The perfect spice balance.
  • Onion Raita: Homemade yogurt, thick and curdy, cool and cooling, with sharp slices of onion. Beautiful counterbalance to the hot spiciness of the rest of the food.
  • Bittergourd-65: Rounds of bittergourd, dropped in a spiced batter, and deep fried. Like chips but about a million times better. Spritzed with lemon. Such depth and complexity of flavour.
  • Breads: particularly the chappathi, adai avial (available only on the weekends and not to be missed – a coconut and green chili pancake from Kerala that blows your mind with its myriad tastes), thosai, bathura. Each comes with its own curries – chickpeas in coconut gravy, roasted tumeric potatoes, a savoury simple dhal.
  • And to drink: pineapple lassi or triveni (fresh squeezed ginger, pineapple and grape juice) and hot tea made with rich spices and milk.

Go to Saravana Bhavan if you can. You wont regret it and you will become a regular. I dream about it and crave it when I dont have it all the time. It makes my soul happy. I hope it makes you joyous too.

Vegetarian Kuala Lumpur

20 Jul

I am very excited because tonight I am meeting up with a bunch of friends to go and eat at Nathalie’s Gourmet again … Theyre slowly opening at nights, and we have a booking at 8pm. It means I wont be cooking or baking anything (though I am dreaming of a raspberry curd which I will try out tomorrow) so I thought I would list three of my favourite places to eat as a vegetarian in Kuala Lumpur. Obviously this list is very personal – and I am sure I am missing out on some fabulous places. One is not completely vegetarian, but for someone like me, all these places have multiple delightful options, and the food here is good for non-vegetarians too!

Sure Pizza (otherwise known as Paolo’s), Plaza Damas

This has to be one of my favourite restaurants. Paolo, the chef and restauranteur, is welcoming, friendly and a brilliant chef. His food is Italian at its most casual and scrumptious. Everything he makes is full of love, and eating here is a comforting and joyous experience. I often have the margarita pizza, with garlic mushrooms as an extra on top. Once you try this, you will come back again and again for it. His bruschetta are extraordinary – bright, sparkling with flavour, and held together by the wonderful bread that he bakes every day. You can buy loaves of this bread, but beware, you will just keep eating it even after you are full! His pastas are also a manna from heaven for vegetarians, particularly the home made ravioli and the gnocchi. Amazing. Simple, and yet so luscious. Paolo’s is where my family goes when we want good food, served without fuss, in a loving and happy atmosphere. PS Dont miss the tiramisu! Oh I could swim in it 🙂

P37, Plaza Damas Ground Floor, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Jalan Hartamas 1, KL Tel: 03.6201.6014

Kechara Oasis, Jaya One

Kechara Oasis is a wonderful vegetarian Chinese-Tibetan restaurant, oddly located in the car park of Jaya One. Dont let that stop you though, this is one place you need to try. Its got all the fantabulous staples of good vegetarian Chinese – char siew, butter prawns, sweet and sour chicken, sambal petai prawns… oh I could go on – with an intriguing mix of vegetarian Tibetan dishes. I really enjoy everything I eat here, though its definitely a place for a group, rather than just a few. That way you can order more! And taste everything! I adore the sweet and sour mushrooms, and the char siew is phenomenal. The Tibetan offerings include asa bhima (baked buns with fillings), tingmo (steamed bread with a special sauce), and a very special Tibetan butter tea. Even their fruit platter, which we had for dessert recently, was brilliant – fresh, sweet, and quality fruits. Oh the mango … Try everything, and bring your meat eating friends. They will come away satisfied and delighted, I promise.

Unit 19-LG1, Level B1 Block D Jaya One, No. 72A Jalan University, 46200 Petaling Jaya Tel: 03.7968.1818

MG’s Cafe

MG’s Cafe is located  in the heart of Desa Sri Hartamas. Its a completely vegetarian bakery, deli and cafe, and I love this place. Its delightful, cosy atmosphere, extensive menu, and delectable desserts make me so very happy. And the best part is the prices are really fair, so its a drop by and hang out kind of a vibey place. I have really enjoyed everything I have eaten here – from the tagliatelle with pumpkin to the veggie beefsteak burger to the marinated mushroom donburi. Most everything is under RM10 and it has a kind of Hong Kong cafe noodle house feel. I love how happy everyone who works here is as well – you just feel good walking in. And please, do try one of their cakes – delicious sponges, cream stuffed mini pancakes, moon cakes … they have the lot. And its all tasty and made with love. A great place to drop by for tea or a snack, and non-vegetarians enjoy it too.

38-G Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas Tel: 03.2300.3118