Kuching, the City of Cats, is Sarawak’s capital. Travellers will find a wide choice of vegetarian restaurants in Kuching for healthy, meat-free and vegan–friendly options. Here are Culture Trip’s recommendations for Sarawakian, Chinese, Indian and Western cuisines.
Located in central Kuching near the Sarawak River, Thank Food Vegetarian provides a more upscale dining experience. With tasteful decor and air-conditioning, customers can expect comfort and good service. The menu offers a variety of both Asian and Western dishes using substitute mock meats. Highlights include stir-fry mock chicken, vegetarian oyster pancakes and homemade tofu. Customers can order small, medium or large portions with a typical dish and drink coming to approximately RM50 ($12.70) for two.
This family-owned vegetarian restaurant in Kuching has served Chinese food for more than a decade. The cheerful elderly couples who run the place serve various vegetable dishes, sushi, noodle soups and local favourites. Head down at lunch for the buffet special or order a set meal cooked in a typical Chinese way as either fried, deep-fried or served as a soup. Favourite dishes include char kuey teow starting at RM4 ($1), Cantonese crispy noodles RM5 ($1.30) and fried noodles at RM4 ($1). Vegetarian laksa is available, too.
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Popular Vegetarian Restaurant is a short walk to the east of the city centre behind the Hock Lee Centre. As one of the more mid-range vegetarian restaurants in Kuching, Popular serves Chinese food and local dishes using mock meat. The dishes using egg are clearly marked on the menu, making this spot both vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Located near the Sarawak River, Zhun San Yen Vegetarian has been in operation for years. Specialising in Chinese-style food served as a buffet, customers take what they want and pay by weight. Set menu options are available at certain times of the day. The menu also includes vegan-friendly options, but they may not be marked. Anyone looking for a selection of vegetarian food at rock-bottom prices will enjoy dining here.
While Bear Garden isn’t a typical restaurant, it does feature as one of the best places for vegan food in Sarawak’s capital. Bear Garden itself is a bar with affordable beer, plus an extensive stock of wine and exotic cocktails. But the highlight is the vegan menu with both Asian and Western favourites. Customers can order everything from bean burgers and chilli cheese to spring rolls, toasted ravioli and potato nachos and dine inside the air-conditioned interior or al fresco in the garden. The owners also donate 50% of their income to the Orangutan Project. Not only do customers enjoy delicious vegan dishes, but they can also contribute towards conservation efforts.
Come On Veggie Café provides a more local dining experience. Three vendors serve different kinds of Sarawakian dishes using mock meat, vegetables and tofu. Expect a selection of Chinese-style food including noodles and mixed rice available as a set menu or from the self-service buffet. Customers can buy sweet and savoury pastries, too. Expect a meal and drink to cost anywhere between RM10 ($2.50) and RM20 ($5.10) for one person.
Beyond Veggie is a vegetarian-only branch of the popular Secret Recipe. Located in Vivacity Megamall a few kilometres to the south of the city centre, customers have access to an extensive selection of veggie-friendly food. The menu includes Western treats such as pizzas and pasta and Asian favourites like fried rice and noodles. All food is prepared using fresh ingredients without preservatives. Expect to pay around RM20 ($5.10) for a dish.
For an eclectic mixture of Chinese and Indian vegetarian food in Kuching, head to Vege Hut approximately two kilometres (1.24 miles) south of the City of Cats. The extensive menu offers roti, thosai and veggie rolls, as well as Chinese-style noodles and rice dishes. Expect hearty portions, friendly staff and excellent value for money. Customers can dine inside an air-conditioned seating area or open-air under a fan.
The small family-run business offers local vegetarian dishes from two of three resident vendor stalls. Expect a basic restaurant with a ceiling fan and food similar to street food at very affordable prices. Order Sarawak-style Chinese dishes including fried rice, kolo mee with dumplings or dim sum early in the morning. Expect to pay less than RM10 ($2.50) for a meal and drink. Just be aware that the Laksa stall is non-vegetarian. If unsure, ask. Often rated among the best vegetarian restaurants in Kuching, it’s worth checking out for the delicious food and low prices.
Lee Coffee Shop in the heart of Kuching City Centre houses a selection of vendors selling a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Head to the vegetarian stall offering local rice and noodles dishes as well as vegan-friendly options. But the highlight of this stall is the dumpling soups served for breakfast. Get there early as most sell out before 9am.