It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just veggie-loving, because in Penang, it’s all systems go! Food is tasty and affordable, which is the best kind of coupling, really.
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
A bowl of chana masala, with hot and sour chickpeas, mint and paratha
Looking for excellent vegetarian Indian cuisine without putting a hole through your purse? Welcome to Woodlands, where food is lip-smackingly good and prices are reasonable. Enjoy a good thali (traditional meal with assorted dishes served on a round platter), or order a la carte curries, samosas, and thosai (large crepe-like flatbread).
There are three restaurants of this name in Penang, so don’t get confused. This one is located in Little India and looks like a canteen-style shophouse. Lunch is self-service, so you’ll get to load up your own plate, while dinner is order-only. Food is top-notch, and you’ll come away impressed at how flavorful vegetables really are.
Penang has plenty of self-service, canteen-style vegetarian eateries, and this is one of the best. Select from over 20 dishes made with tofu, tempeh, seitan, and assorted vegetables. Flavors tend to lean toward Chinese. A typical plate with three dishes will cost around RM10 ($2.50).
A classic for vegetarians and veggie-lovers, Zen Xin serves up the best kung pao aubergine, Nyonya ‘fish’ curry (the ‘fish’ is made from tofu and seitan), and butter-fried mushrooms. We recommend the claypot Taiwanese-style monkey head mushrooms; trust us, you’ll be coming back again before your trip ends.
If you’re looking for vegan raw food, look no further. Waffles, burgers, falafels, pizzas, and Instagram-worthy desserts are all available here! Sit on chain swings at the bar counter, or take your edible nibbles to the green space in Hin Bus Depot — either way, you’ll be living the Wholey lifestyle.
Possibly the only Mexican eatery in town (unless you count Chilli’s, but really, who does?), Holy Guacamole features quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, pizzas, and tacos that could’ve been prepared right in Naucalpan. Food here isn’t strictly vegetarian, but vegetarian options are aplenty, and with the live music at night, it’s a place you wouldn’t want to miss.
Healthy food doesn’t always need to be loud, and that’s the way The Leaf likes it. Clean, fresh, vegetarian food is served without fuss or fanfare, but the flavors will knock the socks off you nevertheless. Food here tends both East and West, and we recommend the satay mushroom and rice, best complemented by their excellent cold-pressed juices.
Drop by the quiet Chow Thye Road for scrumptious fusion vegetarian fare served up in a simple cafe-restaurant. JanxDen serves everything from salads to sushi, pizzas to porridge, soups to salads, without blinking an eye nor discounting on flavor. And when you’re done with your main course, you might even want to end your night with a cheesecake or two — your taste buds will thank you for it.
Think you can’t eat sushi without raw fish? Think again. Sushi Kitchen serves ramen (souped, tossed, fried), tempura, and sushi rolls so good you’ll never want another slice of raw salmon. If you want the whole Japanese experience, you can even ask to sit on the traditional tatami mats.
Here’s another ‘economy’ buffet-style vegetarian house where you’ll get to load up your own plate. Choose from over 30 vegetarian dishes, including stir-fried kangkung(water spinach), stuffed steamed buns, dumplings, tofu, fried noodles, and assorted mock-meat dishes. Expect to pay around RM10 ($2.50) for three dishes plus rice.