I’m not sure how much emphasis the UK news is placing on the haze in east Asia at the moment, but here me now: it is hella thick. While I was in Kuala Lumpur, visibility was down to 1km, the friends I was staying with had put wet towels by their front door to stop the air from coming in the house and I ended up having to book a flight out after a few days because my cough was that bad. So yeah, the haze is pretty bad*. With all of that rubbish floating around my insides, I decided to go off in search of the healthiest, detoxiest eats I could find in the city and settled on vegan specialists (though not exclusives), Ashley’s Kuala Lumpur.
*It’s coming from massive Indonesian forest fires; apparently the least costly way to flatten some rainforest for some big businesses (I don’t know much beyond that). I think that’s the most disheartening thing I’ve ever typed. From the relatively few conversations I had with KL’s residents, there’s rather a lot of irritation that the Malaysian government is allowing this to happen without concern for its people. Sounds like a lot of big dogs on the Malay corporate scene are behind this, so the Malaysian government is playing down the severity of the situation; not least to keep its workers on the streets when they really ought to be inside. Shout out to Singapore, though, who are imposing rules on any corporations thought to be taking part and providing aid for the Indonesians in danger. Already, 500,000 Indonesians have been hospitalised due to this. Absolutely nuts. And yet, I’ve digressed from one hippy topic (veganism) to another (deforestation and corrupt government policies). I’d better return to the former before this blog gets mysteriously shut down.
4pm on a Tuesday: probably not the most bustling time for any restaurant and, true to form for a city whose residents were advisably staying at home, I was one of two parties. The country bumpkin and crowd-shunner inside jumped for joy; though hopefully it would have a little more atmosphere at other times in the week for the more extroverted amongst you. It’s decked with all the feel of an urban allotment, and enough exotic trinkets (well, exotic for a visitor) to keep it from becoming ‘typically vegan,’ if that’s a thing…
Although my first choice was the sea bream ceviche – as it would always be, no matter the competition – they were all out so I decided to keep my choices 100% raw, 100% vegan with the Living Pulled Eggplant. That’s aubergine to you and me. Marinated in God knows what, it was really flavoursome but for the vegan greek yoghurt (although it was saved by the ultra sweet piquillo pepper). Perhaps he was bored, but my waiter was keen. I hadn’t even finished digesting my last bite of the starter before my main arrived.
Diverting slightly from what was offered on the menu, there arrived a plate of mini enchiladas, stuffed tomatoes, guacamole and orange/tomato salsa. The menu got one thing right: as it had all been prepared under 40 degrees, the textures and tastes were certainly not what I expected, but interesting nonetheless. The guac was absolutely top but I had to leave the stuffed toms; vegan cheese… Nuh uh. Vegan substitutes for dairy are invariably tasteless (JME agrees).
All in all, Ashley’s Kuala Lumpur gave me a good experience and a much-needed health kick after the past few weeks of intermittently eating whenever I remember to. Would I go back? Yes; as much for the restaurant’s feel as the food. Let me know if you go!