As the clean eating trend makes its way to the Greater Kuala Lumpur area, we chow down on fresh, all-natural food, without all the added fat, sugar and proccessed unpronounceables, at these eateries. So give your palate a break from the local diet of rich and hearty foods with a spot of healthy eating.
Founded by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, Organica Lifestyle is a holistic space in Bangsar housing a yoga studio, a health food store and a café. This urban sanctuary aims to nurture health and well-being through food or exercise, as well as provide a space to meet like-minded individuals.
The bright, cheerful and naturally lit cafe is a gathering spot after a session on the mat. Organica scores top marks for care and attention in crafting a menu that changes in accordance to seasonal produce, though some favourites such as the Quinoa Lemak stay put due to popular demand. From their recent spring menu, the zucchini fritters were a runaway success – luscious gluten-free fritters made from fresh zucchini, parsley and coriander, topped with a poached egg, spiralised beetroot and carrot, and a dab of tangy herb-infused labneh (fresh cheese popular in the Middle East).
If you have time to spare one afternoon, join them for a mindfulness session that ends with a simple optional lunch.
Singaporean import Real Food makes no compromises to their food. The source of their inspiration is to trace the origins of their food and eat only what is intended by nature. As such, the vegetarian restaurant operates a scratch kitchen using fresh produce from local farmers in Cameron Highlands, Penang and Melaka. Of equal importance is that the food is inventive and delicious. Brown rice ice-cream, pumpkin pancakes and lentil burgers are just some of the offerings to whet your appetite.
We'd also advise to load up on their plump dumplings. It takes three pairs of hands to lovingly fill up and wrap the diaphanous dumpling skin with finely chopped carrots, French beans, turnip, bean curd, mushrooms, celery and coriander. It's so labour-intenstive that they make only 60-80 of these tasty morsels in a week. Or feast (lightly) on the organic pumpkin soup, packed with wholesome pumpkin, celery and onions, flavoured with organic spices and herbs.
There are currently two Real Food outlets in Malaysia, one in Penang, the other in Kuala Lumpur. The sleek space in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur has a children-friendly corner, and is good for families.
Woods Macrobiotics has espoused clean eating since 1993, establishing itself as a total health and healing centre that provides vegan macrobiotic organic food. Founder June Ka Lim is a trained macrobiotic chef and counsellor as well as a holistic nutritionist, author and permaculturist. Macrobiotics is about finding balance and is anchored in the Asian yin-yang philosophy, favouring ingredients such as whole grains, vegetables and beans. To practise a macrobiotics diet requires a high level of commitment and some know-how, which you can pick up at the centre's macrobiotic cooking academy.
While here, you can stock up at the shop with organic juices, fresh produce, health books and healing CDs. For quick bites at home, pick up an Obento lunch box or get it delivered to you. For a complete overhaul, drop by for a diet consultation service to point you in the right direction of your clean eating journey.
Raisin' The Roof
Eating well doesn't have to be boring or bland, which is what Raisin' The Roof in Bukit Damansara, one of the latest arrivals to the clean eating scene, sets out to prove. Try their popular falafel wrap, packed with pistachios, herbs and chickpeas, and baked instead of deep-fried. Or the Brown Rice Sushi Bowl, a deconstructed sushi bowl made up of brown rice, avocado and sauteed spinach, topped with a generous dash of pomegranate seeds and toasted seaweed.
But we’re saving space for the desserts, done raw, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. The sweet stuff gets the nod for the most more-ish, health-oriented desserts in town. Go for the purple pecan pie, which has a gluten-free crust and a sweet potato filling topped with oats and pecans, while the gluten-free chocolate lava cake is filled with a superfoods-packed strawberry chia jam. Decadent but guilt-free; what more can we ask for?
This popular health food chain has been around the clean eating block for awhile. It has a spread of stores across the country, but the vegetarian cafes are largely confined to the Klang Valley. The menu doesn't stray from firm local favourites; instead it substitutes the fatty, processed and not-so-healthful with wholesome, organic ingredients.
We can't refuse the soy milk curry laksa, which uses organic soy milk for the broth and brown rice vermicelli for the noodles, topped with pea shoots, alfalfa sprouts and brinjal slices. Another firm favourite is the five-colour energy lei cha, a rice dish packed with nutritious vegetables. At BMS, it’s a visual feast of finely chopped organic vegetables that you add to a three-grain rice bowl and douse in a refreshing soup made from organic tea leaves, cashew nuts, basil and mint leaves.