KUALA LUMPUR: There can be any number of reasons why one goes vegan – animal welfare, saving the environment or for health reasons. But the fact remains that vegan food is just as tasty as non-vegan options.
One person who can attest to that is Summer Ng. The 34-year-old told FMT that when working in IT, she felt stressed and constantly tired.
“Knowing that diet plays a huge role in one’s well-being, I decided to eat vegetarian food on certain days and as my body soon adjusted and felt better, I slowly transitioned into becoming vegan,” she said, adding that learning about the environmental benefits of going vegan motivated her even more.
Feeling compelled to share the benefits of veganism with her loved ones, Ng often cooked for them, and in June 2019, she opened her own restaurant, Kusa Vegan.
Formerly known as Supe, the eatery focuses on Japanese fare fused with local flavours.
Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Kusa Vegan is a heavenly respite from the city’s fast pace of life. Minimalist and zen in design and spirit, the restaurant’s ambience inspires patrons to be more present and mindful by engaging all their senses.
“The restaurant’s concept is inspired by Japanese culture that focuses on simplicity and the strive for continuous improvement,” she told FMT, adding that although she herself has been vegan for seven years, about 70% of their patrons aren’t.
If you’re wondering, “kusa” means grass in Japanese. “Although grass may seem commonplace and insignificant, it can survive in many different climates and is beneficial to the environment.
“Similarly, we hope that the restaurant’s humble existence will help make the planet a better place.”
The chefs at Kusa Vegan use tofu, tempeh and a variety of mushrooms as meat substitutes. Only Himalayan salt and olive oil are used in the kitchen while white sugar, MSG, mock meat, and aromatics like onions and garlic are off the table.
While dining here, a great starter is the popular popcorn mushroom. Made using king trumpet mushroom and seasoned with Himalayan salt, it’s flavourful, crispy and extremely addictive.
The kusa tempeh is just as good. Coupled with a lemon wedge and delicious homemade vegan mayonnaise, this snack tastes a lot like your regular fish and chips dish.
Sushi lovers should opt for the “all-in-one” sushi platters, which come in three sizes, consisting of various types of sushi, including mango sushi.
The Yasai handroll on the other hand is made with fresh vegetables wrapped in crispy, baked seaweed.
As for mains, the most popular is the kusa ramen, served in a broth made from six local spices. Topped with tofu, broccoli and kombu, which is a type of seaweed, this hearty, spicy bowl of noodles is as comforting as it gets.
For something milder, do try the mouth-watering Jjajiang ramen with a delicious homemade mushroom sauce. Those on a gluten-free diet can request for ramen made from konjac, a type of root vegetable.
Fried rice lovers on the other hand should opt for the Japanese edamame fried rice served with Japanese cucumber and papadum.
As for drinks, Madam Lee’s lime juice is refreshingly zesty and is made from limes harvested from Ng’s mother’s garden in Penang.
The fizzy roselle kaffel kombucha on the other hand is not only tasty but rich in probiotics.
As the restaurant gets busy during lunch and dinner, especially over weekends, customers are encouraged to make reservations and pre-order their meals.
At the end of the day, Ng believes that a single meal can change people’s lives, which motivates her and her team to do their best to provide good food and service.
So, should you be looking to recharge with tasty, healthy food in a comfortable environment after a long, stressful day at work, head over to this oasis of peace.
For reservations, send a WhatsApp message to 011- 57588479
Wisma Noble Land No 2
Jalan Changkat Ceylon
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Mon, Wed, Thurs: 11.00am-3.30pm; 4.30pm-9.00pm
Fri, Sat, Sun: 11.00am-3.00pm; 5.00pm-10.00pm
Closed on Tuesday