I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published September 9th 2012
A delicious, friendly and affordable dining experience
As many vegetarians have discovered, it's often a challenge finding somewhere to eat when travelling internationally. While Malaysia, with its ethnic diversity, poses less of a challenge for vegetarians than many other places, unless you know where exactly to go, you can still find yourself wandering around its streets anxiously looking for where to find a meal. Therefore, when I heard about Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I often transit when travelling, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Located in Brickfields, an area of Kuala Lumpur which is also known as Little India, Gopal's is a lovely informal restaurant whose cuisine reflects the rich cultural mixture of Malaysia. With a menu which encompasses the best of South Indian cooking, as well as Malaysian, Chinese, European and fusion, there's sure to be something that the whole family will enjoy. It's also refreshingly affordable, and a meal there for a group of four will cost less than A$20.00.
Run by Hare Krishna devotees, the menu is strictly vegetarian, with no meat, fish or eggs. In addition, the cooks avoid the use of onion and garlic. The delicious flavours which they create, is entirely the result of their expert combination of various aromatic spices. In addition, although dairy ingredients are used in a few preparations, the vast majority are vegan.
Gopal's opens at 7.00am, and has a bewildering assortment of sumptuous South Indian preparations on their breakfast menu including idli, various kinds of dosha, uttapam and roti. Similarly, the restaurant's lunch menu is also mainly South Indian, and patrons can choose from a wonderful variety of different thallis: a combination of two rices ('special' and plain), a few curries, dal, rasam, pakoras, chutney, pickles and flat bread, such as capatis or parathas. For those partial to tofu, there is even the choice of a special tofu or soya protein thalli, which although not traditional Indian cuisine, reflects the delightful cultural fusion which is Malaysia. The price of these thallis ranged from just 5.50 to 10.50 Malaysian ringit, which is equivalent to just a few Aussie dollars.
Vegetarian thalli, Gopala Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur
In the evening, a much larger assortment of preparations is available. In addition to a comprehensive selection of sumptuous Indian delicacies, a wide selection of Chinese noodle preparations, fried rices, sweet and sour, tofu stir-fries, and satays is available, as well as iconic Malaysian dishes (albeit vegetarian) such as Nasi Lemak, Kampong Fried Rice and Tomyam Maggie Goreng. We could also choose from a small selection of Western fast-foods including vegetarian hot dogs, vegie burgers and fries. Tasty entrees, such as light soup, spring rolls, satay sticks and pakoras satisfied our hunger until our main meal arrived.
In addition, the restaurant also served a good assortment of both hot and cold drinks. Juices, lassis (Indian smoothies made from yoghurt) and milkshakes were delicious and very affordable at between 5.50 and 6.50 Malaysian ringit: the equivalent of A$1.50 or A$2.00. There were also soft drinks, which were even cheaper.
In conclusion, Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant is a terrific little establishment to drop in on, whether you're a local or just passing through Kuala Lumpur. For budget travellers like myself it's perfect, as it's centrally located (close to KL Sentral, where the buses from the airport arrive and many budget hotels are), open throughout the day and much of the night, and the meals are delicious and reasonably priced. It's great for families, too, due to its large menu, and you'll be sure to find something yummy that even the fussiest child will eat. Last but not least, the employees are absolutely lovely: genuinely friendly and willing to explain what exactly all the exotic delicacies on the menu are. Whether you're a vegetarian or not, I highly recommend this friendly, down-to-earth restaurant in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.