Cover Roti canai with chickpea curry and sambal tofu bun by Woon Heng (Photo: Instagram/@woon.heng)

Add Asian vegan cuisine to your lockdown menu

Asian cuisine has a reputation for being meat-intensive and not friendly to the vegans and vegetarians. But you'd be surprised to find how many staples of vegan cuisine—such as tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari and coconut milk—originated in Asia. 

And with the sustainability and clean-eating movements picking up momentum in Asia, these vegan and plant-based Instagram influencers are showing just how easy it is to make Asian vegan food, with their personal stories and easy-to-follow recipes. 

See also: Asia's Best Vegetarian and Vegan Tasting Menus

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Elina Gives

One of the most recognisable faces in the Malaysian vegan community, Elina shares her delicious vegan recipes of Malaysian dishes, as well as food photography tips, on her Instagram and her recently launched website. She also reviews different vegan establishments and gives tips and tricks on navigating the food scene in Kuala Lumpur. 

See also: Watch: What Vegan Model Natalie Prabha Eats In A Day

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East Meets Kitchen

Food stylist, photographer and cookbook author of Vegan Dim Sum, Christina Ng's feed provides a good selection of vegan Asian recipes, including this vegan siu mai made from seitan, interspersed with photos from her travels—making for a truly enjoyable scroll. 

See also: 17 New Cookbooks To Read In 2021

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George Lee

Trained in Paris, this 19-year-old Taiwanese chef George Lee has become a firm favourite among the community for vegan-ising everyone's favourite dishes around Asia. From Taiwanese popcorn cauliflower to vegan meat floss, his recipes are easy-to-follow and yield fantastic results every time. 

See also: Inside The World Of Acclaimed Taiwanese Chef-Restaurateur, André Chiang

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Woon Heng

Rendang mushrooms. Mee mamak goreng. Curry laksa.

Woon Heng Chia, who grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, definitely captures the taste of home in her vegan recipes. With 440k followers on Instagram, her food content resonates with many around the world, so much so that Hollywood actress Natalie Portman recently invited her to cook vegan potstickers together. 

See also: How To Start A Plant-Based Diet

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Kristin Tan

Popular on Instagram as well as TikTok, 17-year-old Malaysian's recipe videos are easy to follow and fun to watch. Her passion and genuine enthusiasm is infectious and can inspire even the most skeptical to pick up their spatulas and try vegan cooking. 

Related: Artist Lim Pui Wan Creates Miniature Sculptures That Are Big On Nostalgic Charm

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The Korean Vegan

This Chicago-based vegan influencer Joanne Molinaro takes us on a journey when sharing her recipes, often pairing her delicious food with heart-warming stories from her childhood and positive affirmations. She presents cooking as a self-soothing, almost meditative activity. In this video, she is making a vegan kkakdugi or radish kimchi

See also: What Is Minari, The Korean Food Behind The Eponymous Oscar-Nominated Film?

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Okonomi Kitchen

Lisa Kitahara started the Okonomi Kitchen to share vegan recipes inspired by her Japanese-Chinese heritage. An impressive showcase of culinary creativity, she recreates delicious her favourite childhood foods, including Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) onigiri and kaki fry. Her recent vegan seafood recipes have been a refreshing break in a space where many are focused on providing beef or chicken alternatives.

See also: Kikubari's Progressive Japanese Cuisine Saves Space At The Table For Non-Meat Eaters

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Good Life With Gan

Gan Yee Huan is behind one of the best recipes out there for everyone's favourite vegan sweet and sour pork, made from tempeh. She shares her recipes on her Instagram, with more detailed videos on her YouTube channel. Be sure to check out her Makan Makan With Gan stories on her highlights, which follows her vegan food adventures around Malaysia. 

See also: 10 Famous Malaysian Street Foods Craved Worldwide

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The Foodie Takes Flight

Just scrolling through this Instagram feed is making us hungry! Our favourite recipes from Jeeca are the vegan versions of her favourite Filipino dishes, including this 'pork' barbecue skewers with marinated soy meat chunks and served with garlic turmeric rice, pickled papaya or atchara, calamansi, chilli and vinegar with onions. 

See also: Filipino Street Food Guide: 10 Must-Try Snacks In The Philippines

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Purvi Shah

We can almost taste the food through the screen. This talented food photographer dabbles in developing vegan recipes, including this broken wheat porridge or Laapsi, a traditional dish from Rajasthan and Gujarat. 

See also: Garima Arora Is Asia's Best Female Chef & The First Indian Female To Receive A Michelin Star

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Davina Goh

Davina Goh takes us on the journey of developing recipes inspired by her Malaysian roots. For example, she recently shared her attempts at oo li pan, a Hakka delicacy that was her late grandmother's specialty. We also love her recipe for pong teh, a Nyonya fermented bean stew—a tribute to her Peranakan roots. 

She also encourages her followers to explore different ingredients, from durian flowers to banana peels, which makes vegan cooking a little more exciting for those who are looking to level up. 

See also: Who Are The Chettis Of Melaka? And What Is Hindu-Peranakan Cuisine?

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Wil Yeung

Born in Hong Kong and living in Canada, Wil Yeung was an international photographer and filmmaker before venturing into the plant-based food space. Safe to say, if you're looking for recipes that come with pleasing visuals and soothing ASMR, Yeung's Instagram and cooking channel on YouTube is the place to go. 

See also: 9 Malaysian Photographers To Follow On Instagram