A Guide to Vegan Coffee in George Town, Penang
There are more than enough blog posts about the best coffee shops in George Town, the capital city of the state of Penang. However, we struggled finding a list of those offering vegan milk alternatives so Christine and I took it upon ourselves to hunt those down and our hunt was rather delicious! As both of us used to live in London, a city ridden with independent and quirky coffee shops, each better than the last, we got used to the abundance of good coffee with various dairy-free milk alternatives. To keep up our habits in Malaysia proved a lot more difficult as the vegan trend hasn’t emerged there yet quite as well as in London. We were aware of this, however, so we were prepared to work harder!
Mugshot CaféThis quirky coffee shop was one of our favorite spots in George Town. The welcoming and relaxing interior, classic tunes and the smell of ground coffee beans all around you easily make you forget you’re steps away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee from Papua New Guinea with either soy or almond milk, admiring the wall art or tiny colorful fish swimming in the pond. Currently the soy milk (sweetened but soon to be changed with an unsweetened option) is free of charge and the almond milk is only MYR 2 extra, making this the cheapest almond milk we managed to find. The staff is very friendly and attentive, taking the time to explain the reason behind the different milk options and the origin of the coffee. The floors above the coffee shop house a female-only hostel and adjacent to the café is a bakery (unfortunately no vegan cakes on offer as of yet). The place is also very instagramy, with wall art and a “mugshot” station for fun photos! We had a flat white with oat milk and a cappuccino with soy milk and both were delicious! I rarely prefer the soy milk option but this time round that was my favorite. Price: Cappuccino with soy milk – MYR 13, Flat white with almond milk – MYR 15 Address: 302 Chulia Street, George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia Opening Hours: Sunday – Saturday: 8:00am – 12:00am
Coffee 45We stumbled upon this cozy little eatery on Love Lane by chance. We just saw the “coffee” sign and were drawn inside, only to be pleasantly surprised by the affirmative nod in response to the question whether they serve non-dairy milk. They only had one vegan milk option – soy – and it was sweetened so if you, like Christine, are not a fan of sweet coffee, maybe this one’s not for you. I, however, enjoyed my soy latte very much. Bonus: they also serve vegan wraps, a vegan tempeh burger and homemade soy yogurt with either fruit or granola. The small but rich in flavor yogurt pot was mouth-watering and definitely worth the 9 Ringgit. Price: Soy latte – MYR 9, Soy yogurt with fruit – MYR 9 Address: 45, Love Lane, 10200 George Town, Malaysia Opening hours: Daily – 9:00am – 6:30pm
Wheeler’sAnother accidental discovery on Love Lane, this one much more upscale and you feel it, both from the atmosphere and the prices. It was very modern and professional, the staff made an effort to explain what can and can’t be made vegan and the different milks they had. Soy milk (sweetened) was once again free and almond milk (unsweetened) was an extra MYR 3. We got an almond milk latte and an avocado smoothie with soy milk (not a coffee but worth mentioning) – both incredibly delicious and worth the steep prices. All together we paid MYR 33.70 with the service charge so quite pricey for Malaysia but truly delicious flavours! Taste-wise, this was my favorite place. However, the atmosphere inside was more that of an eatery than a coffee shop and didn’t strike me as somewhere I’d spent hours reading a book, which is something I appreciate about a coffee shop! Price: House blend latte with Almond milk – MYR 14.90, Avocado smoothie – MYR 17.90 Address: 67, LoveLane, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Malaysia Opening hours: Daily – 8.30am – 2.00am
Black KettleThis place looked like it was taken out of a Coffee Shops of London picture book – very modern, hipster and contrasting vastly with the neighboring Little India. They only had soy milk but both the sweetened and unsweetened kind. I got a latte, Christine got a flat white and the friend we were with got a hot chocolate – all with the unsweetened soy milk and all tasted pretty good. I prefered the flat white over the latte but there wasn’t a huge difference. Everything was presented beautifully and we didn’t feel pressured to leave as soon as we had finished our drinks – the place was pretty big with loads of seating and there were even people working on their laptops. Price: Flat white and latte – MYR 10 each – no extra charge for soy milk. With service charge and SST we paid MYR 23.30 Address: 105, Beach Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia, 10300 Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 9am – 11.30pm and Friday – Saturday: 9am – 12am
Those are all the coffee shops we had time to visit during our stay in Malaysia’s food capital – Penang. However we heard the following places also offer vegan milk options