Tian Yian café is a bustling restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Cheras district, in one of the typicall small shop area where restaurants and small shops are often located, where it extends over a total of 3 shop lots. My wild guess is that it seats about 300 people, and when I was there, it was always well filled.
So it can be considered as a very successful restaurant, and it seems that most people are here for the delicious taste of the food. They offer very tasty Chinese dishes, and they clearly put good taste over health or other considerations. I do not know if they use MSG, but they certainly use enough oil, sugar and salt to make the dishes good alternatives for people who want to have a delicious meal and for whatever reason want to eat vegetarian. So if you ever want to go out with omni friends or colleagues, this is a place where you can bring them without fearing that they will complain about the food. All food should also be free of onions and garlic to be suitable for Buddhists.
Challenges for vegans?
Vegans might face the challenge that the menu is not very easy to read (basically pictures of the dishes with prices), and that no ingredients are described there. You will have to rely on the product knowledge and the language skills of your waiter, which can be very good or not so much so. When I was in the sister restaurant, Du Sky garden, the waitress said that she will bring a vegan sauce to go with the satay I ordered. I had eaten the same dish in Tian Yian café, so now I am wondering, if they do prepare the sauce different or if maybe the waiter in Tian Yian café brought me something that was not vegan.
Definitely not a great position, and I would strongly suggest to management to provide a menu for vegans (e.g. a simple word document that can be printed out with a list of the dishes that are vegan or can be veganized)
Another thing here is that many similar restaurants seem to use incredible amounts of cheese in their western style dishes – especially the pizzas are cheese-laden monstrosities and some other dishes, that do not really require cheese, are garnished with liberal amounts of it.
It also seems strange that both Tian Yian café and Sky Garden offer a range of delicious cakes, some of them specifically dairy- and egg-free, and a range of coffee specialties, but both state that they do not have any kind of soymilk to prepare a vegan cappuccino or latte macchiato … with espresso as only vegan option.
Cons: Vegan options not marked, Some options might not be very healthy, Parking can be an issue