Hungry Tapir

—By Chong Ezen

Not wanting to miss out on the amazing Malaysian cuisine whilst wanting to stay healthy? Just the perfect place for you – The Hungry Tapir

Indulge in vegan goodness at The Hungry Tapir, a vibrant plant-based restaurant nestled in a heritage building at the heart of Petaling Street. A unique restaurant brought about by founders Cytnhia Rodrigo and her daughter Makissa Smeeton. Since opening in 2020, this restaurant has already become KL’s natural habitat for vegans and vegetarians. The variety of recipes that utilizes Malaysia’s local plant-based ingredients attracts not only people with a meat-free diet, but also for those who want to try out something new without having to completely detach themselves from their usual meals. The uniqueness of the Hungry Tapir and perseverance of Makissa and her Tapir family in creating & experimenting on new recipes can be whole-heartedly felt, allowing those who aren’t used to eating a vegetable-based diet slowly ease into it.

Entering the hybrid jungle of concrete and plants, we were welcomed with astonishment by the contrasting appearance between the exterior heritage building and its interior. Being an interior designer herself, Makissa completely strips bare the building’s rough insides revealing steeple ceilings with exposed wooden beams and a brick wall. Usually someone would think that it is under-developed, this however complements the ratan chairs, wood furniture, plantation shutters together with the abundance of potted plants. As if entering a whole new world of plants, the only wisp of civilization can only be seen through the arched windows and al fresco near the back of the restaurant. This design mirrors those of Penang’s Georgetown’s ingenious shophouses, with both the front and back of the shop facing both roads, marrying both modernity with local Malaysian tradition.

Speaking about the al fresco, some may be thinking whether it would be a great idea to have a meal under the hot & humid Malaysian sun. Turns out, with a retractable overhead rooftop coupled together with great air conditioning, it would be a perfect place for a meal together with your girlfriends, family and aunties. Additionally, with a pet-friendly policy being implemented only for the al fresco, anyone can bring their pets for a weekend brunch. Afraid that your dog might accidentally eat the food off the table? The Hungry Tapir is already coming up with an extended menu which includes 2 new dog-friendly meals in a partnership with Woofsome Meals. Decked out in bright pink together with splashes of monochrome cushions makes it an Instragrammable place, especially for those who would want to take pictures together with their pets having a hearty meal.

Founder Makissa, realizing that it is not mutually exclusive for a person to be both vegan and appreciate a good alcoholic drink, also fully equips her restaurant with a full-service bar. Anyone can spike their own drinks (with consent of course) from a multitude of options from cocktails all the way to shakes & smoothies.


Nibbles to share

·       Fried cheeken

buttermilk battered oyster mushrooms with homemade mustard mayo • rm 22 • onion and garlic free

All day breakfast

·       Tapir’s roti canai – crispy dough flatbread, comes with dahl and tempeh sambal • rm 20 • onion and garlic free (option)

·       ‘eggcelent’ benedict –  ʻtofu eggʼ, carrot bacon, spinach, hollandaise sauce on fresh sourdough • rm 26


·       Summer Kerabu –  tempeh, hedgehog mushrooms, local ulam, daun pegaga, selom, cucumber and lime leaf salad • rm 24 • gluten-free • keto friendly


·       Nasi Lemak –

Price: Starts from Approx. RM50/pax

Rating: 8/10 (tentative)

Value: 9/10 (tentative)

Address: 135 (1st floor) Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia