It was a partially cloudy but sufficiently sunny Sunday morning. I was feeling positive about the weather and the vegan picnic potluck in Kuala Lumpur. This day had been on my mind for at least 2 months. Coming back to Malaysia after 8 months of travel in 2022 gave me a new sense of hope and a craving for community.
Why A Vegan Potluck?
I had no other intention than to just gather people together, get to know them better and enjoy vegan food.
And I thought, “What better way to get people together than with food?”
Plus, November was just around the corner, which in my view is World Vegan Month. I felt like I had to do something. And so a month prior to 6 Nov 2022, I put out a post announcing that I’ll be hosting a Vegan Picnic Potluck at Taman Botani Perdana, Kuala Lumpur.
How The Potluck Was Planned
A couple of weeks before the announcement, I prepared the:
- Registration form
- Article draft
- Featured image
I posted all of the above in this blog post along with information on what to bring.
I’m a planner by nurture and so I had to plan all this out for my peace of mind.
I could’ve not bothered with the signups but I felt it was needed to let the interested people know the exact location when the time came. And so with the information, I sent weekly emails in October leading up to the potluck date and also created a Telegram group.
The emails were sent to everyone registered but the Telegram was optional. I knew that some people might not like or have Telegram but it was efficient when it came to urgent changes on the day itself.
As a host, it was important for me to have at least an instant messaging group because I didn’t want to rely on Instagram DM — I don’t have my notifications on and those who messaged me on the day would be ignored.
Feel free to copy and paste this method if you’d like to host your own vegan potluck!
I generally have low expectations by default and so I really didn’t mind it if only 5 people showed up. But praised be, there were 40 of us occupying the Bamboo Playhouse at the Taman Botani Perdana (a.k.a. Lake Gardens).
It was indeed quite lively and I was happy to meet new friends!
The Buffet of Vegan Food
As the rule was “no vegan food, no join”, everyone who came brought at least one vegan dish.
And so there were at least 40 different types of vegan food.
It had been a while since I was in the presence of a huge spread of yummy vegan food.
The goal was to try every single food but sadly, I couldn’t manage it because either the food was gone too soon or my stomach just didn’t have enough room (mostly the latter).
So note to self and everyone: don’t overeat one dish at a potluck. Take a couple of bite sizes and move on to the next!
Organising a vegan potluck is actually quite easy but it does require some brain power when planning the logistics.
But other than that, it’s basically you inviting people to come and bring vegan food. You just need to make sure that they know the ingredients in the food they’re bringing to clarify any allergens.
As the host, you may get away with not preparing a lavish dish but for fairness, at least contribute some snacks or drinks.
I’m glad that the weather held up. It was in the middle of the monsoon or rainy season. I knew I should avoid the late afternoon as that was when the rain was most likely to fall. I didn’t want to do it too early in the morning so as to give people enough time to prepare their food and commute to the location.
So 11am was just perfect. It got cloudier by the hour but we packed up by 3pm and avoided the rain.
From this gathering, I remain hopeful about the vegan movement in Malaysia. It’s growing slowly, but at least it’s growing. In Kuala Lumpur specifically, it has developed so much from five years ago as there are now so many vegan options in supermarkets and restaurants.
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep the community strong and inspire others to go vegan. In time, veganism will be mainstream.