LETCHMANAN Veerasamy, 63, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, strongly believes in ahimsa, the principle of not causing harm to living things.
This prompted him to set up a vegetarian food stall to cater to people from all walks of life, be it rich or poor, and serve them with hearty Indian vegetarian meals.
“In 1984, my wife and I set up our first stall on the land where a fuel station is now located. We then moved to the existing lot provided by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL),” said Letchmanan.
“At that time, we served non-vegetarian food until we decided to practise ahimsa and switched to serving vegetarian food,” he said.
The brightly coloured 33-year-old stall located in Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields serves breakfast as early as 6.30am with favourites such as tosai, idli, chapati and nasi lemak which cost nothing more than RM5 with tea or coffee.
Letchmanan’s wife Paramesvary Ganesan, 57, said her day starts at 3am as she readies dishes for the breakfast menu at home before bringing them to the stall.
At 10.30am, the stall is closed so that Paramesvary can focus on preparing lunch. There are kitchen helpers to assist with the cutting of vegetables and cleaning the stall.
“The stall opens at noon and we serve different lunch sets every day which consist of three types of vegetables, a bowl of curry, deep-fried chilli, crispy papadom and curd at a fixed price of RM7 while an extra dish cost RM1.”
“We serve pure vegetarian dishes and do not include mock meat in our menu.”
“People love our paavakai poriyal (deep-fried bitter gourd fritters) and soy chunks peratal.
The stall is also known for its aromatic five-star-tea made with a mix of different types of tea and spices.
The sukku malli (dried ginger and coriander powder) tea with fresh ginger as one of its ingredients, is served in a dabara set with omapodi, an Indian snack on the side.
“Coffee and tea costs RM2 each. On Fridays, we serve payasam, an Indian dessert cooked with vermicelli, sugar, milk and other condiments,” said Paramesvary, adding that the stall gets 80 to 100 customers daily.
The Sathiyanery Vegetarian Food Centre is located on Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields and is open from 6.30am to 10.30am, and noon to 3pm. It is closed on weekends.