Every Wesak Day, N. Nandiini, 29, and her father, M. Naganatharsubramaniam, 58, provide free food for all at their stall at the Batu Lanchang Food Court in Penang.
Seelva Pure Vegetarian Cafe has been carrying out this practice for the past seven years since their launch. They also distribute free meal packages at Datuk Keramat along the annual procession route, as reported by Malay Mail Online. This year, they’re extending their service to twice a month.
“This year, we decided to extend this to the first and 15th of the Chinese lunar month, each month, because the Buddhists eat vegetarian meals on those days,” Nandiini explains to the daily.
Shortly after starting their business at the food court, the father-daughter duo was inspired by their neighbouring stall owner’s actions. Along with other friends, the group gave out free mineral water and sweets to participants of the annual Wesak Day parade.
“We think what the group of friends is doing is a good thing, that’s why we agree to do this and extend it to twice a month this year.”
“We sat down and discussed it and we agreed to do it because serving vegetarian food to people is good,” Nandiini adds.
She reveals that these meals are sponsored by a group of 20 people, who are practising Buddhists and prefer to remain anonymous. One of them says that it’s their way of giving back to society.
Seelva Pure Vegetarian Cafe serves about 200 people on regular days, with even more coming in on the first and 15th day of the lunar month. They usually serve all customers till they run out of ingredients.
“We are open from 11.30am to 8pm on those days and all food ordered at our stall is in our regular menu and it is free.”
“This is our way of encouraging more people to try vegetarian food and it is also for those who are contemplating to be vegetarian but don’t know where to start,” Nandiini claims.
The stall does not use garlic or onions in preparing their vegetarian dishes – keeping in mind their strict Hindu and Buddhist patrons.
“Other than some of our curries, some of our food is also vegan as we do not use eggs or dairy in the preparation of the food,” she adds, “We don’t use preservatives or factory-processed vegetarian meat, we make all of it ourselves.”
The stall also offers Penang favourites, like Hokkien Mee, Pasember, Kuey Teow Soup, as well as popular Indian snacks like Vadai, Murtabak, and Thosai. Not forgetting the Malaysian staples; Nasi Lemak, Nasi Goreng, Satay, and Roti Canai. Surprisingly, they even have burgers!
Seelva Pure Vegetarian Cafe is located at Batu Lanchang Food Court in Penang.
Opens from 1pm to 11pm everyday except for Wednesdays.
Publika is hosting the first Vegan Day Malaysia next month, more information here.