Enjoy a 'muhibbah' spread of dishes at this Indian food stall in the heart of Kuala Lumpur

Ambiga Saminathan runs this stall at the crossroad of Lorong Ceylon and Jalan Mesui — Pictures by Choo Choy May and Lee Khang Yi
Ambiga Saminathan runs this stall at the crossroad of Lorong Ceylon and Jalan Mesui — Pictures by Choo Choy May and Lee Khang Yi

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Sure, there are many stalls offering Indian food at every corner of our hungry city, but this stall is different because it offers a daily spread that tastes like Malaysia.

The feast of 30-plus dishes served here reminds me that Malaysia is made up of different cultures, all united in harmony.

Some days, you will see Chinese home-style hairy melon with glass noodles rubbing shoulders with a mutton curry. Or how about some chicken rendang?

Mutton curry is a popular pick with their customers
Mutton curry is a popular pick with their customers
Fish 'puttu' is a must with your plate of rice, when it is available
Fish 'puttu' is a must with your plate of rice, when it is available

Your tummy will also be rumbling for their fish puttu, a popular Indian dish with grated fresh coconut, flaked fish and chopped green chillies. There's also crispy fried bitter gourd and the list goes on.

Resistance is futile.

This no-signboard stall located at the crossroads of Lorong Ceylon and Jalan Mesui has been in business since 1985.

It was started by Ambiga Saminathan's mother, Meenachi Mathuan and about three years ago, the 58-year old took over the business when her mother died.

Crispy fried sotong is prepared at the stall just before lunch
Crispy fried sotong is prepared at the stall just before lunch
Ambiga's version of Chicken 65 is boneless chicken pieces mixed with fried curry leaves
Ambiga's version of Chicken 65 is boneless chicken pieces mixed with fried curry leaves

It's very much a family business as Ambiga's siblings are all involved. Ambiga's brother, Balamurali, also operates a stall at Menara Boustead's food court where you can get the same spread of dishes.

The dishes are all cooked at the food court's kitchen by Ambiga and her sister, Letchumi. It's only the fried items, which are prepped on site.

In the morning, you can also get Nyonya kuih made by Ambiga's eldest sister, Kanaga. She picked up her skills from her friends when she used to stay in Kedah when her husband worked there.

There is also an assortment of fried noodles for breakfast.

The stall has many regulars like Chandra Segaran (middle) and Mogan Sathia Sivam (right) who have been eating here since 1985!
The stall has many regulars like Chandra Segaran (middle) and Mogan Sathia Sivam (right) who have been eating here since 1985!
The clientele of the stall is very diverse... very representative of Malaysia's population
The clientele of the stall is very diverse... very representative of Malaysia's population

The stall has many regulars. Some like Chandra Segaran and Mogan Sathia Sivam have been frequenting the stall since it started even though they have moved office.

Another customer is there every day to pack food for his office colleagues. Sometimes it can go up to 15 takeaway packets!

Even the late Yasmin Ahmad, Ambiga related, was a fan of their food. As her office was nearby, Yasmin was a frequent diner here.

A Chinese home-style dish of hairy melon with glass noodles can be found here
A Chinese home-style dish of hairy melon with glass noodles can be found here
Some of the vegetables like the stir fried long beans look more at home in a Chinese economy rice stall
Some of the vegetables like the stir fried long beans look more at home in a Chinese economy rice stall

In fact, Ambiga once catered for a Petronas shoot. (Yasmin was famous for her poignant Petronas television commercials.)

Crowd favourites at the stall are the Chicken 65, mutton curry and fried sotong. Ambiga's version of Chicken 65 uses boneless chicken cut into small pieces that are then marinated with red chillies, garlic, ginger and spices. This is fried just before lunch with curry leaves.

Try their fried sotong too. Ambiga is especially proud of these crispy bites that are lightly battered and have a hint of spices.

You get a satisfying lunch that won't burn a hole in your wallet
You get a satisfying lunch that won't burn a hole in your wallet
Go for the crispy fried bitter gourd with its crunchy texture and slight bitterness
Go for the crispy fried bitter gourd with its crunchy texture and slight bitterness

Another must-have here is the simple fried fish cooked Malay style, topped generously with green sambal made from green chillies and onions.

You will be surprised as it won't burn off your tongue. Ambiga tells us that the food served at the stall is tuned to be not overly spicy. This appeals to all races.

Some items can even sell out before noon, like their prawn curry that was swiped up in takeaway packets the moment the stall opened.

Depending on which dish sells out, Ambiga tops up the portions if there's extra available at their kitchen in the food court.

Select this delicious eggplant with curry leaves for your meal
Select this delicious eggplant with curry leaves for your meal
They are generous with the 'sambal' that tops their fried fish
They are generous with the 'sambal' that tops their fried fish

Ambiga also rotates some dishes on a daily basis. For instance, the fish puttu is not often served since it involves a lot of work to flake the fish to be mixed with the freshly grated coconut.

Ambiga charges according to what you have piled on your plate. Prices generally range from RM7 to RM10. They are also available for catering on weekends. 

Stall at the crossroads of Lorong Ceylon and Jalan Mesui (opposite Wisma Noble Land), Kuala Lumpur. Open: 11.30am to 3.30pm (Monday to Friday)

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