Tasty, affordable vegetarian fare at Kuching Buddhist Society’s community-based eatery

Gandhara Vegetarian Restaurant's fast food station is one of the restaurant's popular draws as patrons can choose 3 side dishes to go with rice for only RM5.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, June 23: Plant-based or vegetarian dishes are excellent choices for those watching their calories or who do not to eat meat or seafood.

In the city, while there is no shortage of food stalls and eateries which cater to vegetarians, they are not as widely available compared to non-vegetarian options.


DayakDaily recently discovered the community-based Gandhara Vegetarian Restaurant, managed by the Kuching Buddhist Society (KBS), with a conducive dining ambience and a wide range of dishes which offer value for money.

The vegetarian curry is a must-try.

KBS president Chua Beng Thian revealed that the eatery was opened nine years ago to expand the society’s cultural education philosophy and to bring together people from all walks of life through a vegetarian meal.

“KBS is not just providing a place for those of the Buddhist faith to pray, but our main objective, as a contribution to our community, is to serve delightful vegetarian dishes to members of the public.

“We want people to come together from all walks of life and not just vegetarians as there are not many eateries in the city serve such meals,” he explained further.

Ala carte vegetarian dishes served at KBS’s Gandhara Vegetarian Restaurant.
The restaurant’s vegetarian laksa.

The restaurant is not-for-profit. It focuses on serving healthy food.

“On our menu, we have more than 50 individually prepared vegetarian dishes that suit local palates priced between RM5 to RM6. For example, we have vegetarian versions of the famous Sarawak kolo mee and laksa.

“If you order the laksa, it will be prepared vegetarian style where the spicy broth is much lighter (not made with chicken or seafood) and will be served with a paste made out of mushrooms instead of the prawn paste (belacan).”

Diners can also choose warm finger food and try the restaurant’s yam pastry priced at RM5. Hot beverages such as a small cup of coffee or tea are priced at at RM1.50.

Vegetarian rojak.
Yam pastry.

However, it is the fast food station which most diners come here for.

“Diners can have a plate of rice with three side dishes for only RM5. These are very filling meals.

“Our chefs will prepare 12 to 15 different vegetarian dishes daily to give regulars wider choices. But favourite dishes like vegetarian curry is prepared daily. It is also my favourite,” he revealed.

Chua believed that KBS through its restaurant, is playing its role in maintaining harmony in Sarawak with its people of different races and religions.

“We see not only locals but foreigners patronising our restaurant, and as the president since the establishment of KBS in 1971 here, I am hopeful we can do more for our multi-racial community and am grateful that I and fellow members have contributed our part for the society,” he said.

The eatery is at Iris Garden along Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho. It operates daily from 7am to 4.30pm. For more information, call 028-428 689. — DayakDaily