In Malaysia, Indian culture is synonymous with many things. Festivals, celebrations, traditions, and more importantly, food. The paratha just happens to be among them. In Malaysia, we call it ‘roti canai’, which literally translates to ‘tossed bread’. A strange name indeed, but ask any Malaysian abroad, and they will tell you that roti canai is synonymous with home.
A mound of dough is stretched thin, then tossed in the air like an Italian chef prepping a pizza base. The link shows an example of how the boys make a roti canai*, exposing the simplicity of its creation. But more importantly, the true beauty of the dish lies in its malleability, allowing the original recipe to be tweaked in infinite ways, which we’ll touch on next time.
As for the place today, don’t let the humble appearance fool you. The food here is an absolute banger.
I never thought that the best original roti canai (in my opinion) would be literally right under my nose. I mean, it’s only 7 minutes’ walk from my doorstep, it’s got history, and tastes pretty damn good. What else can I say? If I weren’t as strict on my fitness regime, I’d have this for breakfast. Every. Single. Day.
Price: RM 1.00 per roti
What to expect:
I mean, a roti canai is just a paratha, right? I don’t know how these Malay lads do it, but I swear that there’s something that they do to the roti canai that makes it stand out from your ordinary paratha.
While being slightly smaller in size than a paratha, this roti canai makes up for it in other ways. The body of the roti is tender and mellow, with every conceivable corner/bend/nook/cranny of the roti fried to a beautiful crisp.
The thing that stands out to me about this roti is the fact that the margarine they use somehow melds into the fabric of the roti itself. This oily sensation isn’t overwhelming, but just at the right amount that compliments the dough, making for ecstasy in every single bite. Tender and just perfectly oiled, combined with the crisp woven into every corner of the roti, makes this dish perfect as a comfort food, or a lovely snack. On top of that, the inexpensive price tag makes it EXTREMELY worth every cent, with RM 5 being able to net you 5 pieces of this amazing roti canai. That in itself makes it far more tantalizing for repeat-orders than all the other the dishes that I have ever covered on this blog. Go ahead, know yourself out.
Needless to say, the roti canai at this joint easily tops my guilty pleasures list. Curious? You can find it here.
Tourist tips: This joint isn’t well known by tourists, but is definitely a favorite among the locals! If I ever had a complaint about the place, it is that the seats here are extremely limited.
The store only opens in the mornings, from 6 am to 12 pm, and it is during these times that the place is crowded. In my experience, a good time to visit would either be the earlier or later hours, when the place is slightly less crowded. Also, I highly recommend asking the lads for extra sambal with the dhal that they serve. Mix the sambal into the dhal, and enjoy the roti with a combination of Indian and Malay flavors!
*Credit for roti canai footage goes to Follow Me Foodie, who runs a small food channel on Youtube.