Cheap and satisfying meal with this hearty, fluffy and crispy Roti Canai. The roti canai makes for a common breakfast or supper food.

Roti Canai is a popular flatbread sold by Indian Muslim vendors in Penang. Created as a cheap meal to serve the coolie class in the 19th century, the roti canai has since been embraced by all races. The name, thought to be Malay, is actually of Indian origin, as the word “roti” derives for most Indian languages denoting the various types of flatbread found in India. Roti Canai, however, is a local derivation of Indian flatbread. In Singapore, it’s known as roti prata, but Malaysians call it roti canai.

The roti canai makes a satisfying meal item especially when paired with a glass of rich creamy teh tarik. The flatbread is made from a dough of flour, water and ghee. Some stalls add a touch of milk to give it a richer taste. Once the dough is kneaded until smooth, it’s flattened and a layer of ghee is added to prevent it from drying out. The oiled dough will be left to rise.

The dough is flattened then tossed around to allow the dough to stretch until it is thin. The dough is then folded over repeatedly. This method creates the inner layers. 

The flattened dough will be pan-grill on a hot griddle until it’s golden brown on both sides. Just before it’s served, the crispy flatbread is fluffed up by patting it vigorously with two cupped hands.

Usually stalls will have two types of roti canai available which are the plain roti canai (plain flatbread) and roti telur (plain flatbread with egg) with dhal curry.

You can add fillings into it within the stretched layers of the dough such as beaten egg, chopped onions and even bananas, before it’s folded together. 

Usually, the plain roti canai is eaten with dhal curry. Some stalls will have chicken curry or fish curry and even mutton or beef curry. The roti canai are best eaten with thick dhall or the stall’s specialty curry.

Some like their roti canai with the torn pieces of roti is served laden with moderately spicy curry, with wonderful aroma of spices onto it. They called it roti banjir (flooded bread).

There are some stall being creative by creating their specialty roti canai with other names which has special filling in it. Some of the more common specialty roti canai are roti tissue (a thin crust layer), roti bom, roti cheese, roti sardine and many more.

Here are few places in George Town to try out for your breakfast meal.

Stall @ Queen Street (7:30am – 12pm)

Stall @ Transfer road (7:30am – 12pm)

Abu KSB Cahaya @ Macalister Lane (6pm-3am)