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Jan 3, 2007 05:40 PM

Malaysian roti bread

When I was in New Zealand, the supermarkets had Malaysian roti bread. They were so buttery and chewy heated a bit in the microwave. Is there a place that sells roti in Manhattan? While we are at it-any good restaurants to enjoy a nice roti?

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  1. Nyonya, in Chinatown, has terrific roti with a curry sauce on the side.

    1. The roti canai at Penang is quite good. It's an appetizer. The other food there isn't very good. I stop in for roti and a beer from time to time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Scott V

        Is Penang still open? when I went awhile back ( some weeks ago) it seemed to be shuttered.

      2. You can find this at Indian grocery stores in the frozen foods section. I've forgotten the brand name, but it's sold as Indian Paratha even though it really isn't. Check for "Made in Malaysia" on the front.

        1. Singapore Cafe on Mott Street and Jaya on Baxter have pretty good Roti bread. In fact it is served in most (if not all)Singapore / Malaysian restaurants in Chinatown.

          1. I like the roti telur at Skyway (the roti canai is also good). For the record, "roti" is the catchall word for "bread" in Malay, so "roti bread" is a redundancy.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Pan

              I wasn't aware of that. I wonder if the word roti came to Malaysia & Indonesia from India or vice versa.

              Of course the Malaysian roti we're most familiar with is the flaky, fried roti canai (pronounced chanai).


              1. re: Peter Cherches

                I believe it came to Malaysia with the Indian immigrants that were brought to work the rubber plantations during the British colonial period.

                for the full story:


                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  Roti is the Indian word for leavened bread.
                  Chennai (morphed into Channai/Canai) is the old name for the city of Madras in India.
                  A whole bunch of Indian population has migrated from India to the Sing/Malaysian area, taking the food with them.

                  1. re: rdabke

                    that's great info. i never new the chennai origin of it.

                2. re: Pan

                  skyway's roti canai is more along the line of singapore cafe's (about 7 inches diameter and thicker than the "traditional" roti canai that I've had in malaysia), much thinner and wider, and then almost folded when presented. both varieties are good, but I prefer the thinner more crispy one that the smaller thicker one (too scallion-pancake-like).

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    The thin roti canai is actually the newfangled kind. In the 70s, I used to get roti canai from a Mamak (Indian Muslim) hawker who had a griddle on the street near the Pasar Chow Kit in Kuala Lumpur. He and everyone else I knew of in those days made a thick roti canai that actually had a thickness and consistency much more like that of the roti telur at Skyway than their roti canai. And I prefer the old style to the new style, so I particularly like Skyway's rendition.

                    1. re: Pan

                      It was my experience in Malaysia that most roti canai vendors were Indian Muslim.

                      1. re: Peter Cherches

                        That's exactly correct. Roti canai is a type of Mamak food.

                      2. re: Pan

                        last time I was in Malaysia (over 15 years ago), I was always seeing the big thin kind, and the vendors made a big show of a large thin one that they then folded into some tall impressive tower, and, I was fully impressed! made a strong impression on me later on . . . .

                        1. re: bigjeff

                          Yes, they would swing around that dough and the thin circle got thinner and thinner, bigger and bigger. It became really huge. Left a big impression on me, too.

                          What I miss the most are the simplest things : nasi lemak (which should be easy to make, but I can't), mee goreng, popiah, and some good kuih dadar with loads of pandan flavor.

                          1. re: grocerytrekker

                            I used to get dadar at that Indonesian/Malaysian place on Doyers Street, but they stopped making it because they claimed it was too labor intensive for what they could charge (i.e., customers wouldn't pay more than 60 cents). However, the other day I was at Overseas Asian (former Ipoh Garden owners) and they told me they sometimes make dadar in the mornings. I might try to do a special order some time. It's one of my favorite sweets in the world.