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Malaysian roti bread

kerokaeru Jan 3, 2007 05:40 PM

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. j
    JohnSmith2 Jan 3, 2007 05:45 PM

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

    1. Scott V Jan 3, 2007 05:47 PM

      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
        houdipuffy Feb 1, 2007 01:14 PM

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

      2. p
        plasticman Jan 3, 2007 09:06 PM

        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. k
          kobetobiko Jan 3, 2007 09:07 PM

          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. p
            Pan Jan 3, 2007 10:15 PM

            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
              Peter Cherches Jan 4, 2007 01:54 PM

              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
                royal bisquit Jan 4, 2007 04:27 PM

                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
                  rdabke Jan 4, 2007 04:33 PM

                  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
                    royal bisquit Jan 4, 2007 09:33 PM

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

                2. re: Pan
                  bigjeff Jan 5, 2007 12:53 AM

                  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
                    Pan Jan 7, 2007 04:17 AM

                    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
                      Peter Cherches Jan 7, 2007 04:36 PM

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

                      1. re: Peter Cherches
                        Pan Jan 8, 2007 06:44 AM

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

                      2. re: Pan
                        bigjeff Jan 8, 2007 02:14 PM

                        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
                          grocerytrekker Jan 13, 2007 06:23 AM

                          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
                            Peter Cherches Jan 14, 2007 02:11 PM

                            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.


                  2. AKR Jan 4, 2007 03:33 PM

                    Some of the chinese groceries in Chinatown also carry this. Both Penang and Nyonya (as mentioned earlier) also have excellent appetizer portions. Also, if you are on the east side, try Fusha which has a credible example, although thicker.

                    Be aware that they are incredibly fatty though!

                    1. c
                      cereal Jan 4, 2007 03:45 PM

                      Try New Malaysia Restaurant in the arcade thingy between Bowery and Elizabeth just south of Canal, they have good roti, good anything, really.

                      1. a
                        akulaji Jan 4, 2007 06:17 PM

                        I second Nyonya for Roti Canai... they also do have some decent food there if you know what to order.

                        1. p
                          petiteGlutton Jan 7, 2007 06:40 PM

                          Definitely check out Jaya on Baxter just south of Canal. The roti chanai comes with a curry broth similar to their delicious, huge and cheap Laksa Noodle... almost have to go get some just thinking about it!

                          1. a
                            anil Jan 7, 2007 10:45 PM

                            What the Original poster was looking for is available in the frozen food sections in Lex/20's as "Malaysian Paratha"

                            or order online from http://www.bqfoods.com/frozen.html

                            1. s
                              shh Jan 11, 2007 02:31 AM

                              To the original poster: The brand name of the bread is "malaysian". It is simply delicious - one problem though - it is loaded with oil.

                              To other posters: Does the name Malaysia have any origins to
                              the Kerala's Malayalam - or vice versa ?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: shh
                                Pan Jan 13, 2007 05:22 AM

                                The word for "Malay" in the Malay language is Melayu, and the land used to be (and sometimes still is) called "Tanah Melayu" ("Malay Land"). I have never heard the claim that the derivations of "Melayu" and "Malayalam" are related. And now, we'd better get back to food!

                              2. k
                                kerokaeru Jan 13, 2007 10:34 PM

                                I tried something called a roti at Terry's Gourmet on 16th and 6th Ave. It was filled with a curry filling...was this a Caribbean roti rather than a Malaysian roti? It was good but not what I had been expecting. It seems that there are a lot of breads called roti. I guess they are variations on the Indian original.
                                I also saw a place called Roti Roll Bombay Frankie's on Amersterdam around 109th street. Does anyone know of this place? Is it the original Indian roti sandwich, I wonder?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kerokaeru
                                  TriniGourmet Apr 22, 2007 11:48 AM

                                  Terry's serves Trini-style roti, so yes Caribbean :)

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