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Where to find REAL roti?

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  • sweth May 27, 2010 06:15 PM
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has given me a craving for real roti, as in the Indian flatbread later exported to SE Asia and the West Indies, and usually served with a good curry or stew of some sort. What are folks best local sources for roti? I'm open to any of the variations--Trini bussup shut roti, Malaysian roti canai, Singaporean roti prata, or whatever.

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  1. I've heard very good things about Teddy's Roti shop in Washington, D.C.

    Teddy's Roti Shop
    7304 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20012

    8 Replies
    1. re: Clootie

      Me too, but I haven't been able to find it. The last I heard, a couple of years ago it moved from GA Ave. to near the Silver Spring Metro station. I looked for it there once, unsuccessfully. Has anyone been there recently? Is it at 7414 GA Ave. now?

      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Sorry, I mentioned Teddy's in the linked-to thread, but should have also mentioned it here; it's the real deal, and the first place I thought of when roti was brought up in that other thread. The new address is 7304 Georgia Ave.

        Anyone have other suggestions? The other place that I used to go to for roti was Asian Bistro in Alexandria for roti canai w/ chicken curry, but they don't make that anymore.

        Asian Bistro
        809 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

        1. re: sweth

          I've had roti canai at Malaysia Kopitiam. I thought it was good, but not thrilling - but that's the only place I've had it. I don't have anything to compare it to. It is also on the menu at Penang.

          Malaysia Kopitiam
          1827 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

          1. re: woodleyparkhound

            Thanks; I'll have to try it out at both of those places and report back.

            1. re: sweth

              I had roti canai at Penang a few days ago. It's been at least a couple of years since I had it at Malaysia Kopitiam, so the comparison might not be fair, but my initial impression was that the Penang version was much better. The roti was huge, papery-crispy in places and thicker and sort of chewy in others, and served nice and hot. The chicken curry served with it was very good as well. I also really enjoyed the green curry I had there.

              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                Being a Malaysian and having tried roti canai at both Malayaisan Kopitiam and Penang, would have to say that the food in general at Malaysian Kopitiam is a poor attempt at authetic Malaysian food. Their roti canai is basically terrible, the roti is flat tough, undercooked and their chix curry tastes like it's out of the can. My daughter and I were sorely disappointed and should have gone with our first reservations of the place being located next to a strip club. Penang (in Bethesda) does a much better job, their roti is indeed light and crispy and the chix curry tastes much better although still not as good as some of the stuff we had last week in Malaysia (the country ;) The Penang in Gaithesburg does not do roti canai well, they are basically and Indian restaurant masquerading as a Malaysian place.

                Malaysian food basically falls into 3 major categories of origins based on the origins of the chef, Indian-style, Malay-style, and Chinese-style. Roti canai being originally of Indian origins, is tastiest and best if made by and Indian-styled cook. While Malays and Chinese do make roti canai, generally speaking they are not as authentic or as good but there are exceptions. Ironically the Penang in Gaithersburg is Indian-based. The chain of Penang restaurants are genrally Chinese-based and so is Malaysian Kopitiam.

                I think your best bet for Malaysian food in the area is Penang in Bethesda. I have not tried any other Malaysian restaurants in the area besides Malaysian Kopitiam and the Penang in Gaithersburg

                1. re: Nonya2573

                  Pretty sure the roti at Malaysia Kopitiam is frozen, out of a box.

                  All the Penangs I've ever been to make their own roti in-house, which is how they get it so crispy and big. The quality of their curries and other dishes vary from restaurant to restaurant, though. Overall, they're a good bet if you're craving Malaysian/Nonya.

                  I do like Malaysia Kopitiam, but you really do have to go at the right time. I really think it has to do with whoever's cooking in the kitchen at the time you go. My very first experience was just...flavorless. Nothing salt could fix, just a general lack of flavor, period. That was a Saturday, early afternoon. The other times I've been have been in the early evenings, and the food has been great, wonderfully spicy like I ask for, full of flavor and perfectly cooked. Brought me back to my early hawker center childhood. I could even forgive the frozen roti! :o)

                  Malaysia Kopitiam
                  1827 M St NW, Washington, DC 20036

                  1. re: Nonya2573

                    Quick question but where's the Penang in Gaithersburg? I'm don't know of any restaurants up this way by that name.

      2. I'm not an expert or anything but I've been to this Trinidadian joint in Baltimore and pronounce it delicious: http://www.citypaper.com/eat/review.a... They take genuine pride in their roti.

        1. You can also find roti at the Islander Restaurant in the U Street corridor.

          U Street Cafe
          1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009