This traditional Malaysian dish, Roti Canai needs no introduction and no promotion. It’s probably one of the first Malaysian dishes we were introduced to as a kid, and we’ve all had it for breakfast and even supper.
This dish is more than just a food – it binds and defines a nation, it keeps family and friends together, and it awakens the patriotic spirit in our soul. No matter what time of the day or year it is, Roti Canai will always be the crowd’s pick for any occasion.
The Origin of Roti Canai
The best thing about growing up in a harmonious, multi-racial country is that we get to eat food from different cultures and localised to suit the Malaysian taste buds. When the Indians first came to Malaysia during the British occupancy, they brought their food with them, and that includes dishes that are popular among locals today. For example, curries, chapatti and a whole variation of roti and tossai.
Today, Roti Canai is mostly served at Mamak but the term Mamak itself derives from the Indian descendants that married the locals and adapted to the Malay and Muslim customs hence why Mamak places often serve food with Iocalised Indian food.
The name ‘Roti’ derives from the Indian word which means ‘bread’ while the word Canai is believed to originally be used to refer to Chennai in India, where the recipe originated from. In Malaysia, the Roti Canai is often consumed with sugar, Dhal, Curry or Sambal. It’s a dish that can be consumed at any time of the day but is more commonly eaten for breakfast.
The Variations of Roti Canai
In hindsight, Roti Canai is a simple dish – it is dough mixed with ghee that is fried on a stove served with curry to dip but the taste is unlike any other. Despite being simple, there are different variations in which the Roti Canai can be consumed and served.
If you order this at a Mamak you are basically asking them to drench your Roti Canai in Dhal and Curry sauce when serving it to you. Some Mamak even take it one step further by adding a half-boiled egg to the mix.
If you ask for this at the Mamak you are asking them to fry your Roti Canai a little bit longer so that you can get a crispier outer layer to your Roti Canai.
When you order Roti Boom, you are ordering Roti Canai with extra butter and sugar. However, some establishments choose to use condensed milk instead of sugar. The Roti Boom is often cooked after the dough is arranged in a spiral to ensure that it is crispy with every bite, which is what some people prefer. Most Mamak serve Roti Canai in this manner.
Where to get Roti Canai in Malaysia
If you’re a true Malaysian, you don’t need us to tell you where to find Roti Canai. They’re available everywhere in the country! However, if you want your Roti delivered to you, you can choose from these restaurants on the app include Roti Canai PJ Corner, Mr Roti Canai in Subang Jaya and Ujang Roti Canai in Kuala Lumpur.