Malay street food : Roti Canai (flaky Indian flatbread)


We’re going mad for breakfasts lately, or maybe it’s just that Malaysian breakfasts are so good!

Recently, I wrote about nasi lemak and how it’s probably the best breakfast around but when you cant find good nasi lemak what do you do? Answer – you have roti instead.

Roti canai, or chanai is a more than adequate substitute, a real Mamak dish and something I love eating.

The word roti literally means bread in Hindi and it’s also available and popular in Singapore but known as roti prata.

Roti canai can also be known as flying bread partly because of the theatrical way it is made. A roti begins its life as a little doughy ball, which is stretched out on an oiled surface and thinned out by kneading and folding. once this is done and it looks a bit like a flattened parcel it’s put on a hotplate and flipped over. The whole process is great to watch and the chef’s possess skill and often flair not unlike a cocktail barman.

roti chanai

roti canai

The ideal roti is hot and fluffy with buttery texture and a crispy flaky outside.

Roti is served in many ways, but the most common savoury variation is with assorted curry sauce, or gravy including a daal, you just rip it apart, dip in your sauce, eat, make appreciative noises and repeat.

Roti canai will cost you no more than a couple of ringgits in most Mamak stall and makes a great way to start the day washed down with a delicious cup of teh tarik!


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2 thoughts on “Malay street food : Roti Canai (flaky Indian flatbread)

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