"Roti canai" is the unique Malaysian word for what the rest of the world call "paratha"/"parotta" or, as we call it in Singapore - "prata"..
This unlikely spot along Penang's Transfer Road is unmissable - a narrow strip of kerbside communal tables and chairs lining a semi-open monsoon drain, about 100 feet away from the lush boutique Hotel Penaga. To eat here, I really had to suspend my concern about street eating in dodgy-looking places. But this place, so I understand, has been operating for decades, and is actually one of the most popular roti canai spots in all of Georgetown.
Breakfast yesterday - plain roti canai, which came looking rather worse for wear: no crisp-golden edges, but rather stodgy-looking discs which looked like undercooked home-made pancakes. But my first bite of the roti canai was a revelation - it was soft-to-the-bite, and very tasty. The accompanying dhal curry was watered-down and not aromatic, but did quite well to complement the roti canai. The more popular accompaniments for the roti canai were actually the strongly-scented mutton curry, or the fiery-red beef curry, but let's say those highly-spiced curries weren't exactly what I'd want to have first thing at 8am in the morning :-D
The "kurang manis" (less sweet) "kopi tarek" ("pulled" Malaysian cafe au lait) was still sickly sweet though - obviously "less sweet" is a relative term here.
Anyhow - curiousity satisfied - been there, done that. Obviously a very popular spot, we were hemmed in-between a row of Chinese-Malaysian chaps on one side (we were *all* sitting with our backs against a wall, facing out to the street), and a couple of Indian-Malaysian chaps at the other side. Everyone chatting away happily as they tucked into their mutton-curry or beef-curry-slathered roti canais.
Not exactly in a hurry to return here though. Sorry, Penangites, but immersion into local culture does have its limits for me :-D
Transfer Road Roti Canai
Transfer Road (before turning into Sri Bahari Road)