Rating: 9 / 10
Roti Canai is up there with the best goddamn food on earth. Having spent months in Kuala Lumpur over the years sampling every Tom, Dick and Hare Krishna shack, I heard mutterings through the secret roti society about this spot located annoyingly outside of the central loop. Locations can hinder a place, but they can also keep out random undesireables based purely on who can be fucked to go the distance. Well, I can.
I summoned what strength I had left over from being pummeled by 34 degree heat all day, stretched my legs in the direction of the end of my street, ordered a Grab taxi and flew down slithering arms of various roads until he dropped me off perpendicular to Kampang Baru. I entered the large glorified shack, with it's open-on-all-sides interior, and found a table out front to watch the cars go by. Two roti ordered, mutton and chicken gravy added, 100 plus with ice!
The moments crept by agonisingly slowly as I heard jaws munching behind me and gasps of euphoria escaping ashamed mouths. A homeless alcoholic tried to shake my hand, which I was having none of since I was just freshly washed and about to eat with those very fingers. He was quite persistent but I stared him down and he moved onto a table of inebriated Tamilians.
After what felt like eternity (and a day) my meal arrived, piping hot and emanating such divine aroma's I threw expletive captions to the wind and dove right in.
For all those who believe in salvation, this is mine. A crisp, fluffy, hot plate of roti and dipping sauces. I prefer to wait when they are delivered straight off the griddle, instead of the soggy one's that are left over from lunch time and only experience a brief kiss of heat before being bundled onto your plate at inferior establishments.
My second plate of joy came riding in halfway through finishing my first, so I had the added joy of double hot roti. The homeless alcoholic was a distant memory when compared to the joy involved in eating this labour of love.
With stomach full, more content than it had been in a few hours at least (KL is heaven for food), I paid the paltry sum of 1 USD and aimed my digesting carcass towards Kampang Baru to walk it off.
A beautiful area of small lanes and houses, set to be preyed upon and destroyed by property developers with no interest in nostalgia or sehnsucht, but a rabid hard-on for power and asbestos. I made it my mission to walk around and photograph some of it's charms before the inevitable levelling occurs. As I positioned myself in strange arches for the perfect angled picture, an old man selling fruit beckoned me.
"Do you know what these are?"
"Correct. Please have them. They are a present"
He sprinkled some sort of dark occult, sugar-spice mix that was quite delicious. I headed off into the ether to gaze at more future rubble.
A half hour later, and in no way hungry, I happened to read that one of KL's best sate places was around the corner so I headed over to sample a stick or two. On the way the petronas towers could be seen from every street corner, shining like two hedonistic ballerinas.
Sadly the sate was not the experience I was hoping for. The chicken stick was tougher than rubbers adversary, and the beef one, though tender, had a far too high ratio of fat/meat. One redeeming factor was the actual sate sauce, which was pleasant if not ill-devised to coat these two scoundrels.
With the cicadas and other insects beginning their nightly chorus, I found a corner near the metro line and ordered a Grab to pick me up. Looking one final time around me at these beautiful small buildings that would be forever replaced with gaudy capitalist spires....
Check out Yves from Moonshine and Lemongrass on his visit.
Address: Stor No. 1, Jalan Semarak Opposite Menara Celcom, 54000 Kuala Lumpur
Wed - Sat 5pm–2am
Tuesday 8–11am, 5pm–2am
All these recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"