mr. khairul strongly refused to take the complimentary hotel breakfast, dragging my in-laws and me to transfer road, said to be the home of the best roti canai in penang. or so he says.
on the way, i asked, "ape yang bestnye roti canai ni?" mr. khairul smiled as if knowing a punchline to a joke i didn't get. when mr. khairul told me we're almost there, i was expecting a restaurant, with a long line of people waiting for hot roti canai.
there was a long line, yes. hot roti canai made fresh every second, definitely. but it was no restaurant. sigh! knowing what line clear nasi kandar looks like, i should've guessed what roti canai jalan transfer would be like.
it's like, hey let's set up a roti canai stall! where? well, right by the side of this tattered, paint-wilting wall. and hey, since we're getting popular, let's put up some tables. what? no space? let's just line them against the wall! people can still sit and eat!
the moment i set eyes on this 'roti canai transfer road', by the looks alone i would never've guessed it has this super-delicious roti canai. set up right by the roadside, only the long line of customers tell you this is the place to be to get a good roti canai.
the seating arrangement caught my attention - funny as it was - instead of the usual rectangular dining-table setting, there are narrow tables lined against the wall, and people sitting only on one side of the table, facing the roadside. unique! the hustle and bustle of people screaming for their orders and the shouts of mamaks; it's almost a festivity.
mr. khairul made his order, in a heavy penang accent - 'roti canai, banjir.' this doesn't sound good to me. i had a feeling 'banjir' definitely means the roti would be laden with curry sampai roti canai tu drowning in curry!
hellow? remember what i wrote about the percentage of curry must be in unison with the percentage of roti canai, or else! if banjir than wouldn't the curry be more than the roti? this was worrying.
for a starter, mr. khairul ordered 'roti bakar' - also the site's specialty from another stall next to this mamak roti canai transfer road. it's basically toasted bread, laced with butter served with a plop of half boiled egg. slurpingly runny and satisfying!
if you notice we also got the roti canai 'with daging' - where the mamak adds one slice of curry meat, tender and succulently sweet in taste! anyways, true enough, you can see from the picture the gravy practically spilled all over the roti canai, and all around the rim of the plate! this is the way, said mr. khairul proudly. the curry! soaking up the roti canai!
well, i don't care how transfer road peeps do it, no matter how popular their roti canai is! i simply do not like it this way!
i want my roti canai nice and crisp (and dry!) on a plate, with the curry or dalcha on the side, in a separate bowl. i will do the mixing! so my verdict is, the roti canai is soft (and always, always freshly made) but thicker than how i like it. and eventhough i did order a separate 'roti canai kosong' to go with my already soggy roti canai banjir, it still didn't taste as good as the stories that surround this famous roti canai place in penang.
when we left, there was still a long line of people waiting for their tapau-ed roti, and sitting-down customers waiting to be served, which is a testimony of how much the people like it. but if you ask me, the one in kampung lalang and right by medan gopeng, ipoh are nicer. sorry eh, penangites!
* * *
it's a walk down memory lane, (as corny as it may sound) for mr. khairul as he drove into his old schools; sekolah kebangsaan sungai gelugor when he was in primary, and the penang free school, where he spent his form 1 - 3, before moving to malay college.
quite a resume you got there, eh mr. khairul?
started at one of the oldest malay schools in the region (180+ old), then a school that existed since 1816, the first and oldest english-medium school in the south-east asia; to a school made for kings and royalties when it was first incepted.
tak aci! when we go to ipoh, we take pictures at my school pulak!