Friday, October 26, 2007

Roti Canai, Malacca

Flipping good roti canai

Two brothers in Malacca draw the crowds to their family warung with their dough stunts.

FOR a small wooden warung (food outlet) without any signboard indicating what type of food is offered, the place must have its very own reasons for seeing huge crowds almost every day.

Fondly known as the “Roti Terbang Kampung Enam”, this outlet features ‘flying’ roti canai as a daily happening, which is probably also the major attraction at the always-packed warung.

From a young boy who used to see his father kneading and tossing the roti canai dough, Mezan Md Said had never reckoned he would take up the act and later became so serious about it that he made it his source of livelihood.

“I first tossed a roti canai when I was 10. From then, I used to help around at my father’s warung and he taught me more about making roti canai as I grew up. When I was 15, I successfully did my first ‘flying’ roti canai,” Mezan recalls.

Thrills and spills: Mezan Md Said strutting his stuff at his Roti Terbang Kampung Enam stall.

Often addressed as the ‘sifu’ of roti canai among his regulars, the 28-year-old says that the warung was started more than 20 years ago during his father’s time.

“Due to road widening and my father’s demise five years ago, we shifted to this new premises,” he says, when interviewed at his warung recently.

With the help of his family members, especially his younger brother, Shamsul, 25, Mezan inherited the warung and continued running the family business.

Every day, their routine starts with getting the necessary food ingredients from the market before they knead the flour and prepare other dishes.

“More than 10kg of flour and 150 eggs are needed every day,” says Shamsul, who also picked up the act of ‘flying’ roti canai from his brother.

Instead of using a machine, the duo take turns to knead the flour into some 300 balls of dough, all painstakingly by hand.

According to Mezan, their handmade dough is special and different from others’.

“Because of our family secret recipe, our roti canai can be tossed wider and made thinner,” says Mezan, adding that their dough’s freshness lasts longer too.

Coming in as the first runner-up in the National Roti Canai Challenge two years ago has brought more fame and fortune to the family business. And, word-of-mouth advertising among the patrons helped promote their speciality to others.

“We have many customers who keep coming back. They also bring their friends here,” says Mezan, adding that a customer once came all the way from Penang just for his roti canai.

“Most of our customers are often astonished to see us spin, twirl and throw the roti canai dough to each other.

“They enjoy the stunts so much that they are often awed and they applaud enthusiastically. To us, their response is simply flattering,” quips Mezan, after another round of their ‘flying’ roti canai show at the warung.

Billy Soh, who has frequented the place for more than 10 years, says the roti canai tastes different from that of others.

As for Chu Yeuan Ling, 24, tasting their speciality Roti Jepun is a thumbs-up experience, as the filling and texture are “so yummy and creamy”.

Other than the ‘flying’ roti canai, the place also serves nasi lemak, fried rice and noodles, along with other dishes such as ayam rendang, sambal sotong and curry mutton, all home-cooked.

The warung is located right opposite the ‘Under 1 Roof’ showroom at Kampung Enam along Jalan Bachang in Malacca. It is open from 7pm to 3am daily except on Sundays.

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