Fathitullah’s South Indian breakfast kiosk on Burmah Road, at the entrance to the 200-year-old Siamese Settlement in Pulau Tikus, is my favourite place for roti canai - the light, crisp, griddle-fried South Indian flatbread which is practically indispensable for breakfast here.
I liked my roti canai bathed in a generous splash of spicy dhal curry - when I order, I’ll say “roti canai, banjir” (“Banjir” is Malay for “to flood”, because you “flood” your breakfast plate with dhal curry gravy).
Since the yellow dhal curry is only mildly spiced, the roti canai-man will also add a dollop of red, spicy chili gravy atop the whole mix.
One of my fave breakfast choices in the whole wide world, especially paired with a hot mug of teh tarik - frothy-topped, thick, sweetened South Indian milk tea.
There are other South Indian breakfast options there: steamed, pillowy-soft idlis; soft, crepe-like thosai; savoury upuma; golden, crisp-fried savory donut-like vadais, and curry puffs.
I also ordered a couple of idlis, and these turned out to be very good - freshly-steamed, moist and spongey-soft: perfect for soaking up the dhal curry gravy. A creamy white coconut chutney and spicy red kara chutney were also provided on the side.
This is strictly street food territory - one sits in a small alleyway which links the busy Burma Road to the tiny Siamese Settlement. Make-shift collapsible tables and stools were set up at 6am onwards in the early morning, and cleared as soon as the sun rose high enough to pour its rays into the alleyway - around 10.30am or so.
The whole place felt like a piece of South India, perhaps Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu, transplanted directly into George Town. The indescribably delicious flavours and intoxicating aromas were all there.
Fathitullah’s South Indian breakfast kiosk
Entrance to the Siamese Settlement, Burmah Road
10350 George Town, Penang
Operating hours: 6am to 11am, daily.