[Penang, Malaysia] Vietnamese snacks from Roti Babe, Tanjung Bungah

We over-indulged at breakfast and lunch on Boxing Day, so decided to have a “light” dinner at Roti Babe, a nifty, little Vietnamese snack stand located in Sure Win Food court.

Roti Babe is run by a friendly Penang-Ho Chi Minh City duo, Cynthia Choong and Anna Lieu.

What we had:
Banh Mi - Vietnamese baguette sandwich, filled with homemade ham, pate and a selection of fresh & pickled vegetables. It was pretty substantial, actually. Came with its own little bowl of sauce which we found out was pretty spicy! Obviously, they “localized” the flavors here to cater to Penangites’ palate for spicy food, as I’d never had really chili-spicy heat in any dish in Vietnam.

Gỏi Cuốn - Vietnamese spring rolls. My companion wanted this - a healthier version than the deep-fried sort, Chả Giò (called Nem Rán in the northern part of Vietnam), which I much prefer.
Confession: I’d been eating gỏi cuốn for 35 years now, since a Vietnamese classmate introduced it to me back during my college days - and I’ve yet to have one that I truly enjoyed. It’s just me.
For the one here, the finely-julienned filling was fresh & crunchy. I dunked the gỏi cuốn into the nuoc cham dipping sauce, but still couldn’t appreciate the overall flavors nor texture (I never liked the stretchy, slippery feel of the rice paper).

Cánh Gà Khìa Nước Dừa - chicken wings cooked in coconut water. A very tasty dish of sauteed chicken wings, sprinkled with crushed peanuts and complemented by a generous serving of tangy, pickled jicama, carrot, ginger and garlic.
I kept thinking how nice the wings would be if they were barbecued instead, so the skin would crisp up, but these ones were delicious all the same.

Pretty good meal overall. Roti Babe only opened this year, and seemed to have weathered the various periodic lockdowns due to the COVID pandemic pretty well.

Roti Babe at Sure Win Foodcourt
Lot 3287, Jalan Lembah Permai
11200 Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6016-6298808/+6010-9065498
Operating hours: Tue to Sun (Closed on Mondays)


Lovely breakfast. Like everything.

I like both, but have a preference for Gỏi Cuốn. It’s basically a salad roll, so freshness and dipping sauce is extremely important. I remember when we had them in the first trip in Vietnam, the only thing we preferred the expat version vs local version was Gỏi Cuốn. The Vietnamese rice paper skin they used back then were much thicker than those we ate in Paris and here we had bigger shrimps. But in the later trips, the skin became much thinner and ingredients improved.

By the way, you don’t have winter there, sleeveless this time of the year!


Yes! Little prêt à manger parcels of salad. :grin:


I love them. Generally called “summer rolls” in the UK, presumably to distinguish them from the deep fried spring rolls. Vietnamese food isnt very common in this part of the world, although we do have a couple of fairly recently opened places, a short drive to another suburb.

By the by, I was surprised at your mention of Boxing Day, Peter. Is that a holiday in Malaysia, presumably a hangover from colonial times?

Indeed, a hangover from the colonial/British Empire days but, sadly, we no longer have it as a bank holiday- maybe because we already have too many other national bank holidays from the various other cultures/religions here: Wesak Day (Buddha’s birthday), Prophet Mohamed’s birthday, Thaipusam (Tamil festival), etc.