[Penang] Transfer Road Roti Canai

Definitely one of the most atmospheric roadside eateries in George Town. This very popular Transfer Road Roti Canai has been feeding hordes of hungry locals & visitors for over 40 years now. Its base cilentele are Malay/Muslim visitors to Penang, who’d make a beeline for this eatery in the mornings.

“Roti canai” is Malaysian-speak for Indian paratha/parotta bread, made from unleavened flour and griddle-cooked with ghee. In Singapore, it’s called “roti prata”, but Malaysians know it as “roti canai”.

Transfer Road Roti Canai seats its patrons on long benches, back to wall, whilst the city’s busy traffic whooshes by inches away from you whilst you dig into your “roti canai” with chicken or dhal curries, washed down with hot “teh tarik” - local sweetened milk tea. The current owner is Abdul Karim, a genial, confident “mamak” (local term for Indian-Muslims).

  1. Roti canai - plain flatbread. The rendition at this very poplar spot is a bit tough for me. Lacked the fluffiness and crispness which I prefer in my roti canai.

  2. Chicken curry - very spicy, Tamil-Muslim-style curry which is fairly liquid.

  3. Roti telur - flatbread with egg added into the filling.

  4. Preparing “Teh Tarik” - “pulled” milk tea - the hot tea is poured from one large metal mug to another to achieve a frothy effect.

  5. Hot milk tea and coffee

Come early - the place fills up by 7am - they operate daily. They start winding down by 11am and closes just after noon. You won’t miss this row of tables along Transfer Road.

Very popular spot - especially among Malay-Muslim visitors from other Malaysian states holidaying in Penang. This place is a social media darling where its reputation, rather than its standard of cooking, brings in the hordes.

Address

Transfer Road Roti Canai
114, 110, Jalan Transfer (Transfer Road)
10050 George Town, Penang
Opening hours:
7am-12 noon Mon-Fri.
7.30am-2pm Sat, 6.30am-2pm Sun.

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That pulled tea is impressive, i saw the Marocains and certain Africans do that here, but never so far away.

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The most impressive one I saw was by this waiter in Southern Spice, a fabulous fine dining restaurant in Chennai, India - he “pulled” the tea using two teeny-weeny tea-cups over the restaurant’s plush carpetted floor without spilling a drop!

But just look at the Penang chap in the photo above - he wasn’t even looking at his mugs!!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

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