Spice City Toronto: Roti, Malaysian Style



Spice City Toronto: Roti, Malaysian Style

There's great roti to be had in Richmond Hill.

Roti, from Restoran Malaysia. Photo by Sarah Efron.

Malaysian food is one of the world’s great cuisines, so I was excited to check out Restoran Malaysia, in Richmond Hill (815 Major Mackenzie Drive East, at Bayview Avenue). The bustling, sprawling restaurant is one of only a handful of places in the GTA that serves Malaysian food. But when the first dish arrived at my table, I was disappointed.

The mutton and beef skewers were tough and chewy. They were coated with an overly sweet marinade, and the accompanying satay sauce was sugary, like a dessert.

The nasi goreng was also a letdown. Normally, it’s a wonderful southeast Asian fried rice dish is packed with all kinds of great meat and veggies, held together with a syrupy version of soy sauce. But Restoran Malaysia’s version tasted like your standard takeout Chinese fried rice with flavourless pieces of chicken, shrimp, and frozen vegetables. But soon some items appeared at the table that more than made up for the meal’s mediocre beginnings.

It was the roti. Oh, the roti. This exquisite flat bread is called roti canai or roti prata in Malaysia, and it has roots in Indian cuisine. The thin, chewy bread is slightly crisp and toasty on the outside. Served with a bowl of intense, rich curry sauce, I could eat endless amounts of the stuff.

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Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.