Over the past few years, Orlando has been blessed with a few restaurants proudly and explicitly serving Southeast Asian "street fare." The Singapore-inspired Hawkers was, of course, the first, but Mamak has been serving up a more Malaysian take from its Colonial Drive location for a couple of years now. And while both restaurants' menus of small plates are fairly similar – and both include roti canai – you would be remiss if you didn't sit down at Mamak for a plate of this Malaysian specialty.
Although it goes by many names and can feature any number of fillings and accompaniments, the classic roti canai is a piece of tossed-and-spun flatbread that's tossed into hot oil, quickly fried, and served with a curry. At Mamak, their version ($3 for your first roti; $2 for each additional bread) comes out of the kitchen hot and fluffy, a puff of crispy, air-light dough with a glistening sheen of oil on the surface. A small ramekin of thin, invigorating curry sits on the plate for your dipping pleasure.
It is a nearly perfect dish, able to press your carb-loving decadence buttons without making you feel like you're working your way through a thick slab of bread. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) The curry adds just the right amount of spice, while making the dish just messy enough to make you feel like you're getting away with something. Pair it with an ice-cold Tiger lager ($5) or one of the restaurant's many local/regional craft beers and maybe a plate of five-spice tofu, and you've got a blissfully filling meal that will have all of your pleasure receptors firing at once. – Jason Ferguson
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.