Look at the photo below. LOOK AT IT!
I ate that in London!
Okay so it cost £5. And was a bit pale on one side. But it was a hand-made roti. In London!
When reading up on Uncle Lim’s Kitchen, I spotted a reference to Malaysia Night, a market and event held in Trafalgar Square once a year. Noticing that it was coming up soon, I mailed H and secured his enthusiastic agreement to attend. I booked an afternoon off work so we could get there before all the roti sold out, and we arrived just after two.
It was quite a small affair,about 20 stalls, most of them serving food but a few with handicrafts. There was also one grocery stall, which H was awe-struck to find sold 100 Plus – a drink from his Malaysian childhood.
However we quickly made a beeline to the food stalls, and in particular one called Roti King, where we could see they were making their own roti. I opted for a roti canai and veg curry, and H had a chicken murtabak.
The murtabak was the clear winner. My roti was totally authentic but had been sitting for a little bit, and the curry was a bit thick and lacking in intensity to work well for dipping. It was still great though. The murtabak was hot off the grill, however, and had a nicely spiced moist chicken filling.
We then moved on to the Bonda Café (190 Sussex Gardens, London) stall, where we bought some cendol and kuih. The cendol was tepid rather than icy but the sweet coconut milk and green noodles were a delight. The kuih we took home. 4 pieces, 2 decidedly custardy, one a layer of glutionous rice with a pandan topping and the last an eye-popping stripy pink creation made I think from rice flour . No pics of these alas. the cendol was decidedly unphotogenic in its disposable cup and the kuih – erm, no excuse for that!
We then moved on to a second stall which was making its own roti canai – Pan Chai, who were promoting their arrival at Harrods food hall. That was where we had the roti and satay at the top of the post. The £5 price tag was painful, but it was a nice dish, although I think Roti King’s roti was lighter and flakier.
Time for something sweet, and I had to go for some pancakes from the Malaysian Pancake Co. I wrote about Apam Balik last year, when I had a portion in a KL night market, and these were like their big brothers.
Although I had planned just to buy one peanut and sweetcorn pancake, when I saw they also did a coconut and black glutinous filling, I couldn’t resist.
I think around £9 later (could have been £8) H and I were cramming pancake into our faces. The salty creamy peanut and sweet corn in thick spongy pancake was satisfyingly filling, and the sweet coconut and rice was similarly enjoyable. However my stomach had reached its limit, and the pancakes were our last treat.
Despite the London prices, I really enjoyed the event. We left before the evening entertainment began, but the food was enough for me and I hope to return again next year.