Anyone who has ever been a poor student in a cold, wet and windy Wellington winter will know nothing beats a cheap Roti Canai or a spicy Nasi Goreng.
Recently I was talking to my buddy about good Malaysian food in London, or the lack thereof, and we could only come up with a couple of places that were authentically Malaysian, delicious and cheap. Luckily two of the places I highly rate are both in central London, cheap, and a proper South-East Asian experience while eating. That is: spicy, sweaty, cramped, and fast.
The first of these Malaysian spots is the old staple C&R by Piccadilly down an alleyway. It serves up everything you could ever want in a Malaysian joint and the Nasi Goreng is the best I’ve had outside of Malaysia. Go for the Kampung Style Nasi Goreng if you want a spicy kick in the face. It’s basically fried rice with spices, seafood, chicken, veg, anchovies and a fried egg on top.
They also do a good Char Kway Teow: saucy noodles with seafood and meat, and an awesome Laksa (spicy noodle soup). They basically do all the traditional staples that will get you coming back time and time again. Plus they serve cold Milo.
The second place, which I have recently become obsessed with, is called Roti King and has moved from Charing Cross rd to an old Chinese takeaway joint downstairs and around the corner from Euston Station. Don’t be put off by the signage and general ghettoness of the place. It’s easily the best roti in London and one of the only places still making it the traditional way. The restaurant itself is very small and the kitchen is in the middle of the room so you can see them folding and slapping and the roti you will soon be inhaling. It gets pretty busy and they don’t sell any booze, but for a fiver you can bring and drink whatever you want.
It’s around £5.50 for a bowl of curry and roti known as Roti Canai, and there are many different curries (lamb, chicken, beef, dhal and fish) and you can also get stuffed roti (like cheese and spinach) plus loads of other traditional Malaysian dishes and desserts. I have only ever eaten the roti — and to be honest most probably only ever will — as it’s so good I just can’t bring myself to order anything else.
There are some other great Malaysian joints, such as Rasa Sayang in Chinatown and a few more around Bayswater, but the two reviewed above are easily my pick of the bunch and worth hunting out for anyone in need of some fantastic Malaysian food.