Roti sardine (L) and roti kosong
I love crispy prata. But I live in Bedok, and get around by public transport. So even though I like the famous Jalan Kayu prata, I have only had it once or twice in my whole life. It just takes too much time and effort to travel to Jalan Kayu for prata.
Shortly after I bought my place in Johor some 6 years ago, a neighbour introduced us to the pasar pagi (morning market) at Bukit Indah. The market is open on Friday to Sunday mornings, 7 to 10 am. As my friend and I love browsing local markets, it quickly became one of our favourite places to visit on weekends. Both of us were working full-time then, and could only go over to our JB homes on weekends.
Before going around the market, we would have breakfast at one of the coffee shops nearby. On one of our first visits, we saw an obviously popular prata stall. Many customers at the coffee shop were having prata, which looked delicious. There can be no better endorsement of a food place than to see many locals patronizing the place. So we promptly placed our orders and settled down.
The prata arrived, looking delectable. The crispy golden crust crumbled as we dug into the prata, and our forks sank into the soft dough. Yummo…. There are those who prefer their prata to be more chewy, but I like them crispy and soft.
As we polished off the roti, my friend remarked that it was as good as the Jalan Kayu prata. What a great, unexpected find!
As we left the coffee shop and headed to the market, we passed the front of the stall, and saw a large banner hanging over it, proclaiming:
JALAN KAYU SINGAPORE
SPECIAL CRISPY ROTI PRATA
Well, there certainly is no doubt as to which “School of Prata” they are followers of. We guessed that the owner could have worked at Jalan Kayu Prata before, and then set up his own business with the skills picked up there.
Freshly made, sizzling hot.
Over many visits, I was contented with the roti kosong and roti telur. Until the time I went there on a weekday, and business was quiet (it being not a market day). As I paused before placing my order, the boss recommended I try the roti sardine. I did see on the stall’s banner that they offer different types of rotis, but on busy weekends, they seem to churn out endless quantities of the popular standard roti kosong and roti telur. I was more than happy to try the roti sardine, as it is my favourite type of murtabak. I find the murtabak filled with chicken or mutton to be too heavy.
The roti sardine arrived, a plump envelope filled with sardines, a generous amount of sweet chopped onions, moistened with fish curry. It was slightly bigger than the roti telur, but not as large as the murtabaks served in Singapore, which I usually struggle to finish, and end up feeling stuffed.
Choice of curry
I’m the type who likes to soak my prata in curry. Usually with the standard prata, you get one type of curry. There is a choice of fish curry, or dhal curry. The roti sardine came with both types of curry. I learned from my younger sister, who is Malaysian, to add a dollop of sweet sambal to the dhal curry. The sambal just adds a whole new richness to the dhal curry.
The stall is quite generous with their curry. Once, in the early days, I asked for extra curry when I collected my order. The stall assistant asked me to come back for more curry after I’ve finished what was on my plate. Fair enough. They happily doled out the curry when I went back for more.
The roti kosong costs RM2.50 for two pieces. That seems to be the minimum order. But you can also order single pieces of roti, if that’s not the only item you order. I usually have one roti sardine and one kosong. I should know by now how much the roti sardine costs, but I don’t. We usually end up ordering a number of items, and then wonder at how reasonable the total cost was.
When I had become a regular at the stall, I was once sopping up the last bit of curry from my tray, preparing to go for more curry, when I felt someone place a small plate beside me. Looking up, I saw that one of the stall assistants had brought me another plate of fish curry. The owner had seen me finishing the curry, and had sent his guy over with more. That was such a nice gesture.
The owner is usually quietly working away, but often stops to nod or smile in recognition when I arrive or leave. Even though we hardly exchanged any words, it reminded me of my childhood kampong days, when everybody knew everybody else. Quite a different feeling from dining at an anonymous food court, where staff assemble dishes prepared in central kitchens.
1, Jalan Indah 5/7, Taman Bukit Indah, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
The prata stall is located in a coffee shop which goes by the name Hou Hou Mei Restaurant. The stall is listed in GoogleMap as Anjanai Food Stall.
Closed on Mondays.