Chanai & Chaya Cafe

by Adly on Thu, April 26, 2012

We follow Adly as he sets off on a mission to capture a bit of history at Chanai & Chaya Cafe in the TTDI market. Under threat of being demolished, this wonderful treasure has been around for 27 years and is a favourite among the residents of the housing area. Join Adly on his apom adventure as he professes his love for Aunty Padama's fluffy delights!

Ask for the killer 'secret' sambal....

Foodster's Verdict

Chanai & Chaya Cafe
  • Address

    Chanai & Chaya Cafe Lot TD 61 First Floor Taman Tun Dr Ismail Market Kuala Lumpur

  • Open

    6am - 3.30pm, Closed Mondays

  • Pros

    Awesome apoms and fluffy roti in a humble setting

  • Cons

    It's in a market so can be quite stuffy and humid sometimes

  • Price Range

    RM 10

  • Parking


  • Certification

    Pork Free

Chanai & Chaya is one of the few places in the whole of Klang Valley where I will absolutely order their apoms. They make it plain and simple. Just in case you have not already known, the TTDI market was scheduled to be demolished to make way for 'development' with no plans to relocate the sellers into a new place. It's such a shame that one of the best managed markets in Malaysia with the choicest ingredients had to go in this manner and we are all to blame if we don't do anything about this. Just in case we lose this market entirely, I wanted to record a piece of history before all this fades away.

So here's your apom guys! An indian apom is fermented rice flour cooked over a hot small wok. One expert batter pour later, the wok is covered with a small lid so that the heat from the steam cooks the thick middle layer but leaving it moist and juicy whilst the wok crisps the sides like a sweet cracker.

Aunty Padama makes this perfectly everytime. Her mom helps sometime when things get busy. Perfection on a plate. Apoms like this has a companion. Sweet coconut milk, slightly diluted so that it does not become too creamy. I like. It's such a simple dish with the simplest ingredients but every chef or cook that is worth their salt will attest that it's the simplest recipes that are the hardest to make well. C&C's version is light, slightly soury, no rice flour residue and comes with 27 years of experience.

Most people ferment the batter overnight but at C&C, they actually start batter fermentation at 4am. Perhaps they have a very good yeast catalyst or my best bet is that they put some of the previous day batter into the new one.

Apart from that, they serve the usual suspects. Roti canai, roti telur, idli and even an indian french toast. Murtabak is not bad, a bit different from the mamak's version as the filling is thin but it's still pretty flavourful. It has a more homemade taste but is a tad expensive. The roti canai has a good 'pull' and a breath of fresh air from the 'outsourced factory made dough but delivered daily' mamak versions.

There's also the homemade dhal curry which is deliciously honest and you must definitely try their 'secret' sambal sauce. (Not so secret after this though). Goes with everything from idli to roti telur but especially well with plain roti canai.

Patrons to the TTDI market will know this place well as it is the destination-to-be for tired grocery shoppers and people who crave a good apom. They enjoy a good stream of customers from all walks of life from the old and traditional to the dolled up Datins. All of them sitting down in a non-airconditioned humid first floor pasar for a plate of apom and roti. Parking is relatively easy if you don't have to wrestle with the pasar-going crowd.

The place is called Chanai and Chaya which means roti canai and tea. Chaya means tea in the Kerala language according to owner Mrs. Padamavadi. These are happy people making happy food and I love happy grin. By the way, latest word from DBKL is that the TTDI market will be retained and redeveloped. So one more apom please, Aunty!