Abduls Roti Shop in Old Phuket Town
I've been meaning to blog about this place for some time, and there's a lot more on the "things to blog when I have time" list. Abdul's roti shop is a bit of a Phuket legend, located on Thalang Road in the old town and it's been there, I don't know, forever I suppose. The eastern end of Thalang Road just to the west of the junction with Phuket Road has lots of Muslim shops, mostly selling fabrics and clothes - there are at least half a dozen of the fabric shops - see photo below. There are also 2 restaurants which sell roti with curry, and if you ask me this is a "must eat" if you are in town. The 2 restaurants are only a couple of doors from each other. I've eaten at Abdul's several times before. The photo below was taken in 2012 during the Phuket Old Town Festival.
Thalang Road for me is the heart of the "real" Phuket. Lots of history, lots of old shops and family businesses, and plenty of pride shown by the local people. I am glad to see more of the old town getting restored, especially with the removal of overhead cables... every year another section of town is made cable-free. I also love the mix of people, culture and religion in Phuket, in Phuket Town and if you want to see this all on the same street, have a look at Thalang Road. On one small road are Thai-Chinese people, Muslim people, a small Chinese shrine, a Christian Assembly... I hate to get all "flower power" but here everyone seems to get along just fine no matter what they believe, no matter what they wear or what they look like. I have mentioned it before, but to repeat - many visitors to Phuket don't know that Phuket is about 30% Muslim. The belief is that Thailand is a Buddhist country. I like the mixture. And without the Muslims, we'd not have the roti shops! I tend to think about food before religion...
So, with the Phuket blog in mind, I headed to Old Phuket Town to try some traditional roti for breakfast. The idea was to try both of the roti shops, but the other was closed, only Abdul's was open (though there was no sign of Abdul himself). A sign on the wall says Roti made by Abdul 74 Years Old 7th Generation. You can get Roti with chicken, beef or fish. Don't ask for pork. Or a beer! I asked for roti with masaman chicken curry.
The roti are cooked at the front of the shop right by the street, a lump of dough is bashed, flattened, folded, flattened again, shown no mercy and put on an oiled hotplate. And then when it's slightly crispy, it's slapped about to break it up, ready to eat...
My bowl of Masaman curry with a leg of chicken came first ... and a wait of a few minutes for a freshly cooked roti. Anyone disagree? This looks GOOD!
I am not sure how one is "supposed" to eat this. Is there a traditional technique? I spooned up curry and pieces of tender chicken onto the roti. Very tasty, fairly spicy. I could have eaten another one, this is good eating! I feel an addiction coming on. Going to be back here on my next day off! As with many little shops and restaurants in Thailand you get the feeling you're in someone's house ... that's because you are! Family come and go, grandma comes out to say hello, I often see into shops after closing time, and the restaurant is now the living room. Just behind my table a young boy was watching TV ...
The roti with curry was good, but I also wanted some dessert - a nice plain roti with condensed milk. Same kind of roti you get with the curry but this one is sweet!
Roti with curry plus the sweet roti and 2 iced coffees. 105 Baht. Did I hear someone say "Phuket is expensive"? Phuket can be expensive if you want. I just saw a post from someone on Facebook showing a frankly very ordinary burger at the very plush "Joe's Downstairs" restaurant in Patong. Price for the burger with some equally ordinary looking fries : 705 Baht. Unreal. Phuket is like that. You can spend as much as you want, please don't complain that Phuket is expensive. Not the real Phuket. After eating, back on Thalang Road I noticed that the roti shop is right next door to a fabric shop. Thalang Road is a gem, hope it remains that way.
Related Phuket Blog posts
Thalang Road - Heart of Phuket old town
Walking Street Sunday Market
Hotels in Phuket Town
Abdul's Roti Shop - Thalang Road - Location Map
View Abdul's Roti Shop on Thalang Road in a larger map