Penang, Malaysia: Thosai at Veloo Vilas

by gigi on August 31, 2011

As Jenkins and I continued on our food walking tour through George Town, we had “brunch” at Veloo Vilas, located in the Indian neighbourhood of the city. We had been here a few times already but we always end up finding something interesting. This time, it was to sample some thosai, which is a thin, southern Indian pancake made from a fermented rice flour batter. It is considered a breakfast item and even though we arrived relatively late in the morning, they took pity on us and served us anyway. Smile The thosai grill is located outside and you can see it if you look carefully in the picture below (behind the scooters on the right).

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We were told that they only had masala thosai left so Jenkins and I each ordered one. At only $0.50 CAD each, this was hardly a strain on our wallets but we probably should have shared since we still had a full day of eating ahead of us. Smile Our server presented us with fresh banana leaves for our plates and he came back a few minutes later with the thosai themselves. Since we had no idea what we were doing, he recommended that we try a little of each of the available condiments with our thosai.

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Our thosais were vegetarian and this was actually a nice breakfast item. Since the thosai are so thin, it is not too heavy for breakfast. The masala filling was very flavourful and its heartiness was cut by the slightly sour fermented pancake. This probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea due to its unique flavour but I actually liked the way the flavours worked together. The edges of the thosai were still crispy from the grill while the centre part was soggier due to the filling. As with all the Indian food we sampled while we were in Malaysia, we ate this with our hands, which got to be quite messy. Smile

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We washed down the spiciness of our thosais with some freshly made teh tarik. It wasn’t as frothy as some of the other places we had sampled but other than that, it was perfectly made with just the right combo of milk and tea. It also wasn’t overly sweet, which I appreciated.

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We had originally wanted to sample the plain thosais, which came without any filling. I think that would have been an even better breakfast since it is obviously less filling. However, since we came so late, they told us they were only able to make the masala thosai for us. In any case, it was still very enjoyable and we enjoyed munching on this unique southern Indian dish.

70, Lebuh Penang, George Town, Malaysia

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