Jean-Luc Nassy-LeMac

Tracking down new and exciting foods and eating them has been my principle preoccupation since arriving in Malaysia almost six months ago. But I’ve also been happy to find old comfort food from my childhood that was tough to get back in the States. I lived in India for four years as a kid, and my favorite food while I was there was Dosa. Dosa is a thin, soft crepe-like food made from a sour rice flour batter. You can eat them stuffed with spicy potatos or plain dipped in dahl or sambar. It’s a lot like the sour flatbread that is common in Ethiopian and Somali cuisine. In Michigan there are many Indian restaurants, but they serve almost exclusively North Indian food. To my knowledge there is only one South Indian restaurant in the Metro Detroit area where you can get a dosa. That is Udipi’s, on Orchard Lake Road just south of 13 Mile. O Muslims! The restaurant is completely vegetarian, so have no fear.

In any case, when I first visited Malaysia, I asked around for dosa. Since there are many Tamils in Malaysia, I was sure it was available. But you see, dosa in Bahasa Malaysia means sin, so I didn’t get very far asking for it… Maybe for this reason as much as for any other, dosa is transliterated in Malaysia as thosai or tosai. Since I got that straightened out, I’ve been happy as can be. Many Indian restaurants here in Kuching sell them. You can get a tosai twice the size of your plate with sambar and dahl for one ringgit!