Roti Fatimah: outstanding southern Thai curries and roti in eastern Bangkok

Gaeng gari gai at Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

I am generally not the biggest fan of food courts in Bangkok. While they offer good value and decent enough meals, and are certainly a million times better than anything to be expected in a similar setting in the west, all too often they simply turn out very ordinary dishes. There is nothing remarkable about them, compared to the same dish served up at a street stall or owner-run restaurant where you can feel and taste the passion and years and expertise that has gone into your food.

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Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

However, I make a strong exception for the Seri Market food court at Paradise Park shopping centre, on Srinakarin Road in eastern Bangkok.  Just a short taxi ride from Udomsuk station on the outskirts of the Skytrain’s Sukhumvit line, Seri Market – which takes its name from the previous incarnation of Paradise Park, when it was known as the Seri Centre – is something of an upmarket food court and serves up a seemingly endless selection of dishes that are slightly pricier than you will find in other food courts, but infinitely better tasting. As well as countless food stands turfing out food to eat there and then or take home, there is also a wet market style collection of shops selling everything from fresh meat, fruit and vegetables to fish sauce and other Thai cooking staples, and even one or two spots that specialise in the unique combination of high-quality jasmine rice and fine jewellery.

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Gaeng gari gai at Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

Among Seri Market‘s fantastic offerings is Roti Fatimah, a Muslim-owned stall tucked into the far corner of the food court and boasting a collection of excellent southern Thai curries served with freshly made roti. Though they usually only have four or five curries ready made and waiting for you to choose from, the crowd that seems to linger persistently around the stall is evidence of its popularity. Two of the staff at this apparently family run stall stand at one end hand spinning and stretching the roti in full view – the guy doing this isn’t even behind the stall, he’s standing right in the crowd of curry admirers – and then frying them off to flaky, airy perfection.

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Gaeng gari gai at Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

Another sign of the popularity of this stall is the sheer number of roti they get through – the expert fingering of the dough never stops for a moment, a constant churn of bread making its way from one man’s fingers to the next to the oiled pan. While the rounds of dough are clearly well oiled during the kneading phase – presumably what makes them so light, fluffy and pliable, along with the bubble of air deliberately created on top of each one before frying – when they come out of the pain they lack the unpleasant greasiness roti can sometimes be known for.

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Chicken massuman at Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

For dipping and general delectation, the selection of curries – that vary daily but which, without exception, are all excellent – usually includes a southern-style green chicken curry. Green curries of southern origin tend to be slightly sweeter and spicier than their cousins in Bangkok and the central plains, with the addition of kaffir lime leaves, which you won’t find in the purest and most traditional of central Thai green curry recipes, and often a lack of horapa sweet basil leaves – if they are there, they won’t be in the same abundance you’ll find in green curries of central origin. Others include a relatively sweet massuman with beef or chicken, a chicken kuruma curry and a chicken gaeng gari yellow curry decked out with potatoes and cherry tomatoes. The mild gaeng gari is fantastic – though not usually my curry of choice, this one manages the ideal level of sweetness without sacrificing depth of flavour. The menu also lists the massuman and kuruma as being available with goat, but this is only available some days and appears to be a case of chancing your luck – after several visits I am yet to have been there on an occasion when goat has been in the pot.

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Gaeng gari at Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

Like other vendors at Seri Market, expect to pay a little more at Roti Fatimah than you would elsewhere – most of the curries served with a shredded roti come in at 70 baht, while goat curries when available are 150 baht. Needless to say it is worth every penny; in an area packed with hidden gems of Muslim eateries thanks to the proximity of the Rahmatul-Islam Mosque on Srinakarin Soi 55, Roti Fatimah remains a stand-out. Mataba (roti stuffed with meat and vegetables) are also served, as is khao mok gai chicken biryani which is decent but with rice that lacks the flavour of dried spices in the version served up at the likes of Areesaa Rote Dee in Banglamphu. Finally, an entire half of the menu is given over to various combinations of sweet roti – drizzled in condensed milk, or stuffed with egg, banana, chocolate or similar fillings – and as many people queue for the sweet treats as for the curries.

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RECOMMENDED: Download Mark Wiens’ Eating Thai Food Guide e-book

Roti Fatimah, Bangkok

Roti Fatimah is on the far right-hand side as you first enter the Seri Market food court, on the ground floor of Paradise Park, if coming from elsewhere in the shopping centre. If entering the food court directly through its own door onto Srinakarin Soi 57, it’s at the back on the far left-hand side. Look for the crowd of curry oglers and a man deftly fingering his rotis, and you won’t go far wrong!

Seri Market food court, Paradise Park, Srinakarin Road (BTS Udomsuk)
Daily, 9am-8pm

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