we’re going on a roti hunt

We’re not afraid.

Downtown Singapore is, let’s face it, like almost any other cosmopolitan city (with exceptions, of course). It’s modern, it’s clean, and it’s easy to navigate. But head out of downtown, and it gets decidedly more provincial, with open-air restaurants with plastic chairs, fewer English speakers, and—we hoped—more authentic food. Driving north out of downtown, my mom had spotted The Roti Prata House and was dying to try it. So dad did some city bus research, and mom and I set off on the bus—in a direction opposite every other trip from home we’ve ever taken—and traveled half an hour to sample the roti prata.

roti prata house (by mintyfreshflavor)

IMG_3236 (by mintyfreshflavor)

Roti prata is another of those “top 10” Singaporean foods—a flat bread (“roti” means bread and “prata” means flat) quite like a crepe. And just like a crepe, savory foods can be wrapped up in them or they can be eaten plain with sugar. Curry is their best friend. We got the chicken murtabak, which is a large prata with chicken, carrots, onion, and spices stuffed inside (bottom of the photo below). It’s served with a bowl of pale curry sauce (top left). The filling was light, with the shredded carrot giving it a sweetness, and the curry was nice and spicy. We also got the mutton briyani (middle and right), which was excellent. The curry it was in was my favorite—I pretty much scooped some in every bite.

IMG_3255 (by mintyfreshflavor)

A glance into the back of the restaurant revealed a small cart with an “Indian Rojak” sign. Rojak is another Singaporean staple—it’s a salad—but this? This was not normal rojak. We asked our sweet waiter, who was amused by us and our picture-taking and patiently did his best to explain things to us in his limited English, if we could have some. He made it clear that we were to go up and choose it ourselves. Huh? OK, I’ll go.

IMG_3259 (by mintyfreshflavor)

What we’d thought was fruit from afar turned out to be a whole assortment of fritter-like objects. I finally got him to tell me what they were. There was a whole range, from prawn fritters (top right) to coconut-onion (middle top—YUM), to fish cake (bottom left—I put that one back) to tofu squares (bottom right). I also picked a veggie fritter (top left). I started to walk back to the table with the plate but he stopped me—no, you give it to them and they re-fry the fritters and bring them to us. OK!

IMG_3263 (by mintyfreshflavor)

In fact they then chopped it up, mixed it all together with raw cukes, green chiles, and onions, and served it with a heated sweet sauce. A mixture of different fried fritters in a salad? That’s my kinda salad. It was really tasty (I didn’t like the sweet sauce, though).

Our only major “miss” in this meal was the drink we saw someone else drinking and decided to try, on a whim. Rose bandung. Um. I did no color correcting to this photo. And it tastes EXACTLY how it looks, only MORE perfumey and nasty.

IMG_3247 (by mintyfreshflavor)

In all, the meal for the both of us (which probably qualified as a meal for 3 people) cost $14 Sing! That’s probably about $10. We were stuffed full and happy. YUM.

22 Responses to we’re going on a roti hunt

  1. knitopia says:

    I cannot get over that horrifying-looking drink. It looks even more pink than Pepto, and I didn’t think that was possible.

  2. ann says:

    that drink is terrifying! thanks for being the guinea pig… I will put that on my never-try list. :)
    thank you for your wonderful photos and narratives from your trip! it’s fun to live vicariously.

  3. Ana says:

    My being envious (why, oh why, do I read your food posts before lunch?) draws me to ask: “hmmm, what about knitting?”


  4. yaiAnn says:

    OMG.. I had roti prata yesterday! B and I went to one of our favorite restaurants yesterday, coincidentally called Singapore Malaysia, and had roti, laksa and some new dishes I don’t remember the names of. Yummy! Now I want more roti! =)

  5. Jody says:

    Wow this was such an interesting outing! I am very jealous of all your new tastes and sites! How exciting!
    Thanks again for sharing your trip with the rest of us!

  6. Katie says:

    This post is killing me – I’m starving! And now I want something FRIED.
    But I’ll pass on the pink drink. It looks very medicinal.

  7. Desiree says:

    Actually, “prata” is the way we affectionately refer to roti prata. You guys did a good job, but the place to go for prata is Jalan Kayu, where a row of prata coffee shops jostle for business. It’s also out in the swamplands, and from what I see, you did well enough.

    Indian rojak is another one of my favorites, and I’d planned to order some tonight. But it looks like you’ve had it covered.

    Bandung rocks! It was such a treat to have it as a kid! Dear readers, it is not medicinal. It is a rose essence that’s been swirled with evaporated milk, so it’s a very fragrant and refreshing drink that complements Malay and Indian food excellently well.

  8. abby says:

    The food looks fantastic, but that drink is hilarious! I usually like rose-flavored drinks, but that one might be challenging…

  9. Ingrid says:

    I love the photos that you are getting of the food in Singapore! Makes me feel like another trip might be in order. Would you ever post on how you get such great photos?

  10. Kim says:

    Delish! My mouth is watering. Rose flavored drinks are hit or miss. They can be delightful or taste like air freshener or old loady perfume. I can’t resist them though. I would’ve ordered it too just because of the color.

  11. orinda5 says:

    I love living vicariously through your blog! Thank you!

    I was reading during a break at a meeting – and the photo of the rose drink garnered many comments from those around me. :)

  12. Num Num says:

    The drink looks like Pepto Bismol! But the food looks so delicious I’m sure you didn’t need any. And the pics are wow!

  13. Dee says:

    Hi, Minty,

    I’ve awarded you the Pico y Arte award for your beautiful photography and wonderful descriptions of the places you go, both here and abroad.

    I’ve so enjoyed seeing, first your pics of Philadelphia (my hometown) and then NYC.


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