OUTSIDE of the more known roti shops around the country such as Hosein’s, Hott Shoppe, Mona’s, Don’s, Patraj, Highway Roti Shop, Wings, Shiann’s and Parbatie’s, Newsday took a few trips around the island in search of some other special roti flavours that keep customers going back for more, over and over again.
Roti shops were selected following a poll done by Foodie Nation, an online website that focuses on local food and recipes, and as well, a subsequent Facebook poll which asked people to submit their favourite roti shops.
The restaurants surveyed all offered their own distinct curry flavours and varying textures of their roti skins. Flavours are enhanced by different mixtures of Indian spices done by the various establishments, each coming up with their specific blend.
The tour rolled out in the east with the first stop at Sheila’s Roti Shop on Pasea Main Road, Tunapuna. The crew was met by a smiling Sarita Harkoo, who is the manager, while Sheila herself was happy to play a supporting role.
Harkoo said: “As you can see everything is separate and we don’t mix spoons. That is one of the things that makes us different. Also, we serve home-made sorrel, mauby and other juices.”
And indeed, they operate in a very sanitised environment filled with cheer as workers take pleasure in getting the food prepared to be served from 9 am, Mondays to Saturdays.
The result is a taste that is just fabulous. Customers can choose from goat, chicken, shrimp roti, plus any or all of sides such as channa and aloo, bodi, mango and pumpkin. On Fridays and Saturdays, duck is added to the menu. Duck is popular weekend option which is usually sold out long before closing hour.
Juman’s Roti Shop on Jackson Street, Curepe, was another delight. Run by Nasrudeen, Shanaz, Rosena and Azrudeen Juman, it was established in 1993 and opens every day from 10 am to 4 pm, except Thursdays and Sundays.
Shanaz said: “It’s been hard at the beginning, but now, reaching where we are now and all that we have achieved at this point, this is the best thing we have done.”
She added that the customers crave their roti skins particularly the softness of the dhalpuri and the silkiness of the paratha.
Though their biggest seller is chicken roti, they also offer shrimp, beef and duck, but the duck is only served on Fridays and Saturdays here as well.
Shanaz said: “We also do a stew beef, and it is really going well, it is a difference.”
Asked about being deemed one of the best roti shops in the country, by a recent Foodie Nation survey, she was at a loss for words. Rosena offered: “It’s an overwhelming feeling placing second. We started as a small shop and it snowballed into this fantastic business and we are very grateful for it. It’s a lot of hard work, but our greatest joy at the end of the day is hearing people say, ‘I real enjoy my meal, I love my meal’.”
She added: “When people come for vacation, here is their first stop and this is a wonderful feeling.”
On a daily basis 150 to 200 customers pass through the business and on Fridays and Saturdays, even more.
Nasrudeen said: “We are known for our dhalpuri. Also, this is not a boring shop. Something is always happening. And we are happy that some of our workers have been with us since we opened 25 years ago.”
Preparation of meals is done in a very spacious and clean area with lots of natural light.
After sampling some of their specialties there was no doubt that they do have a taste that is truly wonderful.
A stop at Sylvie’s Roti Shop on Back Chain Street, San Juan, saw three of Sylvie’s daughters in charge of operations. In the forefront are Anjanie and Radha Jagdeo, who boasted: “What is special about us is the taste of the curry. It is actually different and taste different from all the other roti shops in the country, because we use three different mixtures of curry to get that taste.”
The shop is open Monday-Saturday from 9 am-5 pm, and that day there was a heavy flow of customers seeking out that special rich curry flavour.
Tomorrow we will highlight a few more roti shops in the southland with their own special tastes.