Run Roti Run

Posted on December 28, 2010


Singapore roti prata

Singapore roti prata

The conversation should have gone like this: “I want roti prata for breakfast” … “YOU CAN’T HANDLE ROTI PRATA FOR BREAKFAST!”

Instead the conversation went: “Do you want to walk down to the corner and have roti prata for breakfast?”  And the reply: a pleasant “yeah”.

And off we set. But the truth is… curry for breakfast can be a shock to the system.

Roti prata is something I’d read about but taken a long while to try. A colleague told me roti prata is a dish that’s difficult to do well. He said if I wanted to try good roti prata “and I mean gooooood”, I’d have to travel across Singapore to try it. Which is weird because he lives on the other side of the island, so surely the good places are near us.

The roti of the roti prata is similar to Indian roti bread. Its oily-puffed- flaky-stringiness is fantastic. The baby is a fan. The curry sauce it’s served with… well, in my opinion, the bread is better without the curry. This particular morning, Darling Man dipped some roti in the curry sauce and announced the curry was a day old. “I can tell,” he said.

We ate it anyway, along with Kopi-O, the local version of sweetened coffee. The baby ate so much roti we needed to order another round. This time Darling Man ordered the egg roti.

Singapore egg roti

After the baby had finished entertaining nearby diners in the packed hawker centre, we started walking home. Suddenly I had to walk a little quicker. My intestines were having a hoe down. Then, I had to run.

This happens to me quite a bit in Asia. I think I have a very sensitive eject button. I never throw up so I think my body has developed a super-efficient way to fling the pilot out of the plane, as it were. A dose of the squirts doesn’t usually slow me down for long.

We’d planned a family bike ride along East Coast Park at sunset, when Singapore cools slightly. Off we set. Miss M had a problem with her helmet, so progress was slow. About a kilometre from our house, Darling Man pulls over, clutching his middle.

“I’ve got a dancing stomach,” he said.

“There’s a toilet right there,” I said, pointing to the convenient conveniences.

He vanished. Leaving me with a barefooted baby hell-bent on dashing onto the now-dark bike path. I think we waited 30 minutes before Darling Man reappeared, blaming the curry.

It could have been the curry. But it could have been the coffee, or the money we handled before using our hands to eat. The baby didn’t get the runs, so it wasn’t the roti. It’s just one of the great mysteries of life. Next time, though, we might try another place.