The Birthplace Of Roti John

Singapore is where Roti John was concocted, invented or born as a street food. I sat down for a drink at a stall in Haig Road Cooked Food Centre, unaware.

When I looked up later, I was astonished to see a very long queue forming in front of the neighbouring stall. It was Ramadan and local Muslims were packing and taking away food to break fast later.

The stall named Rosy & Nora is 35 years old and as old as the the Roti John snack it is famous for serving. Roti John is a baguette loaf with scrambled eggs, onions and chilli gravy.

Roti John’s name or origin is humdrum as far as local legends go. It started as a a hawker’s sales pitch in asking a Matsalleh, Caucasian or white man, most likely a British soldier: “Roti, John?”

A Malay auntie in the line noticed my curiosity and she told me many of the customers, like herself, are also queuing for popiah basah (a wet spring roll). What an awesome but accidental discovery of a famous and iconic Singapore food stall.

The Geylang Serai bazaar has over 1000 stalls, excluding those in the food court. Find a hotel here, when you visit:

#rotijohn #geylangserai #ramadan #bazaar #singapore #snacks #joochiat #fasting #iftar #food #rotijohn #popiah #geylang #hawkerfood #rosyandnora #mycenhotels #singapura

Watermelon Volcano

Watermelon Volcano.

It was the most successful fadish food at Singapore’s Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar last year. Alongside, rainbow bagels and Ramly burgers.

Long queues of mostly young people and hipsterlets can be seen lining up in front of the kiosk. Wonder if it is still a big hit this year?

Originally, a school science project with vinegar and baking soda, the messy eruptions became a a slushie mixture of ice, watermelon cubes and evaporated milk. Because it is shared dish with straws, it is popular with couples and young people.

The bazaar has over 1000 stalls. Find a hotel here:

#watermelonvolcano #geylangserai #ramadan #bazaar #singapore #snacks #joochiat #fasting #iftar #slushie

The Real McCoy vs The Imitation

The Real McCoy vs The Imitation.

The plate of curry rice below is real as it was eaten and captured by Ipoh resident Vasan. A sign at the original shop in Ipoh claims it has no other branches; implying all others are fake or wannabes. And there are many in Klang Valley. Famous Line Clear Nasi Kandar from Penang suffer from piracy too.

I had the counterfeit Nasi Vanggey (top pic) in Taman Permata, opposite Taman Melawati. I thought it was the real thing as they had giant wallpapers of pictures depicting the old Ipoh shop and even a write up on its history which was designed to deceive. There was another fake one in Wangsa Maju nearby. Oddly, they hate one another with the bitterness of bitter gourds.

Thank you sweet Vasanthi Mailany for going out to help establish some clarity. I must admit I did like the food from the fake one which was quite tasty, especially the coconut chutney. But I cannot go on supporting it as it is immoral. That’s the thing many Malaysians food traders don’s realise; if you can cook, build your own brand instead of ripping off others or riding on the success and hard work of others. Plus, it is cheating customers.

Not sure where to go to get the real thing? Travel to Ipoh yourself. Find a good Ipoh hotel deal here:

#nasikandar #nasiganja #rice #ipoh #yongsuan #nasivanggey #curry #ipoh #perak

Goat Soup For The Soul

I was writing about the quaint mosque in Setapak the other day and an IG follower reminded me of the famous sup kambing and popia basah (soft skinned spring rolls) shop found behind the mosque. A non-Muslim friend and I decided to go look at Pasar Ramadan bazaars today. I suggested we go to the sup shop to celebrate the first buka puasa or the first breaking of fast this year.

My bowl of sup kambing (front) and my friend’s sup ayam at the rear of the pic. Sliced loaf of Roti Banggali bread was served (chargeable). I ordered a plate of plain white rice to go with the spicy and fragrant soup.

Am thankful for the simple, affordable yet delicious meal. Grateful for my friend’s flexibility. Honoured to be able to celebrate the first day of Ramadan with a like-minded and good friend. Another wonderful news today. Feeling blessed. Was looking for the teacher who stayed next to the mosque and he called me today and we spoke again after a few decades! That will be a story for another day!

Restoran Hussin Sup & Popia Jalan Pahang is tricky to navigate to if you are unfamiliar with the area. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

#supayam #supkambing #hussinsup #mamaksoup #setapak #mosque #bukapuasa #ramadan #mamak

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot.

Yong Suan Chinese coffee shop in Ipoh is a true melting pot with okra and customers from various cultures thrown together. Ipoh resident, Vasanthi Mailany, shot this pic at my request. It is at the famous coffee shop in Ipoh with the Indian Muslim nasi kandar (rice) tenant, also known as Nasi Vanggey, or welcome or “come in” in Tamil, it seems. The curry rice and assorted dishes were reportedly so good and addictive, it gained the notorious name of “Nasi Ganja” .

I tried one in KL and and at a couple more counterfeit shops claiming to be original branches in KL. Whenever, I confront the boss to ask if it is a genuine branch, authorised offshoot or legit spinoff, I get a nervous and suspicious answer.

Friend Jugjet Singh Randhawa saw my post and warned me he remembered seeing a sign at the Ipoh shop displaying a warning stating they have NO other branches, implying all others using the same name are fake. With Vasan’s new iPhone 7 pic, I can finally confirm from the horse’s mouth that there are no branches at anywhere else.

While I like some of the imitator’s pirated food, I cannot condone the plagiarism or blatant misuse of a brand name and riding or profiting from someone else’s popularity and hard-earned success. It is also cheating customers outright.

Many people travel to Ipoh on food trips and you can find many good hotel deals at my Ipoh Hotel Deals Finder Page:

Find a good hotel, sleep well and get up early for breakfast in Ipoh too.

Thank you Vasanthi Mailany for capturing a beautiful image of mullti ethnicity that is truly Malaysia. First time I am seeing the shop named as “Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah” and the kopitiam’s signboard spelling it as “Yong Suan Coffee Shop ” and not Yong Shuan Kopitiam as seen many times.

Makes sense because “Kopitiam” is a Hokkien word and Ipoh is predominantly Cantonese. As my friend Jahabar Sadiq, an expert on Nasi Kandar, said: “The senseless copying is getting out of hand and must stop”. Will show a comparison pic of real and fake Nasi Ganja soon.

#yongsuan #nasiganja #nasikandar #ipoh #food #ayammerah #mycenhotels #coffeeshop