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:

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