Roti, a paper-thin wheat flour pan-fried bread prepared in roadside food stalls is a very common site everywhere in Thailand. I call it the Thailand pancake because Roti is so similar to a regular pancake or tortillas fried in margarine. Roti is served as a snack and topped with sliced ripe bananas, sweetened condensed milk, white sugar and sometimes dashes of chocolate.
I’ve watched street food vendors in Chiang Mai expertly prepare and flip the roti on a rotating hot plate as customers look on and wait until it’s done. Part of the fun is the anticipation as you watch the vendor prepare your roti and hearing the sizzling sound from the hot plate.
Roti dough is made from flour, butter, eggs, condensed milk, salt and water. Roti is served with as many variations as possible. There’s butter roti, roti with egg, roti banana and egg, roti with egg and chocolate, roti with banana plus chocolate, roti with chicken, with peanut butter, with mango, and more.
It is both intriguing and fun to watch as the vendors expertly roll the very thin pastry, spread it gently before filling it with whatever ingredients the customer wants, then putting on the finishing flavors like splashes of condensed milk and chocolate, then rolling it or sliced into little squares and serving them on a styrofoam plate ready to go.
Most of the roti stalls usually come to life toward the end of the day, along with all the other food stalls.
Roti has Muslim origins. It is similar to India’s flat bread maida paratha and Malaysia’s roti canai.
In New Delhi and other parts of India, roti is also widely popular. They serve roti in restaurants along with popular dips and flavors like yellow curry sauce, curry potato and mushroom soup, among others.
If you want ot make your own version of roti, go ahead and have fun. The internet provides so many recipes depending on what kind you want to make. Me on the other hand will avoid the hassle of cooking and just watch it being made from a street food vendor anytime.
Next time you see a roti stand, stop by and try it out.