For the third iteration of my This or That post series, I’ll be comparing two roti snacks I tried out some time ago. The first one is from Banana Leaf which I featured in a full review back in December 2019. Meanwhile, the second one is from The Roti Shop, which I had been wanting to try ever since I discovered its branch at the upscale Power Plant Mall in Makati. Good thing it opened a branch up north–in Estancia Mall!
But before I begin, what exactly is roti? Roti is a flatbread with origins in South Asia, but is widely enjoyed in Southeast Asian countries formerly under British rule, such as Malaysia and Singapore.
Hawker centres and mamak stalls specializing in this flatbread toss the roti dough in a manner similar to hand-tossed pizza, but the resulting roti dough is folded into a square and cooked on a lightly oiled skillet. Sweet versions of roti are topped with chocolate, bananas, and candy sprinkles and come with condensed milk on the side. The savory ones can have either dhal (lentil soup) or curries as an accompaniment. Regardless of version—diners simply tear off a piece of roti, dip the piece in soup or condensed milk, and indulge.
I visited my former employer last month to claim my final paycheck. Soon after doing so, I headed over to Estancia Mall and purchased the Roti Canai Supreme with Chili and Spring Onion from Banana Leaf and the Roti Prata with Cheese and Onion from The Roti Shop. Both orders actually contained more bread pieces, but my younger brother and I ate most of them the day before. I reheated the roti from both restaurants by putting them in an unoiled pan over medium heat, and then proceeded with this review.
I’ll stop my introduction here to share my take.
The Roti Shop: Fluffy yet flimsy
The Roti Prata with Cheese and Onion from The Roti Shop is fluffier, with the thin and flimsy layering visible. The roti is spongy to the bite, but shows a slight resistance when torn. It has cheese and garlic folded in, with the pungent garlic blending well with the salty cheese. In my honest opinion, the Roti Prata with Cheese and Onion reminds me of a grilled cheese sandwich in how the melted cheese jives with the slightly charred flatbread.
Banana Leaf: Stable yet delicate
Meanwhile, the Roti Canai Supreme with Chili and Spring Onion from Banana Leaf is thicker compared to that of The Roti Shop, as seen by the more pronounced layers. Flatbreads this thick are best dipped in curries as they are sturdier! Spring onion and chili were folded in the roti, giving it a kick. This Roti Canai Supreme with Chili and Spring Onion is much more delicate, easily tearing apart with little resistance. I can’t help but be reminded of pajeon, or Korean scallion pancake, with this version by Banana Leaf – albeit with more flour.
So, what roti will it be? This one from The Roti Shop, or that one from Banana Leaf?
And my pick goes to Banana Leaf’s Roti Canai Supreme with Chili and Spring Onion! The reason why I chose this roti was mainly because of its sturdy nature: It was easy to tear apart yet held on its own. Much as I appreciated the one from The Roti Shop, I believe its flimsy nature would make dipping it in curries a chore – but that’s just me.
That’s it for my third “This or That” post, and until the next one – bon appetit and stay safe!