Roti. Found on Union Island. Finally.

By 300 Sandwiches

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rotibyannaLOI should have just asked a local before posting that I couldn’t find roti on Union Island. Particularly the local that ran our kite surf center.

Jeremie Tronet runs JT Pro Center, where E and I spent most of our time on the island catching wind and hanging out. Jeremie is a world class professional kitesurfer, who is capable of doing awesome things like soaring over Happy Island on a kite board, and grabbing a rum punch in the process. He also just opened up a Snack Shack in the main square that serves paninis, wine, beer and snacks.

Jeremie, who is French and lived in Martinique and Dominican Republic, moved to Union Island a few years ago to open his kite school. He also apparently keeps up with food blogs. Before my second lesson, JT flipped out upon hearing I was the “sandwich girl” who made 300 sandwiches for her boyfriend. “That’s you! And Eric, that’s the guy! And it worked out because you’re engaged! Yeah, I read all about it!”

Wow, our story got as far as Union Island. You can’t find Time magazine here, but you can find 300 Sandwiches.

Anyway, Jeremie read last week’s post about me not finding any roti on the island, and pointed me in the right direction. “Go behind the Snack Shop, to the mall, and there’s a woman there who makes roti.”

I went in search of this lady around sunset on Friday. But I was too late. The mall was closed, and the woman, Anna, had already closed up shop. I spotted her as she was headed home. “I usually make them for lunch time,” she informed me. “You want tomorrow? I’ll have around 10:30, come by then.”

The next day, I made sure I was at that mall—which was really a concrete structure that housed a souvenir shop, a bakery and Anna’s eatery—before the afternoon rush. I meandered to the back of the dimly lit structure, and found her in a tiny cubbyhole of a space with room for an oven, a sink and a small counter. There was no window for circulation. “Halo,” she said. “Can I help you?”

“I’m here for your roti.”

Anna had a large steel pot of chicken and potato stew simmering on her stove, and a stack of roti on a plate near a microwave. She zapped the bread in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and then laid it out on a flat platter. The chef lifted the heavy lid to scoop out some piping hot curried stew in the middle of the roti. Then she folded the ends on themselves, and wrapped it with wax paper. I started to sweat from the lack of air and hot steam from the food. And from hunger.

“Okay,” Anna told me. “Ten.” I handed her a Eastern Caribbean bill worth about $4 USD, and toted my lunch to the beach.

Her roti, spicy and hot for another hour after she’d prepared it, was flavorful, packed with curry and peppers, like a Caribbean sandwich would be. The bread was flaky and buttery, with a bit of elasticity. Midway through lunch, I discovered Anna left an entire chicken bone in the roti. I pulled out an entire whole drumstick from inside the sandwich. Must be the Caribbean way.

I was a bit angry at myself for not asking earlier where to get these. Wasting two days and hundreds of calories on burgers. Good burgers, at least. But this wasn’t Kansas! It was the unspoiled Caribbean. Home to good food, great people, and killer vistas by which to enjoy both.

Now, where’s my rum punch?

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