Surprising, But True: You Really Can Get Great Roti in Grand Cayman
Our unmitigated love of roti is well documented on this blog. If you follow us on Facebook, then you know that I had some for lunch just yesterday. If you read us regularly, then you might think we’d eat it every day if we could…and you might be right!
So, I’m sure it won’t shock any of you to learn that Patrick and I routinely seek out the best roti spots on our Caribbean adventures. Certainly, it’s no surprise to find great roti back home in St. Croix; or in Tobago, where our Dad lives; or in Trinidad, where both our parents (and this most awesome of Caribbean delights) were born. I’m also confident Patrick will come across a tasty roti or two when his upcoming sailing adventure wraps up in Grenada. Grand Cayman, however, would be another story. Or, at least so I thought before actually visiting the island a few weeks ago and finding the little slice of pure West Indian heaven that is Singh’s Roti Shop.
In Grand Cayman, where the vast majority of dining options are of an international variety, basically offering visitors from the U.S., Canada and Europe a taste of the kind of food they can readily enjoy back home, Singh’s REALLY stands out. This is a Trini place through and through, with soca music blaring, TnT flags draped everywhere, Kutchela on every table and ice-cold Carib beers stocked in the cooler.
So, what’s a real Trini place like Singh’s doing in Grand Cayman? Let’s check the island’s history…
Over the years as Grand Cayman developed into the prosperous center of offshore banking and tourism that it is today, many people from other parts of the Caribbean relocated here in search of jobs. During my short visit, I met people from all over – Barbados, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras, and Trinidad & Tobago, to name a few. There are also tons of Jamaicans here, but that’s more a product of the shared political status between the two territories under British colonial rule when they were governed as a single Crown colony from the late 1600’s all the way up to 1962.
Anyway, as we West Indians are apt to do, the folks from down-island brought their recipes and traditions with them to Grand Cayman. Thankfully, the good people at Singh’s didn’t leave the roti behind!
I heard about Singh’s on my last afternoon in Grand Cayman from a Guyanese security guard at Rum Point, which is exactly how most people hear about the place, according to the nice lady who served me a steaming hot beef roti during my visit.
Most West Indians only know of the place by word of mouth. If they come here to Grand Cayman, they eventually find their way.
Whether you’re a West Indian or not, if you love real Trini food and an authentic, local Caribbean atmosphere, Singh’s is well worth finding. My beef roti was a bit on the small side, but it was delicious and not too spicy (I had mine without pepper). They also don’t shirk on the meat by over-stuffing the roti with too many potatoes, which is always good, of course. I even got to wash it down with an Lemon Lime and Bitters!
Outside on the patio, a bunch of older guys were playing dominoes and firin’ booze like there was no tomorrow. It was a Sunday night, and in the typical West Indian way, the men were getting together for one last lime before the work week started up again in the morning. In another area, two friends were shooting pool. In still another room, a cozy bar sat in the dark, tempting me with a solid selection of rums from Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
The sounds, the smells, the vibe-if I closed my eyes for a minute, I could swear I was back in San Fernando, down in the southern part of Trinidad near my granny’s house!
There are other things on the menu at Singh’s besides roti, of course. Oxtail, doubles, shark & bake, aloo pie, pelau, stew chicken, steamed fish and callaloo are all popular West Indian faves served regularly. They even offer you a choice of dhalpourie or paratha roti, so you know you dealin’ with some real pros here.
Singh’s opens early every day (7am Monday-Friday, 8am on Saturday, 9am on Sunday), and stays open til late every night (1am on weeknights, 12am on Saturday and Sunday). It’s located in the back of George Town, just a few blocks off the waterfront area in the heart of the city. You’ll want to call them for the best directions from your hotel (tel: 345-946-7684).
As a bonus, you can also call that same number if you prefer to have them deliver your roti to you!
That’s right, Singh’s delivers to hotels and residences in the George Town area and all along Seven Mile Beach! Delivery is free, but the true flavor for the West Indies this place provides is priceless!