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HomeNewsLocal newsRoti: St. Croix is a Hotbed for Popular Caribbean Dish

Roti: St. Croix is a Hotbed for Popular Caribbean Dish

Dilip Singh prepares bread for roti at Singh’s Fast Food. (Source photo by Darshania Domingo)

The Caribbean is a melting pot of wonderful cuisine, brought by the diverse cultures and people who live on and have visited St. Croix. A variety of the region’s dishes are birthed from a mix of cultures and traditions. Roti is no different, and St. Croix has no lack of outlets where hungry residents can indulge.

Roti’s origins are in Trinidad. The story goes that in the post-slavery years of the 1800s, Indian immigrants arrived in Trinidad as laborers. They brought many parts of their culture and traditions, including the spice we call curry and bread known as roti.

Curry soon was incorporated into Caribbean plates, and the Caribbean dish we identify as roti was born. Roti is made using the bread as a base and completed with fillings, meat or potatoes. It was commonly known in Trinidad as “buss-up-shut,” likening the appearance of roti to a torn shirt.

Parris Tee’s Roti is located mid-island in the Strawberry area.

Owner Jennifer Parris-McFarland got into the roti business out of hardship. Parris-McFarland said she was “having a low point in her clothing business” and that’s when the idea of making roti came to her.

Parris Tee’s Roti was born out of hardship. (Source photo by Darshania Domingo)

“Being from Trinidad, why don’t you make roti?” she asked herself. She followed the thought and began what is now a thriving addition to her clothing business.

“The business started and within a year the growth was huge,” she said.

As the business grew, she began construction of the location it occupies today. The shop also features local drinks, tamarind balls and gooseberry stew. Parris Tee’s Roti is at 498 D Strawberry, Christiansted, St. Croix.

Singh’s Fast Food was founded in 1975. The Christiansted business was started by the parents of the current owner, Dilip Singh. Originally from Trinidad, Singh and his wife have run the business for the last 30 years.

Singh’s Fast Food is one of the oldest restaurants on St. Croix. (Photo by Lisa Mowry)

“Roti is a Caribbean thing,” Singh said. “So, people want that taste when they come to visit.”

The restaurant is one of the oldest on the island, has won awards from Taste of St. Croix and has been featured in different magazines over the years. Watching Singh prepare a conch roti, it is easy to see that he loves what he does.

Singh’s Fast Food is located at 23 King St., Christiansted, St. Croix.

Martha’s Deli was established in 1983 in Richmond. Its current location in Peter’s Rest, across the street from Plaza East, has gained it many loyal customers who keep coming back year after year.

Kenny Anselm, acting manager at Martha’s, said they “make hundreds of roti every week.” “Roti is a Caribbean thing,” Anselm said. “Martha is from Dominica and her husband is from Trinidad, and so they blended the foods from their islands and created what is Martha’s Deli.”

At Martha’s Deli, manager Kenny Anselm said the secret is to keep it simple. (Photo from Facebook page)

Asked what makes Martha’s standout, Anselm replied, “We keep it simple, we keep it basic and we prepare our roti with Dal Puri [an Indian-inspired flatbread made in the Caribbean], we have original shells of the skins and strive to keep the tradition as much as possible.”

Martha’s Deli is located at 300 Peter’s Rest, Christiansted, St. Croix.

Flavors of the Caribbean, located at the old Ace Roti location in Castle Coakley, is the newest restaurant to offer roti.

Lystra Bishop-Fleming, who is co-owner with daughters Janelle Fleming, Jada Fleming and Alicia Peterson, said they opened their doors this year featuring “many options of Caribbean cuisine.”

Lystra Bishop-Fleming and her daughters opened Flavors of the Caribbean this year. (Source photo by Darshania Domingo)

Originally from Trinidad, Bishop-Fleming has lived on St. Croix since 1989. She said making roti has always been a passion of hers. What makes her roti standout, she said, is her use of local seasonings for the meat, such as recal, chives and more.

Bishop-Fleming said she is grateful that the business receives “support from the locals,” and that all her employees are excellent.

Flavors of the Caribbean is located at 10 Castle Coakley, Christiansted St. Croix.

Other notable roti purveyors on the island include:
– Norma’s/Domino club on Fridays
– Roti King
– Angel Restaurant in Whim
– Angela’s Corner La Grande Princesse

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