Exploring strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best international food

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are you ready to try the wedding-size buss-up-shut roti?

Toronto Weston Flea Market vendor Tenny Ramkissoon has a personal mission: to make roti and doubles—a Trinidadian roti-like snack—as popular as pizza and hamburgers. "Roti is a food a lot of people love, but it's not internationally known," says Tenny. "My intention is to put doubles and roti on the international map." 
Tenny and his wife Chandra, who both hail originally from Trinidad, opened up Kavita's Hot & Spicy Foods inside the Toronto Weston Flea Market last year. Despite the fact the duo each has a full time job—Tenny works the night shift at a car parts factory and Chandra packages coffee—they were excited to bring the Trinidadian food they served at weddings and parties to a wider clientele by opening a weekend stall at the market. (See part one of Spice City's post about the flea market here.)

This flea market vendor thinks big. "I contacted Galen Weston's people at President's Choice to talk about doubles and roti," says Tenny. "Someone in the office is not communicating with him, because he's not calling back, and it's been a month now." 

Several years ago, Tenny attempted to break the world record for the largest roti with Etobicoke's Roti Roti restaurant. He says the Guinness Book acknowledges they broke the record, but hasn't updated their site to confirm the feat. 

At his flea market stall, named after his youngest daughter Kavita, Tenny sells a giant "wedding size buss-up-shut roti." During a wedding in Trinidad, instead of making individual rotis, chefs make huge ones that are divided up, stuffed with curry and eaten by 10 or 15 people. It's a paratha roti, made of thin layers of dough dusted with crushed yellow split peas.

The moniker "buss-up-shut" comes from the fact the hefty pile of dough looks like a busted up or torn shirt. "I'm the only Canadian chef who can cook it and I've been doing it since I was small," boasts Tenny. "I cook it at home with my wife. We throw it on a hot plate and use wooden pallets to turn it." In the photo below, Chandra holds a ball of dough from a half-size buss-up-shut roti. 

Tenny's pride in his cooking isn't misplaced: the goat roti he serves at his stall ($7) features fresh, delicate sheets of paratha roti stuffed with flavourful tender chunks of goat meat and potato. The doubles—two fried pieces of dough slathered with chick pea curry—have a rich, smooth flavour. 

Also worth trying is the mauby, a homemade beverage created with bark from a tropical tree. It tastes similar to root beer, but has a slightly bitter, earthy flavour.  

Photos by Molly Crealock

Toronto Weston Flea Market is located at 404 Old Weston Road, just north of St. Clair Ave West. Admission is free. It's open Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 6pm. Tel: 416 654 6455.

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  1. This looks delicious. I have to go check it out.

  2. 'I contacted Galen Weston's people at President's Choice to talk about doubles and roti'

    Oh, really?

    'Someone in the office is not communicating with him, because he's not calling back'

    That made my day...

  3. Tried their curry duck on some rice. Not bad.