Sunday, 8 May 2011

Brixton Treats - Guyana Roti & Chorizo Colombiano

The Indian influence on how the world eats can be illustrated by the popularity of roti. From its Indian origins, roti has become a firm favourite in places as far apart as Malaysia and Guyana, so much so that it's considered a national dish in both these countries.

I'm quite familiar with Malaysian roti canai but until recently I'd never tried the Guyanese version. And nor was I likely to until I stumbled across a bright blue caravan in the shadow of Brixton Recreation Centre. Sadly, Guyana Roti was closed when I first came across it, but I made a mental note to return.

And I'm glad I did. For a mere £4, I tucked into chicken curry with roti. The soft flaky roti was a fine accompaniment to the hot and spicy chicken curry. The chicken was on the bone, just how I like it (one thing I'll never understand is why so many people prefer bland chicken breast meat off the bone). Before the roti was plated up, it was put in a plastic container and given a good shake. Why is this done?  My guess is that's how the roti is folded but can anyone confirm this?

Other choices include goat curry, pumpkin curry, and jerk chicken, which are served with either rice or roti. None of the dishes cost more than a fiver, and there are a couple of tables outside the caravan if you want to 'eat-in'. If you love street food then you really ought to check out this stall.

Having finished my roti, I went for a stroll around Brixton Village, which is turning into quite a foodie mecca. There are loads of decent looking cafés and restaurants in this covered market that I'd like to check out. I was particularly intrigued by some of the South American eateries but these would have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, I satiated my curiosity by buying some chorizo Colombiano from Carniceria Los Andes. This Colombian sausage consists of coarsely ground pork and beef with quite a bit of fat. The amiable butcher kindly passed on some tips on how to cook these beasts; he recommends bunging them in the oven at gas mark 4 (180C for electric ovens) until golden brown.

I followed these instructions, and they turned out a treat! These sausages are very juicy and quite garlicky. I'm not sure what other seasonings are used in chorizo Colombiano but who cares? All you need to know is that this is one mighty fine tasting sausage. Highly recommended.

Guyana Roti, Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PD

Carniceria Los Andes, 13 Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8PR


  1. I would have thought the shaking of the roti was to get it fluffier. There is a Caribbean roti called "buss up shut" (I've not tried it!) that's supposed to be all fluffy and wrinkled, just like a "bust up shirt".

    That curry looks excellent!

  2. Love the roti van - the lady that runs it is a little, uh, 'eccentric'. Fun fact, if you ask nicely you can sit in the van with her and eat yr food.

  3. My family is Guyanese so grew up eating curry & roti (my gran's is the best, but this looks pretty good!). Live nearby and been meaning to check it out. Roti is traditionally "clapped" - as in, taken off the griddle and thrown in the air a few times, caught between your hands to make it flakier. You need asbestos hands to do it though, so I'm guessing the plastic container is a little less painful if making in catering quantities!

  4. Su-Lin - I think you're right, the shaking is to make the roti fluffier, and as Selena below points out, also flakier. The curry was excellent and I think I may need to start investigating more Caribbean roti.

    Marcus - really? The inside of the caravan looks cramped and I'm scared I'd get roped in to help if I went inside. BTW - good luck with the sliders!

    Selena - thanks for the insights into roti. I'd love to know if you think the roti from the caravan is any cop. That said, I reckon your gran's would be better!

  5. I love the Chorizo from that stall. They taste amazing cooked on the BBQ and eaten with some frijoles and rice.

    If you like Colombian food you should check out Las Americas Butchers on Pope's road in Brixton. They usually have a few different kinds of Chorizo and a bakery section selling arepas, empanadas, bunuelos etc all of which are great.

  6. Glad to see you've made your first foray into Colombian food. There is a small Colombian eatery opposite this butchers. The menu del dia is pretty good, especially if you are super hungry.

  7. The roti looks good, I'll have to make my way there. Actualy, am still trying to make my way there to Franco Manca.

  8. LGS/Mzungu - thanks for the tips on Colombian food. I'm looking forward to discovering more about this cuisine.

    Kay - I'll be interested in what you think of the roti, and how it compares to the Malaysian version. Franco Manca - that's so 2009!

  9. I used to buy meat at Carniceria Los Andes when I lived in Dulwich, nice to hear they are still going strong. Will need to check the guyanese van next time I am in the vicinity, good shout.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  10. That sausage looks very good indeed. I am not more keen than ever to try out the Brazilian & South American butcher on Mare St. The spicing looks like it might include turmeric judging by the colour of the juice.

    As Su-Lin says, there are pretty good rotis (and other Indian influenced food) from the Caribbean and north-east coast of South America. I've never been, but have tasted some good 'uns at festivals and in the US.

    At this rate you;re going to have to rename your blog Los Noodles ;)

  11. Luiz - let me know what you think about the van.

    Gworm - could well be turmeric in the mix; next time I go, I'll ask the butcher what herbs and spices he puts in the chorizo.

  12. Luiz - I'd be interested in what you think about the roti.

    Gworm - it could well be turmeric! Next time I visit the the butchers, I'll ask what seasonings they use. that's assuming that they'll tell me.

  13. Hi,

    Guyana Roti has been towed away :-

    Kind regards,