Welcome back to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you on food and booze crawls in the Boston area. When we go out, we often want to try more than one restaurant or bar at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and dessert there. Eater Boston crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites — so bring a friend. Email us if there’s a particular theme, dish, drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.
If you’ve never been to Dorchester or Roxbury or Mattapan to eat roti, that’s something you should rectify at some point this summer.
Roti — and especially its street food counterpart, wrap roti — originated in the West Indies, specifically in Trinidad. It is a sort of curried stew served with — or swaddled by — flatbread like you’d find on the Indian subcontinent. (There is a long history of Indians in Trinidad.) Pack yours with veggies, beef, chicken, shrimp, goat, or a combination of them all.
Boston is home to a handful of excellent roti shops, including a few spread around Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.
Grab a couple friends, and head to these neighborhoods for the best meal of your summer. Order one roti per shop and split it between the three of you.
- Total stops: 3
- Rotis eaten: 3, shared between 3 friends
- Minds blown: All 3
Ali’s Roti Restaurant
1188 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan, MA 02126
Ali’s Roti Restaurant is serving some of the best Caribbean food in Boston. It’s all about the curry chicken roti. The portions are massive, and the price is right — you can eat an entire meal for about $10. (Note: There’s also a location at 1035 Tremont St. in Roxbury.)
JP Roti Shop
482 Washington St., Dorchester, MA 02124
Go with the shrimp roti at JP Roti Shop. Owner Panka Deo told the Boston Globe a couple years back that people are always asking him if he’ll bring them “one of those Indian burritos. ” He went on to say, “I have to laugh. It makes sense and it doesn’t.” While roti has roots on the subcontinent, it is decidedly Trinidadian. According to the Globe story, Deo’s mastery of the dish was passed down from his mother, who used to make and sell them at a Trinidadian summer carnival in Roxbury.
Singh’s Roti Shop
692 Columbia Rd., Dorchester, MA 02125
Singh’s Roti Shop doesn’t have much space for dining in, so maybe take this one to go and eat it while lounging on the nearby Nonquit Street Green. The veggie roti is a good choice here — and it might be your best bet after gorging on all that meat. Get Singh’s hot sauce, but beware: It’s hot.