Rotiboy first started off in Penang, Malaysia in 1998, and subsequently expanded to other parts of the world (Indonesia, South Korea, China and Saudi Arabia), including Singapore in 2004.
But shortly, the brand closed all their existing outlets here in 2006, and only made a comeback 15 year later, at basement 1 of KINEX.
Despite their short stint in Singapore back then, my memories of Rotiboy was the nostalgic aroma when I first stepped into JB Sentral, a popular and convenient weekend overseas trip for Singaporeans just across the causeway.
Oh boy, there is the familiar scent of the fresh-from-the-oven buttery bakes from Rotiboy that I recalled.
Memories of me and my friends bagging them on our way back to Singapore and failing to resist the temptation of gobbling down a few while queueing for public transport at the checkpoints.
With Rotiboy’s comeback amidst Covid-19, the management has put in place an online pre-order system on their official website and customers will be allowed to pre-order one day in advance.
The last time I checked their website, the earliest date available is in 5 days’ time.
Even though Rotiboy does not accept walk-in customers at the moment, do not be surprised to see a queue outside the shop.
Unfortunately, that is not the queue to cross the JB-Singapore checkpoint, but for collecting pre-orders made online.
So, what is Rotiboy?
Rotiboy is also known as a Mexican Coffee Bun due to a fluffy bread dough used as the base and a coffee infused buttery cookie crust on top.
This reminded me of a Hong Kong Bolo Bao or even a Japanese Melonpan, with an egg wash coating in the former and sugar dusted in the crust for the latter.
Four different flavours are available, namely their Original Rotiboy (1 for $2.50, 5 for $11.50), Mochaboy (1 for $3, 4 for $11), Cheeseboy (1 for $3, 4 for $11) and Buttermilkboy (1 for $3, 4 for $11).
For the undecided, customers can also choose the Special 4 for $11 and get to choose any 4 flavours.
After waiting in queue for 40 minutes for collection, the buns are served warm and best to consume it immediately.
Alternatively, there are instructions stated to heat up the buns in a pre-heated oven at 150 degree Celsius for 5 minutes before eating.
My favourite was the Mochaboy (1 for $3, 4 for $11) with a molten layer of chocolate in between, which further enhanced the coffee flavoured cookie crust on top.
I appreciated the Original Rotiboy (1 for $2.50, 5 for $11.50) that is served without any fillings in it, simple yet flavourful, enveloped by soft, airy and fluffy bread with a slight textural contrast in the crispy coffee-infused cookie crust on top.
The Buttermilkboy (1 for $3, 4 for $11) has a familiar taste that we grew up with, the usual local toast slathered with sugar and salted butter, with additional chocolate bits in the cookie crust.
The Cheeseboy (1 for $3, 4 for $11) has a more savoury touch to it, filled with cream cheese fillings that is not overwhelming.
So near yet so far, the memories of the crowded checkpoints and getting our passport stamped at the customs are fading away when the international borders had closed for more than a year due to Covid-19.
Till then, the Rotiboy outlet here will satisfy our cravings.
Kinex, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, #B1-29, Singapore 437157
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.