The Roti Man

Like the jingle of the ice-cream man van, kids growing up in Malaysia are also familiar with the Roti Man’s beep. In the days before giant supermarkets and 7-Elevens, the Roti Man served communities. Housewives would buy their roti (or bread) while their kids would eye packets of Twisties or cream buns.

I guess I never really quite noticed how strange the concept is. The Roti Man rides a kapcai filled with a variety of bread, crisps and sweets. Everything is packed in plastic sacks and tied to a steel frame attached to the back of the kapcai. As you can see below, more plastic sacks filled with baked goods are tied to the handlebars.

Not unlike the ice-cream man, when the Roti Man beeps the horn, the ladies and the kids run out of their houses with some small change. They skip back to their houses, armed with all sorts of goodies: raisin bread, buns filled with vanilla or chocolate cream, roti kelapa (sweet dessicated coconut) and fairy cakes, smiling to themselves.


7 thoughts on “The Roti Man

  1. That’s amazing about Twisties being available in Malta! I’d love to visit Malta- not only for the Twisties but that’s a real pulling factor!

  2. wow- that would be great! And I’ll send you one of our Malaysian Twisties once my friend comes back to the UK in a few weeks! I read the article- it’s funny what people miss when they live abroad!

  3. Hello Audrey!

    My name’s Alissa and I’m currently working at KLue magazine.

    I was recently googling around for pictures on the Roti Man and found your pictures on your blog among the many search results.

    If it is all right with you, could I please use your Roti Man pictures for an online article I will be publishing sometime next week? It will be published on our main website (, so you can see it for yourself there.

    And not too worry, I’ll credit you for the pictures, of course. That’s another reason why I’m contacting you instead of stealing your pictures off your blog. ;]

    Thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon! =D


    P.S. If it’s all right with you, could you reply back via my email address attached to this comment? And if possible, along with the pictures too. Thank you! :3

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