Nur Jannatun Naim: Cheesy spin on beef roti john with homemade chilli at Bedok

Despite our vibrant and eclectic dining scene, Singapore usually misses out on ‘claiming’ dishes as its own. One of the rare exceptions is roti john, the simple omelette sandwich of the masses that was created right here sometime in the 1960s. It’s been half-reinvented by Nur Jannatun Naim at Bedok North 511 Market & Food Centre. The twist? A huge infusion of cheese and generous helpings of homemade chilli sauce.

roti john - collage of storefront and dish

I am hardly the biggest fan of hawker food but with this food centre so close to home and the buzz that I had heard, it was difficult to find a reason not to go. I am so glad I did.

What I tried at Nur Jannatun Naim

roti john - table of dishes

Nur Jannatun may be most famous for roti john but it also serves Western food and Sabsuka (also known as Shakshouka). I made space in my tummy for all but started with the pièce de resistance, Roti John with cheese (S$5.00). You have the option of egg, chicken or beef for filling.

roti john - cook in the kitchen preparing

The preparation is really interesting and if kitchen skills intrigue you, step up to the large, flat frying pan and watch the action unfold.

roti john - speading filling on bread

The cook takes pre-prepared minced meat and onions and fries up a storm. The fragrance and loud sizzle are a treat for the senses, whipping up your appetite as you wait. Then, in goes the beaten egg, which brightens to dazzling white and sunny yellow accompanied by the clang and scrape of the spatula on the pan.

roti john - cooking the bread on pan

With swift, skilful flourishes, the slice of French loaf is pressed into the mixture of meat, onions and eggs. The oil, gooey melted cheese and egg serve to seal the combination of ingredients into the bread, which is then slid off the pan right onto your plate.

roti john - inside filling of beef roti john

My roti john arrived at the table piping hot and exuding the most wonderful of flavourful aromas. At Nur Jannatun Naim, you don’t get the standard off-the-shelf chilli sauce, but a dollop of their own homemade chilli that is made fresh every day.

roti john - chilli on roti john

Being a bit of a chilli wuss, I was a bit apprehensive about the striking brown-red sauce that my colleague, Gillian was squirting liberally over her roti john. Fortunately, its visual bark was more terrifying than its bite on my taste buds. I found it closer to the sweet chilli sauce served with spring rolls than anything else.

roti john - cheesy beef roti john closeup

The bread was perfectly done, still fluffy on the inside where the meat and melted cheese partied with the sliced onions, but crispy enough on the outside for an audible crunch with every bite. This is definitely a hands-on dish, my friends— I loved pulling and peeling away at the bread to discover little nooks and crannies where the food was trying to save itself from my chomping teeth. They did not survive.

roti john - plate of sabsuka

There was no denying that the trip had already been worth it for the roti john. Since we were there, though, we decided to also try the Sabsuka (S$5.50). I have not had the chance to try many African dishes in Singapore but sabsuka is one that I order whenever it’s available.

roti john - scooping up sabsuka with slice of bread

In the original version as well as most variations, the main ingredient is egg. However, the Nur Jannatun version is stuffed full of beef instead. The entire dish was way more spicy and tangy than what I have come to expect of sabsuka and I needed the remnants of my roti john to help keep the fires out.

Gillian, on the other hand, has a far greater threshold for pain and relished every last bit of her plate.

Nur Jannatun has a host of Western dishes on the menu as well, but we did not try them as they were the run of the mill basics. That part of their menu is also a bit more pricey with Fish & Chips (S$8.00) and Spring Chicken (S$9.00).

Final thoughts

Nur Jannatun Naim specialises in one dish, roti john and if you make the trip here, that’s what you want to try. Their cheesy take on our local Singapore invention is already winning fans and the odds are that there will soon be a heap of other hawker stalls who copy their formula and add their own twist.

In the meantime, you know where to go when you need a cheesy roti john fix!

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Price: $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

Nur Jannatun Naim

511 Bedok North Street 3, Bedok North 511 Market, #01-12, Singapore 460511

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

Nur Jannatun Naim

511 Bedok North Street 3, Bedok North 511 Market, #01-12, Singapore 460511

Operating Hours: 10am - 8pm (Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri), 11am - 8pm (Wed, Sat, Sun)

Operating Hours: 10am - 8pm (Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri), 11am - 8pm (Wed, Sat, Sun)

Have an interesting hawker story or good food to share? Email us at [email protected]

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