The Rolex or ‘rolla’ is basically what one would best describe as the Ugandan version of a hotdog; a chapatti rolled with one or two eggs (depending on the consumer’s preference) topped with vegetables and probably some sauce of the customer’s choice.
No one can really tell when the rolex first made its debut on the Uganda market; however whenever it did, it did leave a mark and today still maintains its presence in the midst of Kampala’s ever evolving competitive culinary platform. One is even tempted to say that the rolex is a close second to so many acclaimed cuisines in Uganda, not to forget the stable foods that represent Uganda and its global diversity.
It has been said that the delicacy that is the rolex was the brain child of the Basoga in Uganda. However, it is important to note that one of the major elements that make up the rolex is the chapatti, a culinary concoction and ‘patent’ with roots in Asia, particularly among the Indians and Arabs.
So, in effect one can opine that the introduction of the chapatti by the Ugandans of Indian descent in the years before the tyranny of Idi Amin reigned supreme, paved way for the fusion of Indian and Ugandan cuisine and marked the arrival of what today we call the rolex.
Little did people know then that this new hybrid and proof of Uganda’s ingenuity would not only win over the hearts and bellies of so many young adults at Ugandan universities but also travel far and beyond, later becoming one of ‘CNN’s favored African fast foods’.
The rolex has become a household name dwarfing so many foods along the way and at this point should be put on the requirements list for nationality clarification. In other words if you have never had a rolex, it would be wise to reconsider your priorities as a patriot and if foreign then a new bucketlist is in order with tasting a rolex amongst the top five.
Ironically, this renowned delicacy isn’t often found in some of Uganda’s finest restaurants, however with its ascending magnetism it has and still is slowly but surely appearing on so many of Ugandan’s restaurant menus.
Foreigners visiting Uganda also haven’t left without having partaken of the rolex; only then can they claim to have fully enjoyed the Ugandan experience.
Undisputably then, on the return voyage they (tourists) are known to carry a satchel containing a number of souvenirs namely: art-crafts from the national theatre, a bottle or two of Uganda’s finest liquor, Uganda Waragi, and a recipe for the Ugandan rolex among other things.
Though not yet deemed a meal of five star rating; indeed it is more or less a street-food, the rolex still manages to attract customers from all walks of life.
From the ordinary man walking home from work and in need of a quick reprieve from his hunger, to the drunken youth on their way home from a night of bingeing and the occasional German car that parks by the road side waiting for their rolex to be prepared.
One can’t help but wonder how the rolex has managed to maintain its market in such a competitive country especially one that is blessed with so many delicious and attractive meals that could easily substitute the rolex at one serving.
For starters the rolex isn’t only highly sought after for its savory and appetizing taste but also its affordable prices that range from 2500/- to 3000/- depending on what the customer would like. Another factor favoring the rolex would be its availability; today in Uganda one can not walk a few steps without coming across a rolex stand, thus making it easily accessible and convenient for so many Ugandans.
“It’s very tasty and the good thing about the rolex is it is satisfying just like a normal meal,” says 47-year old Robert Kizza.
When asked why they would opt for a rolex over a normal meal, many individuals said the delicacy is easy to prepare, making it a very suitable meal for many people with busy work schedules, which explains the big number of customers that crowd the rolex stands especially during rush hours.
“I think people like them because they are quick and easy to make. Simplest fast food around and they are very satisfying and easy to make,” says a youthful man found at one of the rolex stands.
Sarah Kansiime 23, a mother of one and employee says: “I am basically their biggest omelette fan. I like anything with omelette…I even have my own recipe.”
Indeed, like many other Ugandans Kansiime can’t help but point out the convenience of having a rolex at hand. Given its rise and growing recognition one can only agree that the rolex has indeed proven itself handy and we hope to see it cross more boundaries in the near future, breaking any stereotypes and myths that circulated about the African dish.
Until then, have a rolex.