If you say “rolex” in Uganda, you’ll get something far cheaper and more customizable than the famous watch. One egg or two? Tomatoes, onions, cabbage, or plain?
Here, omelettes aren’t necessarily breakfast food. For most of the day and well into the night, you can find a rolex stand and order what is actually “roll eggs.” Street vendors whisk eggs in a little plastic cup along with salt and whatever finely diced vegetables are on hand, usually onions and tomatoes, but sometimes cabbage, too.
Don’t worry, there’s carbs. Once the omelette is cooked on the large, charcoal-heated skillet, it’s slapped onto a fresh East African chapati, a kind of flatbread that’s doughy, oily, and thick. Then the omelette and chapati are rolled up together like a jelly roll that’s almost too hot to eat when it’s handed to you.
Watching the cooking process is part of what makes a rolex special. Before the start of the busy shift, rolex-makers prepare by making as many dough balls as will fit on their working surface, so they’re ready to fry them up in between cooking omelettes. Everything—the vegetables, oil, eggs, dough—is contained within a tiny, movable stand shaded by a colorful umbrella. It’s packed up at the end of the night, which might mean dawn.
Rolex is cheap, filling street food at its best. Fresh ingredients are put together from start to finish while you watch, smell, and listen to the sizzling omelette and enjoy the small talk of the person making it for you.
Need to Know
Rolex stands are positioned where Ugandans congregate, often near a market. If you can find an avocado in the market, ask your rolex maker to chop it up and add it for you. The city of Kampala also hosts an annual rolex festival in August. Check their website for upcoming dates.
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