Date Traveled, February 2013
I had no idea what a Mexican Coffee Bun was at that time but two adjacent shops in Hanoi's old quarter advertising "Papparoti" and "Roti Mexico" with deliciously inviting aromas certainly aroused my curiosity. Turns out they are neither Mexican nor Vietnamese.
Mexican coffee buns I later found out were first made in Malaysia by "Rotiboy" and has become a craze on Asia with expansions and inspired variations (or imitators if you want to call it that) spreading all over, the biggest of which is the rival franchise "Paparoti". As far as I can tell, Mexico has nothing to do with it.
What it is, is a deliciously baked heavenly soft buttery bun with a crispy coffee flavored layer on the top which just melts in your mouth...so good!
"Roti Mexico", mexican coffee bun branded by Anh Tu
Anh Tu Bakery on 54 Luong Van Can street near the hoan kiem lake
Waiting patiently for steaming hot chocolate buns
Easy to tell why it has become so popular, just interesting I encountered this delight in Vietnam of all places despite having gone to Singapore a few times. Like another lesson I learned when I traveled to Hong Kong a week after I left Vietnam...do keep your eyes open for food of all kinds and cuisines where ever you maybe. Both my partner and I became addicted to the bun which we first tried at Anh Tu bakery on 54 Luong Van Can street near the north western end of Hoan Kiem lake. They were advertising the buns as Roti Mexico and had three flavors, a plain one, the coffee flavored traditional one and a chocolate bun which was baking in the oven when we went it. Chocolate and the prospect of a freshly baked hot bun had us almost salivating and we told the proprietor that we would wait for it to be done.
We tried the next door Papparoti the next morning...could not compare to Anh Tu's version. It may not have been the original without a strong coffee flavoring in the crispy crust but with a more chocolate flavoring and filling...but it was delightful! We were full as it is and we split three between us that night and another each the next morning before we had to fly out of Hanoi. I would like to taste the Rotiboy original as well someday. Anh Tu also was supposed to have good Banh My but we didn't get a chance to try that, so would like to taste that as well.