Spoiler alert: The Rolex in the title is no luxury brand; it is not even a fake version of the precision Swiss timepiece.
Fred Wakhasa, who works in Kibuli, a suburb of the Ugandan capital Kampala, is one of a handful of specialists in precisely crafting a rolex. Every morning he arrives at his workplace, a makeshift stall on Kibazo Lane, ready for the grueling 8 – 12 hours of demanding work that lies ahead. He flexes his fingers and begins to arrange his trade tools tidily on a tray in front of him — a basket of eggs, rows of neatly lined balls of wheat dough, a cup of cooking oil, shredded cabbage, tomatoes and salt. He sets a flat pan on the stove, strikes a match and is ready for day’s business — preparing rolex, a popular Ugandan roadside snack.
Fred rolls out a ball of dough into a thin sheet and places it on the hot pan. While flipping the pastry several times to ensure it is cooking evenly, he deftly breaks two eggs into a cup, adds the onions and salt, and whisks the mixture. Once the pastry is ready, he removes it from the pan and transfers the egg mixture onto the hot pan. When the eggs are nearly set, he places the pastry on top of the eggs for a few seconds and then flips the egg-layered pastry. Shredded raw cabbage, tomatoes and a sprinkling of salt go on top, and then it is rolled and served to the eagerly waiting patrons.
Essentially a thinly rolled pastry stuffed with fried eggs, cabbage, tomatoes and onions, the ‘rolled eggs were initially available only as street-side snack. However, their growing popularity in recent years has meant that rolex is now a featured item on the breakfast menus of many high-end restaurants. Last year, the Ministry of Tourism adopted the rolex as a unique Ugandan dish.
Like a sandwich, a rolex can be had for breakfast, lunch and super, on the street or at home or in a restaurant. Its growing popularity and ease of cooking has meant that other ingredients have been added to the stuffing, including mince-meat, mushrooms and sausages.
Sold for less than half-dollar or in some pricier places for nearly three dollars, the rolex is enjoyed by many tourists who visit the country, and its reputation has also spread to neighboring Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Next time you are in Uganda, remember to try a rolex; you will not how time flies but you sure will enjoy this rolex.