Eating complimentary meals from Washington, D.C. food trucks is a monumental task. In fact, I only have until December 31st to capitalize on the greatest prize I have ever won, which is a pile of 40 pieces of paper, each redeemable for free food. There is something about carrying these coupons around that, well, makes me feel much cooler than other patrons who have to fork over wads of crusty dollar bills or swipe their Visa Platinum Rewards card to get their lunch. Me? I just brandish my stack of cardstock tickets and slam them down on the counter as I demand free food.
It was under this condition that I marched toward the Rolls on Rolls food truck at Franklin Park in downtown D.C., my sails filled with gale-force wind. Knowing that I was entitled to a chicken masala roll, vegetable samosa, and a frothy mango lassi, I nearly realized ultimate enlightenment as I perched under the Bodhi-like awning to place my order.
Typically, when you order Indian food and ask for “spicy,” you receive a warm smile, shallow promise, and a paltry pinch of cayenne basked in politeness so as not to nuke your virgin American palate. At Rolls on Rolls, they do away with the niceties and follow through on the mission to deliver maximum heat.
Having lived in Bangladesh for a lengthy spell, I became very well acquainted with the subcontinental-style roll. Our relationship eventually blossomed into a full-on love affair, leading me to frequent the top peddlers of grilled meat wrapped in freshly-baked naan, or better yet, parota, on a daily basis. The flatbread is baked in a clay oven in the case of naan, or lightly pan-fried with parota, and serves as a tasty vessel to envelop grilled chicken or beef. It’s almost like an Indian burrito. This is why I love them so much.
So when I stumbled up to the Rolls on Rolls truck and saw that they served chicken masala rolls, I knew destiny had once again come full circle.
The chicken masala roll is massive. They asked if I wanted spicy, spicier, or spiciest. As a male, I succumb to every opportunity to mask true weakness with the power of chili pepper and opted for “spiciest.” They did not disappoint. This was the spiciest thing I’ve eaten in the past six months, and that’s a good thing. However, having experienced the zenith of meat rolls in their native setting, I can’t quite elevate the chicken masala roll to the lofty realm of the chicken reshmi kebab or chicken tikka roll. I think it’s probably because the chicken masala is prepared more like a curry instead of being flame-grilled and could easily be poured over rice for a fantastic dish. The flavor, though, is spot-on and it left me wishing for a larger stomach that would enable me to finish off the enormous beast.
Samosa Secret Revealed
My favorite part of this meal was the samosa. Why? Because it was not really a samosa—it was actually the samosa’s tastier cousin, the shingara. Shingaras are infinitely superior to samosas because of their pastry-like casing, which approximates pie crust, and stuffed with an assortment of fillings—usually some garlicky mashed-up potato, lentils, savory spice, and if you’re lucky, some goat, lamb, or beef.
Think of it as an Indian-style pot pie, in ball form, dipped into a boiling vat of vegetable oil resulting in a crisp, flaky morsel of savory goodness. In Rolls on Rolls’ case, they bake their samosas, which are also quite large, and assuage our media-bred conscience as we persuade ourselves that we have a healthy diet, when we actually practice quite the opposite. Oh who cares, just give me another damn shingara, I mean, samosa.
To top the meal off, they included a chilled mango lassi, which not only tasted fabulous, but served as the fire extinguisher for the pungent chili explosion in my mouth.
Twitter Summary in 140 characters or less:
Just carpet bombed my palate with the spiciest Indian roll in USA from @RollsonRolls. Humanitarian aid came in form of samosa, mango lassi.
Rating in a Nutshell
Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5
How can people who spend six hours over a hot grill inside the back of a UPS truck be so nice? Rolls on Rolls are very nice folks and I enjoyed a nice chat with the friendly owner while waiting for the spice-bomb.
Recommended dish: I highly recommend the samosa and mango lassi as a meal in itself. I might just go back and order five samosas, crawl back into my office, lock the door, and scoff down these delectable savories…with my shirt off. Just seems like the normal thing to do. I would also encourage anybody who likes spicy meat wrapped in Indian flatbread (which includes everybody, even vegetarians in denial) to try their chicken masala roll. Non-carnivores will also rejoice at their vegetarian options, which really comprises everything except the chicken roll.
Would I pay to go back? Yes
Website: N/A – they have a Facebook page, but you’ll have to look it up yourself.
If you think I am just some fat slob who loves to eat anything and write positive reviews, wait until next week when I review Tasty Kabob.