The Roti Family Feud

A few months ago, Pappa Roti opened in Riyadh. Followed by Rotiboy. And finally, MammaRoti. (Actually, I’m quite not sure which came first… Pappa Roti or Rotiboy?!) We’d like to think it’s one big happy family because they offer just one thing: roti buns. But it turns out, they’re of different companies. Is there a family feud brewing? Who has the best roti bun? What makes them unique from one another? Which brand is The Pink Tarha’s favorite? Which one is yours?

Let the taste test begin!

Before I give the verdict, let’s define what a roti bun first. A roti bun is simply a ‘coffee bun,’ a round bun with melted butter inside and a crunchy coat of coffee-flavored sugar on top. When you take a bite, a trio of tastes burst in your mouth. Sweet, salty, bitter in one go! The combination of the three creates a perfect harmony once it hits your taste buds and soon enough, you’ll be craving for more. You’re hooked! 

Which is which?!
(From left clockwise: Pappa Roti, Mammaroti, Rotiboy)

The inevitable addiction to roti bun is the reason why roti bun shops are confident of selling just this one product. Imagine going to the shop and ordering just the roti bun. You come for the buns and nothing else. No more perusing the menu for a long list of items. You get confused with the drinks more than the food. Oh well, that’s the magic pull of a roti bun. Riyadh is now addicted.

Rotiboy (“The Breadboy”) was founded by Hiro Tan in Penang, Malaysia in 1998. The Rotiboy in Malaysia is known for its freshly-made cakes and high quality bread. Their Signature Rotiboy Bun, described as crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, brought them the popularity they are enjoying now. Apart from the original roti bun, Rotiboy has introduced Buttermilkboy, a bun with vanilla topping with a special buttermilk filling which is an alternative to those who are not into anything caffeine.

The oldest with the youngest name.

Golden brown with extra crispy edges
Fluffy, fluffy!

Pappa Roti (“The Father of All Buns”) was established in Malaysia in 2003 and has flourished all over the world with branches in Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia, Indonesia… and now, in the Middle East. Their signature bun starts with the creamy bun with a topping of concentric circles which becomes a glazed caramel-coating  after a quick stay in the oven.
Here comes papa.
Dark brown with extra edges
Flaky inside
MammaRoti (“The Bun Emperor”), or MammaBunz in Malaysia, started in 2004. This casual franchise serves authentic coffee-coated buns with a sweet buttery-rich taste named “Mexican bun.” They describe their bun as crispy, soft, rich, and fluffy. And this catapulted them to branches all over Malaysia and franchises all over the Middle East.

The mother which is titled the ’emperor’?! Haha.
Pale brown with a smooth top
Fluffy and flaky.
Now, there’s no need to list down the qualities and taste of each roti bun from each brand. They do taste the almost exactly the same. With just a few, almost unnoticeable, difference.

My favorite!

MammaRoti takes my vote for the best roti bun in Riyadh. Its bun, while not far from PappaRoti’s and Rotiboy’s in taste, has a consistency that I like. Fresh from the oven, the top coating is a little bit crunchy and the butter melts all around the inside lending its slight saltiness to the bun. The coffee flavor is there; almost milky in taste and the sweetness is tempered by a tinge of bitterness. Harmonious delight! Wait for a while and the bun, when bitten, becomes a little bit chewy making it irresistible to take one bite after another until the last morsel drops into an empty paper bag. When left at room temperature (do not refrigerate), the bun retains its flavor and texture; still perfect for a cup of milk tea or simply brewed coffee. 

The first brand I’ve tried is Pappa Roti. And while it smells good from a few meters away (Eyecandy said it smelled like adobo. Haha!), the buns lack flavor. It’s less pronounced and not as tasty. I do love how they set up their cafes though. The aroma from their ovens envelops a part of Panorama Mall that you can’t help but wonder and stay. For Rotiboy, it’s the same crisp coating but the better wasn’t well-rounded. I even like the buttermilk bun better with its melted chocolate chip cookies and sweet vanilla filling. I also like their iced milk tea. It’s sweet and refreshing.
Now tell me, what is your favorite roti bun?
Whatever your choice is among the roti buns in Riyadh, we cannot deny its allure and how in a matter of days, it got the whole city hooked. While the price of SR11 per bun is quite expensive, it’s an indulgence that should be taken lightly. You wouldn’t want to get suya after a while, yes? Sometimes, waiting for another week or so to taste the coffee bun makes the wait worthwhile. You’ll find yourself ordering a bunch of it the next time and you’ll take bite after bite after bite. Don’t forget to share. To me. Haha. ~ Sundrenched
Pappa Roti
Branches: Panorama Mall | Tahlia Street

Food Court, Sahara Mall

Branches: Food Court, Kingdom Mall | Tahlia Street

Bakeshops Desserts Food

About Author


The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.


  1. Avatar Anonymous Reply

    Why are there no new posts? 🙁 I can't live without TPT!

  2. Hello! Sorry, we're on vacation in the Philippines right now. But we'll publish entries once in a while. Thank you for your support! 🙂

  3. Thanks for ur info.i know roti boy (which i taste it first) and then papparoti.never know there is mammaroti although im im un egypt found papparoti makes me seacrh between papa and boy.when i go baxk to msia i will search for mamma

  4. Hello Pink Tarha!<br />Thank you for this awesome post! We are very glad you tried our buns and objectively evaluated it!<br />We are also glad for such an objective comparison.<br /><br />Rotiboy is Malaysian and has been founded in Penang in 1998. So it is the original store that started baking buns worldwide.<br />The reason of our Bun prices are such because of shipment and tarrif fees when

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