Have you ever felt a certain emptiness post a vacation? Particularly when you return and begin unpacking.
It’s only when you start unpacking that you the realise how wonderful your trip was. Those laughs that make you cry, those boarding passes,the dinner bills and those shoes that have carried back a little sand from the beaches you’ve visited. It’s actually the unpacking that creates those special memories that go on to fill your heart with warmth and love.
I recently went through the same motions on returning from a lovely trip to Sri Lanka. It was going to be my first trip with J and I wanted to make this memorable in every way; and may I add, I wasn’t disappointed. Truth be told, I don’t think anyone who travels there would be. The place has something for everyone, If you love the mountains, trudge up to Sigriya and see yourself almost walking in the clouds, or let your soul soak up the spirituality of Kandy; or simply walk around the beaches of Bentota or Galle face and watch as the sun winds up his day and the blue sky goes off to sleep by covering itself in a blanket of dark clouds. I could go on and on but I would rather focus on the best part the food. For the adventures and what you need to do bit, scroll down towards the end. FOr the food, read on.
Ohh and yes, Colombo welcomed us with a pleasant little surprise.
A misty aircarft window? No we were welcome with a water canon salute at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo. This was because flight UL122 had just completed a long 13 years of service and was to retire (in other words, this was the last flight for the aircraft). This picture is from inside the aircraft but for a change I fall short of prose to describe the once in a lifetime experience.
In your trip as you look around, you will see a lot of bakeries. That is because the Sri Lankans love eating small eats through the day. Locals call it short eats. These shorts are either fried or baked and sometimes engulfed in a bread. We did try products from many bakeries in the course of our trip but we particularly grew fond of this place called ‘Perera and sons’; Our driver said it was addressed as ‘P &S’. They had outlets all over the country which ensured we didnt miss them though. I loved the fish rolls from there. Shredded fish and mashed potato which had a lovely spicy masala that thumped your tastebuds. This was one calorific indulgence that we couldn’t have enough off in the entire trip.
Kottu Roti: Sri Lanka’s answer to roti canai. Available everywhere from the upscale starred restaurants to the humble street stalls, it seemed to be a local favorite. Made from a particular type of Sri Lankan roti (i forget the name though), a generous mix of vegetables, and protein (meat or fish of your choice) and huge splash of spice.My suggestion is to have it from the street side stalls; comes with a bit of theater there. You will see your vendor making it on a flat gridle and making a rhythmic sound. That’s the thrill. This one is a prawn kottu roti from Yalla Restaurant on Galle Road.
Sri Lankan Fried Rice: I was actually surprised to see this on the menu and i ordered it more out of curiosity than hunger. But what a refreshing change from the sauce drenched Chinese rice we are served here. Infact, this one was a nice mix of spicy and sour which i guess was from tamarind extract. A bit dry i felt if you opt of the sunny side up but otherwise the runny yolk will take care of it. This one was pork from the restaurant at Hotel Ocean where we stayed.
The Devil: I mean literally. I was told this was a ‘don’t miss’. Now, the dish is named devil because its hot. Stir fried meat or seafood or veggies in tomato base with chillies, chillies and then some more chillies. I personally dont have a high tolerance towards heat but this was washed down with a chilled Lions beer.
Sri Lankan curries and dhal: The Lankans fetish for curries is seen from the variety that is on offer. Luscious, thick and with generous pieces of fish (usually) finished up with coconut milk. My guide told me that the meats were taken in the morning and seafood in the afternoon. Not sure why. Same with the dhal (like our dal) just like the curries, finished off a nice splash of coconut milk. I was not complaining.
Appam/ Hoppers: This one slipped out across the Indian ocean. Feremented Rice flour and coconut milk batter in a crisped up in a sizzling wok.Usually used as cutlery to hold up curries or egg or anything you can imagine. Another version is the string hoppers that are steam. We had one made from white rice and from brown rice. I liked the ones made from brown rice for the nuttier taste it had.
I am told nature has its way of balancing out. Sri Lankan food is spicier and the tropica climate doesn’t help either. Well the way out is to have King Cocomut. THese huge orange globules filled with the swettest water I’ve ever had. J and I happily ditched the colas for these. Please dont miss these
Watalappan: Sri Lankan custard. Coconutty, eggy, caradmomy and all things nice.this lovely custard was the highlight of our trip. But i noticed this were only served in small portions where ever we ate. I checked with our guide but there wasnt any conclusive answer.
That my dear friends is what we ate in Sri Lanka. For the must do’s hop on to this blog post written by dear friend and food blogger Zenia Irani. She’s covered most of the things you need to do and take my word, you will come back and thank her later.