Food in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan food. If you dip your finger into a local cooking pot you might be surprised by some strange flavours. Located right in the middle of the big shipping lanes of the ancient world, this spice-rich island has attracted many peoples to its beautiful shores. Sri lankan culinary art reflects the traditions of these various cultures. Most hotels here offer a wide variety of excellent oriental and western cuisine. There are restaurants specialising in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Swiss and German food while some specialise in Sri lankan cooking.
The local breakfast and dinner favourites are hoppers and string hoppers. Hoppers are light and crisp and bowl-shaped, made by swirling a mixture of rice flour and coconut milk in a wok shaped pan. The sides are wafer-crisp and the center is soft, and it's delicious when eaten hot with an egg baked in the center. String hoppers are delicate circles made of squiggles of rice flour paste squeezed through a sieve, steamed till they're light and soft
Rice and Curry
If you're looking for a taste of Sri lanka, you should try rice and curry. Boiled rice and spicy curries are the staple diet of most Sri Lankans. A warning to the uninitiated watch out for those curries HOTis definitely the word for them, and they can be tough on the first timer's palate. Just about anything can be curried. Its a dish of meat, fish or vegetables, cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with chillies, pepper, onions, various spices, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric..... Rice either boiled plain white or spicy and coloured with tumeric is usually served with up to six or seven curries. It may be accompanied by various pickles, chutney, and sambol, A spicy mixture of ground coconut and red chillies
Try the lamprais no, they not the stuffed eels the Greeks drool over, but a Dutch variation of the rice and curry theme. Rice boiled in stock and a selection of dry curries are wrapped in a banana leaf and baked, to enhance the flavour.
If you still have room for dessert after all that, go for a delicious dessert of curd topped with treacle. Or try Watalappam, a rich pudding made with jiggery, fudge from the Kitul palm treacle. If you're battling the bulge, you can still choose from a mouthwatering range of fresh fruits that will really give you a feel of the tropics. Try perennials like papaya, pineapple, several varieties of mango, passion fruit, and over a dozen varieties of bananas. Or go for the unusual pearly white mangosteen in its purple husk. Rambutan, Sapodilla, Soursap, Guava, Beli, Varaka and durian. Tambili (king coconut) dont just ask for fruit juice. Tambili (king coconut juice) drunk straight from the golden fruit, the delicate Kurumba, the crushed pink ice of watermelon juice, passion fruit juice, orange, pineapple, papaya.
Sri Lanka is famous for its tea. Sri Lankans start the day with a cup of bed tea, usually a sweet and milky brew. If you order a pot, it will probably come with warm milk and sugar in separate bowls or jugs to be added as you please. The tea itself may be fresh, even fragrant, or it may be stewed black. There's also the concoction called milk tea in which tea, hot milk and sugar are mixed together before being poured into the cup. This can warm you up in the cool hill country or after a long spell in the sea. Refresh yourself with the best in the world, Ceylon Tea. Sample the fine blends and venture out the various flavours - orange, mint, lemon, lime, strawberry......
Toddy and Arrack
The two traditional Sri lankan drinks that cheer and very easily inebriate, are Arrack and Toddy. Toddy is the fermenting sap of the coconut flower. Arrack is the distilled essence of toddy. VSOA(very special old arrack) ,7 years arrack, and double distilled arrack are served in most hotels, but the best toddy is found at wayside taverns. Getting the tree to produce toddy is a specialised operation performed by people known as toddy tappers. Your typical toddy tapper will have as many as 100 trees in his territory, and his daily routine involves tightroping from the top of one tree to another on shaky ropeways to remove full buckets of toddy, lower them to the ground and replace them with empty buckets. with a soft-drink mixer arrack is very pleasant.