You've heard of Sindbad's journeys? Well, the old Arabian stories say that Sindbad the sailor visited "Serendib" or "Serendip". Heard about the island which the ancient Greeks used to call Taprobane? You've seen this island in Ptolemy's map?
I'm going to take you to that island, the island where I live, today our land is called as Sri Lanka. The ancients from Arab, Greece, China came here to trade. Our country had sold them pearls, gems, spices, ivory and elephants. The Indians and Maldivians are our neighbors. We were captured by Portuguese, Dutch and the British, and until 4th of February 1948 we were under the rule of Britain. Today, our main exportation has become tea; any tea expert would not hesitate at the word "Ceylon tea". Most people know us by the name "Ceylon".
So, that was a short introduction about SL, let's jump to the cuisine!
Like most Asian countries, our staple food is rice. The rice we eat is not the sticky one you find in China and Japan. The rice can be in two colours white or brown, the brown rice is rich in nutritions such as Vitamin B. The cooked rice is served with different other dishes, it can be a curry with chicken/fish/beef/pork/mutton or other curries made up of lentils and vegetables.
When you add turmeric powder to rice when cooking, you get yellow rice. It can be spiced with cinnamon, cloves and other spices. In the picture below you can find yellow rice with roasted cashew on it.
A "sambal" is a raw dish made from a vegetable or coconut. One of the most common type of sambal is the coconut sambal, which is made by scraped coconuts, onion, chili powder, salt, lime juice and sometimes tomato or Maldivian fish is added too. You don't eat it as a separate dish, it is served with rice, bread or hoppers (which we'll discuss later). (Shown below is a coconut sambal decorated with curry leaves on top of it)
The word Kiribath means "milk rice" (milk kiri, rice bath). Kiribath is sticky and is cooked by adding coconut milk to rice until it becomes like a porridge. Kiribath is served in the new year's day, Buddhist religious festivals or any other special occasion. It is served with a relish called "lunu miris" which is made from chilies and onions. After cooking kiribath it is cut into square shaped pieces which you can pick. The picture shows kiribath served in the traditional way on a banana leaf. The relish you find red is lunu miris.
Serving on a banana leaf comes from the ancient days where farmers and other working people took their meals on such leaves instead of plates.
It is based on a batter which is usually made of rice flour and coconut milk. Usually served with lunu miris. You find different types of hoppers, pani aappa is a type of hoppers which is made with treacle and tastes sweet. Look, what you find in the picture is hoppers. The one you find with a egg on it is called as bitthara aappa.
I told you earlier that we were once under the Dutch. The word Lamprais has the Dutch translation "a packet of food". It consists of boiled eggs which are later fried in oil, eggplant, frikkadels (Dutch-style beef balls), mixed meats, sambal and soya for vegetarians. Infused with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and rice the mix is then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in the oven at a low temperature for several hours. It gives a different kind of a taste.
It is a type of flat bread made with wheat flour and shredded coconut. Sometimes shredded chilies, carrot and curry leaves is been added. I like them with chicken curry!
Idi aappa (String hoppers)
String hoppers or idi aappa are made from a hot water dough of rice meal or wheat flour. The dough is pressed out in circlets from a string mold onto small wicker mats, and then steamed. Served with curry or coconut sambal. They're soft and looks like circular nets.
If you come to Sri Lanka and hear rhythmical clanking in a street, don't forget to find where it comes from, or else you'll miss Sri Lankan street food. Kottu is a stir-fry with shredded soft roti which originated as a simple way of dealing with leftovers. You must try it with spicy gravy. You can find different types of kottu such as chicken kottu, beef kottu, cheese kottu, fish kottu, egg kottu or vegetable kottu. You find them in the evening, not in the mornings or noon.
Short-eats are very popular here, since you can have them quickly and costs a very less amount.
A very common type of short eats, which includes mashed potatoes, minced meat/ fish (usually salmon) or eggs, carrots and other vegetables. Rolled in a thin dough with a biscuit powder covering they're then fried. These are commonly known as Chinese rolls, maybe they derived from the Chinese. They come in different shapes, the most common shape is the cylinder while others are triangular or square shaped.
The same thing in the round form.
A plate with cutlets, rolls, drumsticks, fried sausages and pineapple pieces.
A type of food which came from India. There are different types of vade such as parippu vade(made of dhal), ulundu vade(made of udu flour), isso vade(with shrimps) etc.
Shown below are vade made with shrimps. Once you bite them you'll hear "CRUNCH!"
They are filled with meat and vegetables with a soft covering made of flour.
In the picture below you can see some sweets. The colourful little biscuits you find are called "gem biscuits" you get colourful cream on them. The brown balls are made from sesame and are good for tea time. The yellow pieces are called "Puldosai", they're very sweet in taste and contain sugar on the surrounding and the inside is a bit sticky. The other colourful balls are a type of candy. The rectangular biscuit like sweets is made with nuts, cashew and honey.
Wood apple juice
Scraping out the wood apple from it's inside, the juice is made. It will taste a lot better if you cool it. It has a lot of fibers and is very nutritional.
As you see in the above picture, all foreigners who come here never forget to have king coconut water. As you see, the shop keeper will slice and cut the top and will provide you with a straw.
And, yeah for those who prefers to have a sip, don't worry we've got bars everywhere and all bars will have the Sri Lankan Arrack. I've never tasted so sorry I don't know what it tastes like.
There's one thing you must remember if you visit our country. To be honest like most Asian countries we've got some places where they sell bad food. You must always watch where you're buying food, especially when you buy street food.
There's a lot to talk about when you come to the topic "Food & Beverage" or "Cuisine". Since the picture limit in the myTakes are limited I cannot show any more pictures. Sweets and other things were missed. So if you're interested tell me, I will write more on the topic. Share your thoughts in the comments below.