Mouth watering dishes and beverages - Vow!
A Sinhala family was entertaining a few foreign friends in their home few months back. I felt, that they were really living in high spirit by enjoying the great hospitality and enthusiastic over the smiles on every lip of people living in the vicinity.
Therefore, I stopped my bike and asked one of the foreign ladies who was amused by her looks, by the well maintained little garden, and searching a flower to tuck on her head “ I simply asked “what do you think of Sri Lanka” she without even looking at me, trying to pick a well petalled out flower said “quite interesting, only gents are seated in the hall, they entertain guests, we are being well provided, and the wives of them are mostly in the kitchen” further she added “ Oh Sri Lankan kitchen is a quite an uncomfortable place, plenty of smoke, they take lot of trouble in cooking, chopping fire wood, light hearth, grinding mixtures by hand, pounding, roasting and tempering, but the food is quite tasty” by saying like that she smiled. She again said “Today morning we ate a big fruit boiled called “dell” with “Seeni Sambol” very enticing, after that a nice cup of plain tea, vow, it was wonderful”
Yes, Sri Lankans are really large hearted. From a five star hotel to a muddy thatched houses, they are great entertainers by their origin.
She boasts of a unique and exciting, cuisine. The distinctiveness of the island’s cuisine comes from the freshness of its herbs and spices. Coconut milk adds flavour to major part of cooking, which gives a creamy taste. The cooking style of curries differs from Jaffna up to South. Yet the curries are tasty. Mostly, the fresh vegetables, leaves, and fruits are cooked and mixed with boiled rice to eat.
Sri Lanka is a country to be proud of it’s everything. Right round the sea, all kinds of fish different tastes, from the small sprat to a big tuna. In Sri Lanka, they never eat raw fish, it is cooked boiled, spiced well and on to the table, so, there is no alarm of having an indigestion.
Every month, she bears different kinds of fruits, January to April – plenty of fruits, cashew, mangoes, the most fruity season in Sri Lanka, then August September, October, Mangosteen,(you place the fruit in between the palms press the peal, then a white colour fleshy middle inside pops out) you eat it. “Rambuttan” (be careful of the peal, do not put into the mouth to peal off ,by the finger nail you peal it off and you find a white shiny fleshy middle inside) you eat it. Then pineapples, every month you find.
In the North the Palmyra tree reigns, its roots, flowers, fruits seeds produce dishes. In the South jackfruit is very popular. Ripe jack fruit is quite a tasty fruit, sprinkled with a little pepper and salt one can eat a bowl full. The boiled jackfruits with, scraped coconuts is a full meal.
Rice is the staple food of Sri Lanka, you can eat as plain, spiced, or even with curd. Normally rice is eaten with cooked curries.
Apart rice, for breakfast, Sri Lankans serve hoppers, of course a foreigner could enjoy applying a little butter on the hopper fold it and eat it with a plantain. Sri Lankans eat with “Lunumiris” that is of course quite smarting to a tongue of a foreigner. Yet you try you may enjoy. You can eat it in egg hopper form, (while baking the hopper, the cook places an egg in the middle) . This is quite tasty when it is baked.
Then string hoppers, round shaped, size of a palm made out of flour in string form boiled, may enjoy with “Pol Sambol” (scraped coconut added a little of powdered chilies, onions, lime and salt) definitely hotels would serve you with less chilies where Sri Lankan enjoy it with more chilies.
“Thosa” and “Vadai” you find in North – Jaffna , those are also similar to hoppers., but hoppers have its crispiness where “Thosa” and “VadaIi” are harder. In the mornings you are served at a breakfast table “Kola Kenda” that is raw leaves, liquidized and boiled in coconut milk, quite a delicious drink whilst munching a piece of juggary. It is nutritious.
The particular lady said “ in our countries it is only we open a can, just heat up and eat” We do not exert ourselves, the episode which is happening in a Sri Lankan kitchen…!”
Dear reader, our country is enriched with nutritious herbals and all most all grown creepers, leaves are edible. We do use all medicinal value pieces into our curries, turmeric, cinnamon cardamom, coriander, rampe (pandanus leaves) curry leaves, mustard tamarind. That is why, no dangerous disease emanate from Sri Lanka, it is always, we contact from out side world; We are a well protected nation, right round sea breeze, what we gulp down are mostly entangled with medicine. So, germs do not activate in our body, except a very dangerous flue which comes through inhaling.
Eating a snack from the road side, has no nutritional value, but eating our rice with curries will keep a person away from indigestions and maintains a persons good health. To be frank with what is grown in every inch of land whatever the greenery, is a food to be cooked and served, except a few poisonous plants which our Sri Lankans have studied by birth.
Fish and seafood
Excellent fish and prawns are the ear-marked delicacy for foreigners along with crabs and lobsters. Seer and tuna type fish is a favorite as an “Ambulthiyal” “well spiced fish” brown coloured dish.(sour fish curry with chilies)
Is served just boiled, fried rice (In Chinese form),Lamprais boiled in chicken soup and red rice is good for diabetic patients.
Desserts & Sweets,
Sri Lankans do have a sweet tooth, “Wattalappan” is the best. Only made in Sri Lanka (stir hard the coconut milk with juggery), puddings using coconut milk, you will not taste any where in the world, then curd and treacle, a tasty dessert. These are the bests of Sri Lankans, apart in star class hotels they serve all most all varieties of Western puddings.
Sri Lanka is a fruity country as a whole. Passion fruit, avocados, mangoes, water melons guavas , pineapples, red, yellow, green bananas, papayas, wood apple when it is fully ripe (dark brown colour) sprinkle sugar on the broken two shells can eat even three to four fruits. “Rambuttan” and “Magosteen” are a very rare fruit and jack fruit.
“Duriyan” is another fruit which emanates an unbearable fruity smell. But inside the thick coat you find the middle, fleshy piece which is quite tasty. This fruit is not that famous among Sri Lankans but, people who have tasted it, they buy it, others who have never tried it will never like it due to the smell. But, there is a heavy market for the fruit. It keeps the body cool and good for the blood stream.
As Sri Lanka is a heaty country one must carry a bottle of water. Sri Lankan water pulled from a well, it is believed you don’t find germs or polluted water in well water, like wise in up country direct from water falls, you do not find germs in clear water. But must not drink from flowing water from Brookes and streams.
All the fruits mentioned above, could be liquidized and drunk with sugar or without, with ice cubes. Specially wood apples, is a tastiest drink, liquidized and boiled in coconut milk with sugar and salt, it’s a delicious drink.
Dear visitor in Sri Lanka be sure that the drink is made out of bottled water. Do not try to stop your vehicle and drink from any small shop which display “cool drinks” . Those are made of tap water so be sure, of the place. Request your tour guide to stop at a classy hotel or a restaurant.
Simply it is water. You may buy from super markets, See to the expiry date before opening the bottle and search for the SLSI mark. Tea is the famous drink, normally foreigners like to drink it just with out adding sugar, Sri Lankans add more sugar. Coffee is served after a heavy meal. Lime juice is excellent. You can sip it whilst you are having the meal. Also the elephant house Soda or ginger beer which tallies your meal. Another drink is faluda. This is quite an enjoyable drink by mid day say 11.00 a.m. there is faluda syrup, milk and cut pieces of jelly served ice cool.
Most refreshing is “Thambili” (king coconut) of course Sri Lankans can drink it without a straw but foreigners are served with straws. There was a time when Sri Lankan hospitals did not have adequate saline , doctors used king coconuts!.
Locally manufactured (Lion Lager, Carlsberg and Three Coins) are available in any hotels along with foreign alcoholic drinks, viz. whisky, gin, brandy, but
Sri Lankan products are much cheaper. The local wines are syrupy sweet.
Other local alcoholic beverages include toddy, . There are different types of toddy, toddy made out of coconut flower, you find in Colombo suburbs, then toddy made out of “Kithul” flower, mostly found in up country quite sweet and toddy made out of “ Thal” flower, that is from North Jaffna. All these varieties contain plenty of Vitamins. As I say Sri Lanka is a blessed country, even the alcohol contain vitamins which country what alcohol drink you find vitamins? Fermented toddy becomes arrack. In Sri Lanka, alcohol is not served on “Poya” Days, Christmas Day and “Vesak” Season as a mark of respect.
So dear reader by the above, you may have fathomed by now that Sri Lanka is a country blessed with all kinds of everything. Some may wander, is it the Garden of Eden, while whispering the song:
Sri Lanka is an Island so rare
The beauty of its’ nature care
Wonderful island we all blare
May all Gods bless her with loving care