When we visit Sri Lanka we choose local restaurants to discover unknown flavors. What do Sri Lankan people eat? Do they drink? What bout their shopping habits?
What about that exquisite cuisine? Now, this is a tricky question because food in Sri Lanka is delicious only very spicy too. So when you say “not hot” before you order, you will get an acceptable hot meal. It is important for someone living there for a month to adapt better to local nutrition manners.
- They have a lot of street-food stands where you can discover the delights of fried garlic (hot), chips (hot) made of tapioca and rarely potatoes, boiled chick-pea etc.
- In almost every store you can find a glass case with some breakfast type of pastry – coconut pancakes, vegetable or egg or meat roti (looks like a samosa) and it is always spicy. So when you order breakfast, and they serve you tea – it is the English way with milk and surprise! It smells the cow. The milk is real and not treated with a bunch of chemicals to suppress the smell of the animal that gave it. Remember? Just like in our childhood.
- If you pass by a fast-food restaurant, you get something special! The only country in the world that serves you your “dünner-kebab” already chewed – the “kottu roti” is a super tasty dish made by frying chopped flatbread and vegetables with spices. It sounds horrible and it looks weird, but this is the reason you can be assured it is super delicious. It can be only vegetables – plus egg – plus meat, so the main ingredients of good kebab. Only while preparing it they are cutting the bread into small pieces mixed with other ingredients while being fried. Watching the preparation is a show on its own and a very loud concert. It’s worded.
- When you get to the restaurant, there are some exceptional meals to taste: the rice and curry and fried rice are a must, also if you are into seafood – the “deviled calamari” is delectable and hot or any fish. It is an island in a different sea than the ones we know in Europe, you can guess there are some fish you have never heard of that will impress you with their taste. Oh! And also soup, pumpkin soup is appetizing everywhere, you will appreciate it.
- Aside what’s cooked, they have so many fruits! Those that we know in Europe are indeed more luscious… Starting with the biggest fruit on Earth – “Jackfruit” (and has nothing to do with Jack Daniels, except that can help easily to remember the name), mango in all colors, bananas in all sizes, papaya, melons, pineapples, all the citruses … and the king of all the Coconut! Every time you see a stand near the road that sells fruits, you should stop, because there is a big chance to discover a variety of fruits and flavors unknown to you until then.
FAST NOTE about the drinks in Sri Lanka
Concentrate on the coconuts if you like fresh juice, this is the best. And traditional beverage like the “Ginger beer” which has no alcohol in contradiction with it’s name.
Alcoholic drinks are expensive and not available in normal stores. You need to go to the “Alcohol shop” for a beer or any stronger beverage. The “Arrack” would be the local brandy made of coconut. Also, rum is commonly used for cocktails, still expensive like all the rest. Sri Lanka is not a drinking nation, because they are very religious and most religions disapprove of alcohol consumption especially in big quantities. So here is an easy selection between consumers. The Government makes you pay more either to disengage you from drinking, either to collect from tourists bigger prices to remind them of their home countries. It is a win-win for the local economy.
FUN NOTE about local customs
When you go shopping for whatever type of shopping: glossaries or souvenirs or cloths? You should always remove your shoes before you enter the store!
Usually, there is a sign on the door before you enter, but even if there isn’t or you may not notice it because of all the flip-flops scattered outside. It is as fun as it is unusual because you are in a foreign country and you do not know if you can trust the place to leave your shoes unattended? But you should and you will and with faith and relief you will discover them back outside when you finish your shopping no matter how much time you spent inside that shop. It is extraordinary filling to be safe and home when being so far into the unknown.
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