I’ve just returned from a very intense week of travel around Sri Lanka. I heard inspiring and heartbreaking stories from torture survivors, displaced people, victims of military harassment, and targets of ethnic hatred. I also had the privilege to meet the human rights activists who courageously tackle these issues in the face of regular intimidation.
At the same time, the trip gave me the opportunity to take in beautiful landscapes, amazing home cooked meals, gorgeous untouched beaches, and incredibly elaborate Hindu Temples.
While I work on processing the immensity of last week, I’ll leave you with something lighter: a sampling of Sri Lankan cuisine.
Breakfast includes a selection of fruits: plantains, papaya, mango (sprinkled with chili powder), wood apple, pineapple, jackfruit, coconut, and the list goes on…
Sri Lankans will also eat bowl-shaped crepe-like hoppers, string hoppers (vermicelli patties), or pittu (wheat flower mixed with coconut) with dal, curry, or sambol, a delicious mix of coconut, chili pepper, and onion. I’ve also had roti, bread with jam and butter, and seven-dollar boxes of mango-flavored Corn Flakes for breakfast.
all-stars making hoppers and roti:
Snacks and Tea
At about 10:30 teatime rolls around. “Short eats,” samosas, fried potato with curry, or roti, might accompany tea. For people who want to take in high levels of sugar and milk minus the tea, a mango-flavored milk-box does the trick.
Rice and curry constitutes the staple dish of any Sri Lankan’s diet (a possibility for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!). At lunch I usually get 70 cent prepared packet of vegetable, chicken, or fish rice and curry. Lunch might be served in a styrofoam box, in six plastic bags, or in a banana leaf. While slight differences exist between ethnic groups- Singhalese eat red rice and Dutch Burghers add sugar to the mix- the basic lunch parcel will always contain a hunk of rice and several sauces, curries, and vegetables Once I open my parcel, I dig in with my finger-tips and combine the curry, vegetables, chili pepper, and sauces. Then I’ll grab handfuls of rice and curry, bags of sauces, and fried chip-like papadums to pass between friends.
In addition to rice and curry, Colombo offers sushi, Indian food, Thai food, and great veggie burgers (for a price). Sometimes I’ll stop for Kottu, a stir-fry of rotti with egg, fish, or chicken. I usually hear the sharp clanging of blades slicing the rotis before I know exactly where I’ll get it.
Then of course there are those times when Pizza Hut is so necessary.
This week on the road was fascinating, exhausting, and overwhelming. Through it all, I always managed to sit down with my team to share our ideas, a good laugh, and a delicious meal.
Posted By Kerry McBroom
Posted Aug 16th, 2010