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Yes @KennethT, there’s many different types of roti. Some in Sri Lanka have an egg, green onion and chilli in the dough, others are flaky with layers of ghee - they’re my favourite. I made some at home on the weekend, rice flour, desiccated coconut, salt and water were the only ingredients. They turned out okay, but the dough was a bit too wet and therefore difficult to handle.

Practise needed !

 

On to Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka, placed amongst towering mountains with pretty lakes and large trees providing a green backdrop. Our accommodation is at a homestay high in the hills where we enjoyed magnificent views over lush slopes and a very good rice and curry dinner. Here’s chicken curry (hiding under slices of fresh tomato),  potato curry, pappads, rice, stir fried kancun (water spinach), green beans curry, snake gourd curry and dal. 

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Breakfast here was a masala omelette with toast and jam, fresh fruit and coffee. It was okay and hit the spot, but I missed string hoppers, no photos.

 

There’s a well known restaurant in town Balaji Dosai, we sought it out for the famous dosa of southern India and weren’t disappointed. It’s a small high turnover place with queues waiting for seats, shared tables, wash basin in the corner and no cutlery. The masala dosa was delicious, served with coconut chutney and dal. This photo taken before the man opposite me motioned I should turn the plate around. Ok, that makes sense.

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D lives in Kandy and tonight was to be our last night with him. He invited us to share a meal at his home and sample his wife’s cooking, what a treat. Seen below, black pork curry, devilled chicken, string hopper kottu, salad like coleslaw but better and vegetable curry. Traditionally in Sri Lanka guests and older people eat first, so the table is set for three, being me, M and his mother in law. We goaded him into joining us which he eventually did, fingers balling up a tasty mix of kottu with some pork and veggies and then offering it to his wife. So sweet.

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Love the plates and serving dishes in that last photo!

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Yes @kayb, very fancy for Sri Lanka. The house belonged to D’s MIL, the FIL was a famous musician and artist, he passed away 15 years ago, but left an interesting legacy of artwork and old photographs in the bungalow that he designed. 

 

From Kandy we head further into hill country to Nuwara Eliya. Sitting at 2000 m above sea level it’s cooler and therefore was a favourite haunt of the British during colonial times wanting to escape the heat and humidity of the plains. There’s many fine examples of colonial architecture with stately hotels, a pink post office and one of the worlds oldest golf courses. 

 

Lunch was rice and curry at Milano’s, a local joint in town. I had vegetarian, the guys each had the same with a bright red piece of chicken on top, plus a bowl of coconut gravy to share. Here there was manioc (a tuber like sweet potato), okra, mallum of the day, dal, pappads and the ubiquitous rice. 

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Our next destination was Ella, we had tickets for the 3 pm train to get there.  D drove us to the station, but the train had other plans, and was delayed. Instead, D drove us to Ella through the misty mountain scenery complete with tea pickers carrying their harvest via a headband supporting the bundle on their backs. Hard work for what we would consider very little money, but with cheerful women making the best of it. 

 

Ella is gorgeous, with an easy to navigate small town surrounded by lush mountains. Chill cafe was our dinner venue, for a wood fired pizza ! The margherita pizza was good, a thin crust as we like it, plus a scattering of basil and mozzarella. 

 

There’s several  hikes in the area. We huffed and puffed our way up to Little Adams peak. Three kms of wide, gently climbing trail through tea plantations, 350 odd steps and several sections of scrambling goat track later, we made it. The 360 degree views are a fitting reward. Chill cafe beckoned us for further reward - beer and snacks, fried cashews with chilli and garlic, plus pappads with homemade mango chutney.

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We made it back to our guesthouse just before the rain started, and then clouds rolled up the valley and turned our picture perfect view into a whiteout. A total rest afternoon ensued.

Dinner down the road at Zion View guesthouse was more rice and curry (chicken) to share, plus homemade samosas with chips and salad. I like the way they mixed the chips into the salad. All very tasty.

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Two very large longhaired German shepherds roamed this open air restaurant. They were skin and bone underneath all that hair, though clearly loved and prized possessions. I’m convinced there is not one fat dog in Sri Lanka.

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The cashews are the only thing I'm going to actually cook from all this. Lovely food! I like the look of the meal at the Driver's house. Proper home cooking.

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@Kerala, the cashews are delicious, we saw them growing too. 

 

It was a long drive to Galle, the arrival made even more sweet by the city itself.

With a lively food scene,, buildings from the 16th century onwards, stunning sea views from high up on the ramparts, sun sinking into ocean, eclectic shops, and friendly people, this was our kinda town. We stayed in the old fort area, a collection of easy to navigate streets with an interesting something around every corner.

 

Our front porch was across the road from Serendipity Arts Café, a great spot for dinner on our first night. The chef here is affectionately known as Babi. He accompanied the well know Australian chef and television personality Peter Kuruvita on his around island filming of the series My Sri Lanka (worth a watch). Babi also owns two other cafes, Spoon’s and The Stairway (Keep Calm and Climb the...), a busy guy, but not too busy to cook food for us. M ordered chicken kebabs with chips and salad. The chicken was spicy, moist and tender, the chips fried with curry leaves and garlic to be squeezed over, the salad a perfect foil. I had rice and curry and took the only blurry photo of the trip. My curries were pumpkin, okra, cucumber, pineapple and dal, all surrounding a mound of rice. Delicious meals.76877907-EDFF-425F-B708-0F83F90D052F.thumb.jpeg.12034bd31e27c4f0ad77d2981dc98568.jpeg

 

Breakfast at our guesthouse was the best of the trip both days. String hoppers made with millet flour, egg hoppers, roti, milk rice, and sweet filled coconut pancakes. To go with coconut sambal, chilli sambal, fish curry and dal. Plus fruit and good coffee.

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Interesting that avocado is seen here more often as a sweet rather than savoury food. It’s in many desserts and better known as butter fruit. 

 

This spice shop was also across the road, quaint with its large jars of spice displayed like an old fashioned lolly shop.  It’s owned by a friendly man wearing traditional Muslim dress, happy to talk about spice and recommend his best roasted curry powder. 

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The Dutch Hospital is beautifully renovated and repurposed with upmarket restaurants, bars, and shops. 

Partially obscured by the tree is A Minute by Tuk Tuk, another great dinner recommendation. 22448888-333D-4979-ADD6-AF4906B72269.thumb.jpeg.ae524132c358998722c3b09fe56f824f.jpeg

 

So pleasant to sit on the balcony with a slight sea breeze and a gin & tonic. M ordered roast chicken with godhambra roti (paper thin stretchy bread), it came with dal and curry sauce. I ordered eggplant godhambra which came with dal, and we shared nutty prawns. This meal was delicious and not expensive at 4300 rupees including two drinks.

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The food would get even better for our last few days in Sri Lanka.  Next up, Colombo !

 

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Every single thing looks fabulous. I think that plate in the first picture in the post above, the chicken and chips, needs to be re-created here in the frozen north this Christmas.

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Loving this... thanks for taking the time to post!!!

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9 hours ago, sartoric said:

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Interesting that avocado is seen here more often as a sweet rather than savoury food. It’s in many desserts and better known as butter fruit.

I'm totally intrigued by the idea of "butter fruit" in desserts. My only experience with it, as such, is hearsay: a friend was told by a woman from Brazil about a blended drink made from avocado, Maria cookies, milk, and ice.

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Colombo, steamy capital of Sri Lanka.

 

Our homestay is a charming 170 year old house set in lush gardens with beautifully detailed fretwork above the doors, interesting art and comfy lounges on the porch.

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Breakfast was simple but tasty, milk rice, dal and coconut sambal. I got to help in the very basic kitchen, and so wish I could pop out to the shop at home for a bag of freshly grated coconut.

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We were fortune to become friends with the extended family of our homestay host from our first night in Negombo. Today we would spend the day together sight seeing and enjoying a fantastic lunch at Kaema Sutra. The restaurant is owned by a Bollywood star (idolised by the younger daughter of our family friends) is upmarket and inventive in it’s modern take on Sri Lankan cuisine. It’s located in Independence Square a huge colonnaded collection of buildings, and another example of thoughtful renovation. 

We shared a few godhambra roti crisps to start, then Australian mutton curry, steamed barramundi, kottu with roast chicken, baby potato curry, okra curry, dal and yellow rice.

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That’s a lime for squeezing on the kottu (in the muslin bag, foreground plate).

 

I finally got a shot of the kottu cooking.

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We shared a dessert of “What the hopper” a honey hopper filled with whipped curd, fresh strawberries and drizzled with treacle.

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This restaurant was a great recommendation, delicious food, fabulous staff who made a fuss of younger daughters obsession, and not expensive, 10,000 rupees for six people including drinks.

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Tea and a banana would do for breakfast on our last day in Sri Lanka, as we had a big day of eating lined up.

We grabbed a tuk tuk to the Pettah, a fascinating market district and bustling even on a Sunday. Determined to find another recommendation, (the hole in the wall Mayura), google maps did a sterling job of leading us here through the rainy chaotic laneways.

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M ordered chicken with white rice, I ordered crabs with red rice, each came with a mixed veggie curry, dal, pickle and an omelette. We clumsily ate with our fingers, under the amused stares of the other patrons. The chicken curry included all parts of the bird - liver, heart and unmentionables, thankfully no feathers. This meal was delicious, authentic and very cheap at 920 rupees.

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Mayura is popular and very busy with takeaways, see all the green bags lined up on the counter.

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We waddled to the train station and rode the rails to Mt Lavinia about 30 minutes away. There lies the historic Mt Lavinia Hotel, a gracious colonial building overlooking the ocean. So pleasant to relax on the veranda with a beer, while listening to a cool jazz band and people watching. 

 

I had made reservations (imperative) for dinner at the Ministry of Crab. Started by two Sri Lankan international cricket stars, and run on eco friendly principles, it’s located in the Old Dutch Hospital, yet another gorgeous colonial building tastefully renovated and filled with upmarket shops and restaurants. We shared a baked crab starter...not really necessary.0195B21B-2414-429A-937C-792E8FF2DEE7.thumb.jpeg.8ca1b24358f002c8f0202c224179b752.jpeg

 

Then, this jumbo chilli crab....

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With mixed veggies and garlic rice, also not necessary. I could have easily skipped all of this to focus purely on the crab.

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A fantastic (if expensive) meal, and a fitting end to our trip tasting Sri Lanka.

 

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Wonderful travelogue, and the food looked marvelous! That crab looks like an alien being -- and I bet it was marvelous!

 

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Nooooooo, it can't be over!!!

 

Thank you so much for taking time to show us everything.

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1 hour ago, Shelby said:

Nooooooo, it can't be over!!!

 

Thank you so much for taking time to show us everything.

Seconded.... Wish this could go on and on!!! Thank you!

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Thank you so much for taking time to show us everything. Really enjoyed this. D

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I just now came across this.  I had wondered where you were.  I loved reading it and seeing pictures of all the food.  I'm only sorry I didn't get to interact with you during the course of your writing the blog.  To me, it is always interesting to see what people eat in cultures so different from my own.  Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us.

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I will add my vote of thanks for a fantastic blog.

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I don't know when I have read a food blog that made me so eager to try almost everything.  Usually two or three things jump out but each meal yelled "taste me" , "taste me"!  Oh how I would if I could.

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Just waiting for any more little tidbits, but I guess that's it! Thanks so much. I don't know when or if I'll ever get back to Sri Lanka. It's almost too close to home for me to get to, but there look to be a few interesting variations worth making the effort for. Anyway, cashews for Christmas for sure!

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