Living in Baltimore, where there are no Sri Lankan stores, I have to trek to the suburbs of Derwood, MD, not far from DC and VA, when it’s really time to get my fix of authentic Sri Lankan products.
This quaint market, located in a non-descript shopping center, was opened in February 2003 by Chandra Malalasekera and her husband, and offers practically every canned, bottled, frozen, or dried item that you can get in Sri Lanka–and then some. From dry fish, to beli cream, to passion fruit cordial to a whole line of chutneys, spices, and newer frozen prepared foods like fish patties and masala wades, Spice Lanka offers one-stop shopping for the expat in need of a taste of home. Mrs. Malalasekera even makes a whole selections of spicy short eats filled with fish, chicken, mutton or beef, which she sells daily in hot boxes, available for a mere pittance ($1.50 and under). She also makes string hoppers–those rice noodle nests so popular in Sri Lanka–for those of us too caught up in the New World rat race. If you are making a bulk order or any of these freshly prepared items, it’s better to call ahead and place and order. Those not so familiar with Sri Lankan food should not be intimidated. The Malalasekeras are happy to discuss various ingredients, and make suggestions, and even let you know where you can get things that they don’t carry.
If you live in the area, Spice Lanka bekons. And it beats taking the long flight to Colombo, and coming back with one whole suitcase stuffed to the gills with food products that may or may not make it through customs!
17517 Redland Road
Derwood, MD 20855