I didn’t title my cookbook Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking for nothing. The best Sri Lankan food your are likely to get in country or abroad, for that matter, is not in a restaurant, but rather at someone’s home. Don’t get me wrong: I love to eat out when I’m traveling and check out new places, but sometimes you get food fatigue on the road. The best remedy for that is a home cooked meal. You know exactly where the food came from, who cooked it, and you can have it as spicy as you like–and as much of it as you like as well!
My Aunt Dora’s flat on Park Street in an area called Slave Island, is usually my base of operations when in Colombo. It’s centrally located, and my regular trishaw driver Nimal hangs out at the temple under the Bo tree across the street. I call on him to make many of my lunchtime excursions because he knows all my regular spots, and can weave in and out of gridlocked traffic to get me where I want to go, no problem. It’s sometimes a hairy ride, but never a dull one.
One Saturday, I was ready to take my cousin Sam’s family out to lunch somewhere, when his wife Charmalie started complaining that they had too much food in the house. Iraesha, the cook, had left several curries in the fridge, and they would apparently go bad if we didn’t eat them that day. Far be it from me to waste good food. Plus, I had been eating out almost every day for both lunch and dinner since I had been in Sri Lanka, and I needed a little break.
I counted 10 different dishes–including rice–and all of them were good. I certainly didn’t expect such a grand lunch, but then I realized that this is how they eat everyday. And why on earth would you want to go out if you had food like this? They must look at me like I’m crazy or something.