This must have list to try was recommended by my friend Sashi Perera. She told us more or less what to expect and where we could find them but honestly, most of them were hard to find. In fact, I gave Priamjaya, our driver the list of food items I wanted to try and bugged him every day ’til we tried something new.
Well there is curry everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. And even though they differ in taste and ingredients, they’re all still called curry. Here in the Philippines, I have only been exposed to Indian curry and Thai curry mostly, where different kinds of curries have different names. So every time I would ask the server what kind of curry this is, they would just say, “Curry. All curry.” Haha! So yes, EVERYTHING is curry. What I enjoyed the most is the papadum which I dip in dal. Sooooo good. I seriously could munch on that all day. Okay I’m salivating right now just thinking about papadum. In hotel buffets, I always stop by the Indian section if they have one and grab some papadum if they have some. I know Spirals at Sofitel and Cafe Ilang-Ilang at the Manila Hotel has it.
It is served with rice. Prior to this trip, I survived a month without rice so having it every day again was a bit overwhelming. I would end up being so full after meals and would get so sluggish. Good thing we hired a car and a driver to take us around. I have the whole back seat to myself.
I was directed to this bakery called Ratnayake Bakers. Without knowing what it was, I ordered it. I saw the guy behind the counter, flattening out dough and cooking it on a griddle. He was making roti. Once the roti was cooked, he cut them up into thin strips. On the griddle, he sauteed garlic and onion leeks then added an egg, cooked it for a while and mixed it up. He added chili sauce, catsup and a dark colored liquid. I’m not sure if it was soy sauce or fish sauce, I was too embarrassed to ask at that moment since I looked like I was drooling. Then they added in chicken curry and the strips of roti and mixed them all up and cut them up the way they do for Japanese teppanyaki but noisier than Benihana.
The result? OMG. Sooooooo good! Definitely my favorite thing on this this! I enjoyed it so much I wanted to finish it but was just too full from all the other snacks we had along the way. Definitely recreating this some time and will surely post a recipe.
Hoppers are pretty much like Sri Lankan crispy crepes. You can have it plain or with egg. I ordered the one with egg cause it seemed much cooler. But wait, what makes this dish is actually the chili sauce that they serve you with it.
Being nosy, I asked the owner how the chili sauce was made. He said, chili, paprika, and not the ground paprika powder we find on the grocery rack, paprika, onions, garlic and lime juice. Sounds simple right? I’ll try it out some time and let’s see. I bet it would be good with the kotthu.
So we found the hoppers below this sign. I think it’s right below or beside if not I wouldn’t have taken this photo. Haha! But you’ll see a small eatery and a man making hoppers from the street side view.
String hoppers are rice noodles eaten with different kinds of curry for breakfast. Yes, it is only available during breakfast. No wonder every time I ask for it in a restaurant they always say that it’s not available. Haha!
W.V Sugathapala is known as the happiest man in Sri Lanka. He actually works as a security guard at New Monis Bakery and Restaurant. I took a bunch of selfies with him right before I got into the car but this photo says it all. If you don’t believe me, check this out:
KFC SRI LANKA’S CHICKEN SPICE RICE
Jharvis was just explaining how he was craving for “real food” when lo and behold, he spots a KFC. We immediately instruct the driver to turn around. He ordered the chicken strips with fries while I wanted to try something different and ordered the Chicken Spice Rice. Oh wow! How I wish we had this back home. It was a pretty good lunch. I could have had 2 servings. I had a virgin mojito to go with it and it was a pretty good balance of sweet, sour and spicy. YUM!