Saturday, April 30, 2016

More Than Cumin: Food In Sri Lanka

I associate Sri Lankan food with Indian food.
Can't blame me. Both countries integrate cumin in their daily diet. 
I don't like cumin. I don't like spicy food. 
So what's there to eat for someone who dies with spice?

I got some breakfast from the hostel. Their continental breakfast is just okay. They have a "side spice" that you can sprinkle on everywhere. I left it untouched. 

Breakfast platter at Drift BnB Colombo

I enjoyed the meals that were served to me during my stay in Oasis Tourist Family Resort. The food was freshly prepared and tasted like it. They said that they grow their own cumin instead of buying from the shops. The store-bought cumin had preservatives in them. I didn't know how cumin plants looked like so I wasn't able to check. The guesthouse charged LKR 667 for a full Sri Lankan type meal. I know that I can probably find cheaper ones outside, but I really liked the convenience of eating at the guesthouse and taking my time doing it. 

I was so hungry I took a bite before taking a proper photo

This continental breakfast cost LKR 435. That is a fresh papaya juice. Yumyum!

The servings were huge. So I asked for a half-sized meal for my other lunch and dinner. I also asked them to tone down the spice to almost nothing. Not even a little. They did. I tasted cumin flavor without the spice. I don't know how that happened but it tasted like that! I liked this combination of think white noodles that you dip in a yellow curry soup. 

Happy tummy for LKR 333

Another set of the home meals. I get choices for appetizers and sides. Really nice. I really liked the curry-tasting-but-not-spicy soup so I asked for it again.

The soup with some fried noodles and veggies

Bananas and sherbet for dessert!

I held out my hunger when my tuktuk driver and I explored the ruins of Polonnaruwa. I didn't notice any restaurants in the complex so we had to go outside. My lunch was moved to 4pm because I decided to finish touring the complex first. The restaurants around the complex seemed to serve an array of food on buffet setting so they were only open for lunch and dinner. Since I was having my lunch at 4pm, some of those were already closed. We found an open restaurant on our 3rd try. 

I liked some of the food. Most of them have curry, cumin or just really spicy. I stuck with familiar non-spicy looking ones. 

I ate my lunch using utensils while my tuktuk driver ate using his hand. I confess, even though I am a Filipino, I never really mastered the art of eating using the hand. I can do it but it is not my first choice. 

I offered to treat my tuktuk driver. Bill was LKR 2,300 for both of us, including drinks. 

In Kandy, I found the trip Advisor recommended Kandy Cafe. I didn't order much at that time, just salad and a shake. Both were okay. Quite pricey for LKR 1,078. They took my LKR 1,100 and did not give change. 

I had fun looking at the different spices at the grocery store. I found Cardamoms that's an ingredient for a DIY Chai Tea Latte. I got a pack for myself. 

Differently-shaped bananas
I got Stuart's tea too! I got the flavors that weren't available in the Philippines. 

Kandy was more commercial than Dambulla. Lots of choices. I just didn't know what to choose. 

I got some of this roti that I saw. Pretty nice. 

I looked for a familiar restaurant at the mall. I found Burger King. But their menu wasn't familiar. 

Only the fries called out to me. I got a take-away order and started walking back to Lake Round Residence. It was getting dark and I was warned not to walk alone around the lake at night. I ate it with my Butter Coconut cookies and tea. After a bunch of grande Sri Lankan meals in Dambulla, this was a good break. 

By the time I was in Nuwara Eliya, I was already craving for some food normal to my palate. This was Nasi Lemak + fries + avocado shake bought from one of the stalls in Lake Gregory. 

Do not underestimate this tiny run-down Italian restaurant. I found Salmiya as the top recommended restaurant in Tripadvisor. This was walking distance from where I was staying in Nuwara Eliya. I ate here twice. Should be thrice but they were closed for lunch when I dropped by. 

The pizza was delicious. Pizza in Sri Lanka? No problem. My pasta and fries dinner came at LKR 750. Be warned that they take time in preparing the food so don't come here and expect to be served immediately. 

This spaghetti tastes way better than it looks. 

I also checked out De Silva Food Center in the city center. This was a 25-30-minute walk from Blue Wing Inn. I was comforted when I saw other travellers walking around the area. It was still chaotic.

Reasonably priced menu here. Kind of a cafeteria setting. 

I ended up pointing at whatever felt like I could eat. All of them are spicy though. :( 

Lunch passed while chatting with my seatmate. She was also travelling Sri Lanka along for three weeks. In hushed tones, we chatted how we felt while travelling on our own. Like me, she didn't feel completely safe when she was alone. Men came on to her. I shared I experienced the similar situation, even though I was already wearing a fake wedding ring to ward off unsolicited advances from men. She said she's buying her own fake wedding ring before going back to her hostel. Haha!

This recommended dessert lifted up my mood a bit. 

Welp. That was a good dessert to end the meal. My mood turned sour as I got into a conversation with the waiter there. I shared that I was from the Philippines and he said he wants to go there too and he asked for my number. I said I was married (*cough cough*) and held out my finger with my very fake wedding band. 

Some snack stash from a store nearby

I still had a lot of LKRs on the day of my departure. I decided to splurge on the Governor's Chalet Restaurant. 

I'm not a fan of ordering pricey so-so tasting food for a good view. But here I was, doing just that. 

I didn't know what I was eating half the time I was in Sri Lanka. I did enjoy discovering about some not-so-spicy cumin and curry dishes. You can still survive even though you cannot tolerate spice (like me). 


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