Food in Sri Lanka

[If you are sensitive to thematic elements that include vomit, skip the first paragraph. The rest of the post is fine.]

I'm always jealous of people who go on vacation to foreign countries and really get into the food there. I've been burned (read: made sick) by iffy food too many times over the years to be able to pull up to a roadside stand in Tiny Village, Foreign Country, order something that looks good, and thoroughly enjoy it. It's always a delicate juggling act between not starving, trying out some cultural favorites, not offending your hosts, and avoiding being friends with the toilet all night.

With that in mind, here is some of what we ate in Sri Lanka, sometimes with pictures, and sometimes with accurate names but probably mostly just descriptions.

The best food we ate the whole time we were there was breakfast at the B&B in Negombo. The owner's name was Magdalene (I KNOW) and she was a lovely human being and a fantastic cook. We ate baby bananas, fresh pineapple, "string hoppers" (?), toast with butter and jam, juice, Sri Lankan omelette, "pancakes" - honey/coconut roll-up crepe things, and my favorite that I can't stop thinking about: egg hoppers. It was an egg in the middle of a bready shell made from rice and coconut flour, baked. Or something like that. The edges were crispy, the center was perfectly cooked egg, and in between was spongy sweet eggy coconut bread. Delicious.

We also ate a lot of vegetable rice stir fry, or vegetable curry rice. The veggies were usually nice and crisp and heavy on the green onion.

There was coconut water, of course. I'd only ever had green coconuts in Salalah, but in Sri Lanka, they had orange coconuts. I liked them much better - not as much of an earthy taste to the water.

Then there was the pineapple juice. "Juice" doesn't even do it justice - I think it's an entire peeled pineapple put into a blender. Miriam had one taste of that stuff and she was GONE. I'm surprised she hasn't turned into a pineapple herself, considering how much of it she drank.

We mostly stayed away from Western food. It wasn't readily available in the places we were, for one thing. For another, if it was available, it was expensive. We did opt for the Western breakfast at one hotel because the Sri Lankan breakfast was fish curry and I am not that hardcore. We also went to a Sri Lankan pancake house on our last day and the girls got ice cream pancakes. Because why not?

I had my first taste of fresh green guava when we visited our driver's house in Pinnawala. It tasted a lot like green apple to me.

Little Sterling ate off our plates a little - except when we visited our driver's home and he gorged himself on the food there. So what did he eat the rest of the time? Well, I packed enough baby food pouches to last us the whole trip. I know that is very inauthentic of me, but the last thing I needed was a hungry, cranky baby in the middle of nowhere, Sri Lanka, and nothing but fish curry to feed him. I am so so glad I brought the food pouches. The poor baby was dealing with enough upheaval of his schedule and it was nice to be able to feed him something safe and familiar in a foreign country that was often overwhelming even for us adults.

So it wasn't exactly a grand tour of the Sri Lankan culinary scene, but we didn't go hungry, we didn't get sick, and I will forevermore crave egg hoppers.

April 10th, outsourced

The worst age to travel with kids