Rice and curries cooked with a blend of spices, herbs and coconut milk is the islandís main meal. For breakfast and dinner, rice is replaced with hoppers, stringhoppers, roti, or koththu which are all made with rice flour and eaten with red and white curries. Sri Lankan like their chillies and the redder the curry, the more chillies it will have. Coconut sambal, sweet chutneys, pickles and papadams are eaten as accompaniments. The chutneys are always good to have at hand to cool off the chillies! Lamprais (rice and curries wrapped in a banana leaf), is a favourite prepared by the burgher community. Traditional deserts include watalappan (made with coconut milk and palm juggery), buffalo curd and honey, and a range of sweets such as Kavun, kokis, aluwa, paniwalalu which is made for special occasions. Sri Lankan short eats Ė a range of savoury and sweet pastries is a favourite snack at any time of day. If you wish to learn more about Sri Lankan cookery, Red Dot will be happy to make arrangements with a local chef whilst you are on holiday.
Originally introduced to the island around 1850 by the British, Ceylon Tea is world famous for its high quality and has remained a major contributor to the islandís economy for generations. Currently, Sri Lanka is one of largest exporter of tea worldwide. The high altitudes produce the best flavours, so Sri Lankaís hill-country is the ideal environment to grow the most flavoursome tea. A guided tour around a Tea Factory is an enlightening experience, which explains the whole process of tea production before it reaches your cuppa. It also provides an opportunity to buy the best grades of tea. First, visit a Tea plantation where you will see tea pluckers busy picking the precise `two leaves and a budí followed by a visit to a tea factory where the processing begins. For information on purchasing Tea, check the Red Dot Shopping Guide.
"Thambili", (king coconut) short in stature and commonly found in Sri Lanka, and the nuts of which Sri Lankans regard as a "living pharmacy" is the most versatile and medically practical form of the coconut plant available. Sri Lankans sell and consume thousands of them on a daily basis.
In almost every Sri Lankan home irrespective of class, a king coconut palm swaying soothingly in the breeze is a common sight. Another familiar sight are the bunches of king coconuts displayed for sale in many wayside kiosk throughout the country.
These nuts come in many varieties, the most commonly found being the "red dwarf" (kaha thambili, commonly referred to as gon thambili). The other variety is "ran thambili", a smaller variety containing about forty nuts in a bunch.
"Kurumba", the green coloured young coconut that is easily available in the villages is cheap and popular.
Compared to the aerated waters that are usually artificially coloured and flavoured, the natural coconut drink refreshes and purifies the body. In many Sri Lankan ayurvedic remedies the king coconut has been prescribed to cure many ailments related to impurities in the system.
The king coconut is a well-known source of carbohydrates, vitamin E, iron, calcium and phosphorous. It also has a high dietary soluble fibre and appreciable amounts of protein and fat. In relation to all this the king coconut is a pharmaceutical wonder that has a cure for almost every ailment.