How to Eat Like a Sri Lankan

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How to Eat Like a Sri Lankan

It was in a little roadside café in Sri Lanka that I first saw people eating with their hands. Growing up, I watched a lot of Hollywood and Bollywood films in which Mithun Chakraborty would fight a dozen bad guys at once and erupt into a spontaneous dance. But nothing seemed stranger than watching him eat right out of his mother’s hands. Finding out that eating with the hands is a custom in both India and Sri Lanka made me feel prepared. Ultimately, the reality differs greatly from what is portrayed on screen. Because of the vast range of emotions I could portray on my face at the time, my friends still make fun of me.

The moral of the narrative emphasises how important it is to understand not only what meals people in other countries eat but also how they cook them. I don’t only mean hands, chopsticks, or forks when I say favourite utensils. I mean all the little things that define a nation’s relationship to food. To learn what to eat in Sri Lanka, see this page. But if you want to know how to eat like a Sri Lankan, let’s get started!

Sip tea. a minimum of twice daily.

Every morning, a cup of ceylon tea awaits you if you’re from Sri Lanka. This first cup is not being served with breakfast. You have it as soon as you wake up, before your mind starts to wander trying to think of what to make for breakfast. It awakens your body and mind, kicking off your day.

Your second cup of tea will arrive at four in the afternoon. This cup is like a kick in the face; it contains seven spoonfuls of sugar and milk. You will now fulfil all of your deadlines, complete the things you have been putting off for months, and offer assistance to all of your coworkers, even if they don’t need it, if you were slowly drifting off at your desk.

If you’re from Sri Lanka, you probably won’t be shocked if the company has a tea maker and server on staff who makes and serves tea twice a day and knows just how to prepare your favourite recipe.

Consume rice. Plenty of it.

You’re either 1) on a diet, 2) experimenting with your body in some way, or 3) your mom is on vacation and you can’t turn on the rice cooker if you’re from Sri Lanka and you don’t eat rice at least once a day. In any case, you are starving yourself to death because skipping rice and curry is the same as not eating at all, regardless of whether you eat a burger and French fries for supper, half a loaf of bread for breakfast, or pasta for lunch.

When rice is served, there are usually three or four curries available. You see to it that there is a big pile of rice on your plate, making it difficult to carry to the table.Bring a homemade lunch. Stow it in a bundle of newspapers.
Choosing what to eat for lunch and where to get it is never a problem for people of Sri Lankan heritage. To be fair, the problem lies with your mother, not with you. Remember that first cup of tea? A Sri Lankan mother will typically have a cup of tea at about five in the morning, right before making the family’s meal. Your spouse and kids are sound asleep when you’re up in the wee hours of the morning chopping vegetables, frying papadam, and shredding a coconut. What’s up with moms in the West? Can an apple, a sandwich, and a cookie all fit neatly within a zip-lock bag? Sri Lankan mothers are not all alike.

What is a zip-lock bag, by the way? Too elaborate. If you’re from Sri Lanka, you first wrap your rice and curry in a plastic sheet before putting them between two layers of old newspaper to keep them warm. If sauce remains, transfer it to a plastic bag, tie it up, and fill it with rice and newspaper.

Spicy food

For a Sri Lankan, there is never too much heat; in fact, “tasty” is the same as “spicy.” You will cry, of course, when you see the rice and curries your mother packed for lunch. But extra chile flavour enhances more than just curries. Snacks made with mango and pineapple slices and chilli powder are delicious. All the components for a delicious dinner are present in a spicy omelette. A Margherita pizza topped with chilli flakes makes it even more delicious!

Eat quickly. Talk to each other later.

If you are from Sri Lanka, you are not used to spending hours at the dinner table eating, drinking, and chatting, even when you have guests over. Instead, a sequence of events takes place in a particular order.

First things first: in the living room, you and your loved ones are enjoying a cup of tea or a cold beverage like cordial. You provide a cordial that tastes artificial, even though Sri Lanka is a tropical country with plenty of fresh fruit. To be honest, I don’t know why anyone would drink cordial when there are fresh papayas and mangos right outside your window. This is the section where you can unwind, enjoy the moment, and converse.

Next is dinner, which is limited to the amount of time it takes to finish a plate of rice and curry in the dining room. Specifically, no more than twenty minutes. After that, over cocktails, there are lengthy discussions on politics and current affairs. Except for two things: arrack and whisky. Presuming You Are the Only Man
If you are a male from Sri Lanka, your preferred beverage is probably arrack or whisky. For whatever reason, it was either black label or red label whisky, by the way. Arrack, derived from the sap of coconut flowers, is an obvious choice. A black label is a beverage that is provided at all celebrations and get-togethers, despite the fact that it is harder to define.

In Sri Lanka, it is against the unwritten law for women to have alcohol with men. So you and your wife get together in the living room for a cup of coffee. To be honest, thirtysomethings and twentysomething city females enjoy their cocktails, but not while their families are there.

Encourage a greater intake of food. Then there were still others.

A Sri Lankan could never let someone go hungry in their house. Keep an eye out for these signs: sweating, undoing the button on your jeans, and taking deep breaths are all signs that you are doing everything right. But don’t allow your visitors to trick you into believing they’re so full they’re immobile. In answer, she said, “Just eat some more, will you?”

Put away your forks and spoons. Use your hands to eat.

Since this is the only way to combine the flavours, as a Sri Lankan, you are aware that mixing rice and curry with your hands improves the flavour. The taste and texture differ while eating with a spoon or fork. Just watch out that food gets beyond the tips of your fingers. I can say with pride that, having spent three years living in Sri Lanka, not only did I understand why people eat with their hands, but I too do it now.

Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

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