Bringing us all things Sri Lanka, straight from the elephant's mouth, is travel blogger and all-round island girl Demi Perera. Demi is the creator and editor of her own popular e-zine Girl Travels World. In her spare time she loves to recline on her hammock under a coconut tree. What we have here is a match made in heaven... 👏👏👏
If you've not grown up on a tropical island your association with the palm tree may be purely summer holidays, sunshine or a dreamy escape. Sri Lankan culture however views the coconut tree quite differently. It plays a humble yet significant part in the island's daily life. It's a sustainable source of nourishment and considered the most useful tree on the island.
It's commonly acknowledged that no single part of the coconut tree is wasted in Sri Lanka. The tree provides islanders with more than mere oil for cooking and water for drinking. To begin with, it provides shade to rest under on a hot day; never to be underestimated when you live with a year-round average temperature of 27-31 degrees celsius.
Then, there is the husk of the outside of every coconut which is removed and used for making useful things like ropes, mats and rugs. Ropes made of coconut husk are far stronger and last a great deal longer than plastic. Mats and rugs once woven are either dyed in to different colours or will show beautiful patterns.
The shell of the coconut is polished and used for making spoons; you'll spot them tied up in bunches, swinging in the sunshine outside little shops. It's impossible miss their brightly painted or carved wooden handles. Coconut shells are also used for making bowls and ornaments. If all of this wasn't enough they are also used in rural homes for cooking instead of firewood.
The long blade-like leaves of the palm are used in rural villages for thatched roofs which keep homes cool even at the hottest times of the year. The leaves also have an important role at times of great joy or deep sorrow. At weddings and funerals coconut palm leaves are woven into intricate designs to create grand structures which you may spot on less urban roads if your eyes are keen. In the middle of the long leaf is an extremely flexible long stem known as the ekel. It's used for making garden brooms. They are the most useful tool for clearing leaves. Every home in Sri Lanka has at least one ekel broom for the garden.
So as you can see, the coconut tree isn't a mere decoration on this island. It's an integral part of the island's rhythm. Of course, this makes everything the coconut tree produces far kinder to the environment than anything else we can make. Want to be a part of the Sri Lankan coconut rhythm? Try the brand new spanking coconut sambal on the TCT menu. It's made of the coconut pulp which is 'scraped', using a special kitchen tool, mixed with spices and chillies and served raw. It would be more than fair to say that it's the most Sri Lankan thing you could ever eat. Enjoy!