When you produce most of the world's spices it follows that your cuisine will be pretty darn good. Add to this a South Indian heritage, a colonial past and centuries of being a trading post for spices and you're left with a pretty picky bunch of locals when it comes to food. So here's a quick explanation of why Sri Lankan food is so yummy.
Sri Lankan cuisine takes its influences from the multi-ethnic culture of the island. For example, the Jaffna Goat Curry on The Coconut Tree menu originates from the very northern tip of Sri Lanka which is home to the country's Tamil population. You will taste the goodness of Jaffna's fresh ground spices, sun-soaked shores and centuries of home-cooking which has been perfected in this dish.
The Tamil community has also gifted us with kotthu roti (translates from Tamil to chopped roti) and hoppers (locally known as appam). Both these dishes have been adopted by pretty much everyone on the island no matter what their heritage. Kotthu roti has evolved in to an absolute must have street food. All of its incarnations are devoured everywhere. You'll find cheese, beef, chicken or seafood kotthu in any street corner. Hoppers have climbed the heights of international recognition as a signature dish of Sri Lanka. These crispy bowl-shaped delights made of fermented rice batter will leave you breathless. That would be why there are hoppers pop-ups and brunches all around London.
You can thank the island's colonial heritage for the Black Pork Curry on the menu. The Dutch Burgher community of Sri Lanka, as you may have guessed, are of Dutch heritage. They've contributed greatly to the local cuisine. We are thankful to the Burgher community for most of the traditional sweets which are eaten during the Sri Lankan new year.
You'd be correct in thinking that Mixed Fried Rice on the menu doesn't sound very Sri Lankan. Well, that comes from the Chinese community who've called the island their home as far back as I can remember. Would you be surprised if I said Chinese eateries outnumber traditional Sri Lankan eateries in Colombo? They do. The Chinese take on Sri Lankan seafood is not for the lighthearted. This is hardcore fusion cookery. The Devilled dishes on the menu that sizzle on your tongue come from this fusion.
The sweet dessert Watalappam on the menu has its origins in the Malay and Muslim communities who used local spices to create traditional dishes. Do enjoy the spiced coconutty goodness of this incredible pudding to balance your spicy mains. You'll never look back. Be sure to wash this all down with coconut water or wood apple nectar. It really couldn't get any more Sri Lankan than this.
So you see, The Coconut Tree menu is not just a menu but a journey around the island over thousands of years of heritage. How lucky you are that you get to experience it all under one roof.
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... 👏👏👏