Theme Post: Sri Lankan Palate

I’m inventing a new thing. I’m going to sprinkle “theme posts” into the regular old emotional accounts of my new life posts. I decided I wanted some that were purely Sri Lanka things, from my perspective, that could maybe be more useful to other people. As opposed to my chronicles in growing up…ugh.

Naturally, I’m leading with Food. Although I could sum up this entire culinary experience with the words “rice and curry,” it does go a bit deeper. Here’s the basics:

1. Rice and curry is every meal. There’s some variety, but it’s not a meal if there’s not rice. Which is great from a vegetarian standpoint because it’s basically all vegetables all the time. And they cater perfectly to the pescatarian like myself, tons of seafood available. However..

2. Sri Lankans eat a lot. Especially on field visits. Three meals a day, plus meal-sized snacks in between, along with tea that has enough milk and sugar to be its own snack. On one side, it is all fresher than fresh (I kid you not, I ate a fish today that was no more than tossed on a grill, served in tact with skin and bones and all, YOLO you guys). The foods are homegrown and hydrogenated oils aren’t really a thing. Yet still, these guys put away a calorie count that could rival the American stereotype. I haven’t quite figured out how to stuff enough exercise in to keep mentally (let alone physically) in working order, but something will have to be done. Also,

3. The food is spicy, but not too spicy. They get a pretty intense reputation, and have since westernized their menus a bunch. Granted most visitors will have a moment where they try to play cool and keep in the tears in as you secretly burn from the inside out, I’ve managed to keep that to a once-a-week basis. Actually had my first not-spicy meal tonight, and it was all i could do to not inhale it, the spice had me used to such a slow pace. All in all, It’s hot, but more bearable than you think. And you get bananas after every meal, so that is nice. But they also do..

4. Sweet. No middle ground semi-sweet either. If it isn’t savory, it is full on, no fools game, stop the heart-sweet. Tea has multiple spoons of (delightfully raw, not just white) sugar and desert goes all in as well. I’m a but nervous ill actually adjust to this palate, but for now we can just call it flair. Also on style,

5. Sri Lankans eat with their hands. Rice, curry, veggies, you just mix and scoop. Which was (is?) very strange to those of us fork folk. That said, have sinks with soap all over, and they use them more than many Americans would-myself included. You just scrub your hands before and after every meal. And while many places will provide forks and knives if they see a foreigner, not all will, so people have recommended you just get used to it. I’m on day two of completely forgoing the silverware and I think it’s just a matter of habit now.

Life here is finalllly getting a rhythm to it. It is still packed with mood swings and new things, but I’m starting to visualize the concept of living here for four months a little bit clearer now. If I can find a way to sustain the food situation, I’ll feel even better. I saw a gymnastics gym online, maybe I’ll shoot them another email. Love from the coast, stories and pictures of travel coming soon :)

sf

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