All posts filed under: Food

Tea, in India

The last few rainy days in Colombo has made me nostalgic for a hot chai.  A good tea for me is my chai from a roadside boutique in India. Maybe it is the size of the cups they are served in. Or the flavor of cardamon. But my love affair with tea began and ended in India. As a child, I hated drinking tea. Often, when served tea I would sip at it grudgingly. I never understood how my parents seemed to not be able to function without their morning and evening cup. Hostel life changed my taste for tea. Faced with limited food options in the mess, the Mumbai monsoons, and the need for something warm in the morning, tea became a staple for the next three years. What I really enjoyed about tea in Mumbai was the shot glass it was served in. Known as a ‘cutting chai’ which was half the amount of your average tea cup. This size was perfect for Mumbai’s rushed life. Each city makes a different chai. Each …

Bedspace, Unawatuna

Last weekend, the brother and I were hosted by the wonderful Malcolm Skinner at Bedspace, Unawatuna.  We enjoyed amazing hospitality and great food, and I came back to Colombo fuller and more relaxed than I’d been in a long time. Bedspace was started in December 2014 by Malcolm and his business partner David Thomson.  Malcolm is British, but has roots in Sri Lanka and thought it would  be fantastic to start a hospitality venture here.  The biggest attraction of the guesthouse, is their kitchen, with its very creative, delicious and locally sourced dishes. I judge an eating establishment by how well they make a vegetarian dish. I don’t eat a lot of meat in general, and really appreciate a place that serves good veg fare. And Bedspace, definitely won my heart with their vegetarian tart. My brother was served a perfectly flavoured Prawn Pad Thai. The rooms are simple, with focus on guest comfort. The pillows are wonderfully fluffy, and perfect for a good nights sleep. The bathrooms are large, and the rooms come with every amenity …

Pancakes on the Rocks, Sydney

Been a hectic last few months and I’ve been unable to update my blog forever. I am back in Sri Lanka now, but this was in my drafts for a while and thought I should finally publish it.  I was in Sydney during Ramazan this year and was fasting and doing a speed walking tour of the city. I had two days to see the city, and tried to cover as much as I could.  So you can imagine, as iftar* approached, I was looking forward to my visit to Pancakes on the Rocks. The Rocks refers to the heritage block in the heart of Sydney. Just walking distance from Sydney harbour, the locale was founded in 1788 with its original buildings made using sandstone, hence called The Rocks. Today it is a tourist precinct and home to iconic cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops. I figured I would be hungry enough to eat two dishes and ordered the Potato au Gratin and Vanilla and Choc Suprise. The Potato au Gratin is a potato and onion pancakes topped …

Las Chicas, Balaclava, Melbourne

If there is one dish I can eat absolutely alone, it is an eggs benedict. I never need company to enjoy my benedict and often pop into a cafe to savour my favourite breakfast meal alone. Last week, I texted my friend Naz, and asked her for the best place in Melbourne to have an eggs benedict. She texted back with the words ‘Las Chicas, Balaclava.’ The next day I headed to Balaclava (it’s on the Sandringham line) and to Las Chicas for my solitary brunch. As soon as you get out of the station, turn to your immediate right and you will find the small, cosy cafe a few steps ahead. The day I set out had been very cold. I ordered a hot chocolate and tried to read until my food came. The ‘Chicas Benedict’ is a toasted bagel with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon on a bed of wilted spinach. Nothing looks sweeter than opening up a poached egg with your fork and watching the yolk spill out. For those …

MART 130, Middle Park, Melbourne

I was going for brunch with my friend Azahn, in Middle Park when we started to cross the tracks at the tram station. I thought for a second, that we were taking a tram to our destination, to discover that our brunch place was actually a tram station converted into a cafe. MART (tram spelled backwards) 130, is a cosy and colourful cafe that serves great food at a very creative location. ‘Optimistic’ is what I would call their ambiance aided with little tags at every table with words like ‘hope’ and ‘harmony.’ I had poached eggs with feta cheese and green peas, while Azahn had his poached eggs with smoked salmon, cream cheese and mushrooms on the side. According to this blogger, it’s pretty popular with the celebrities as well. If you do come to Melbourne, do visit MART 130 in Middle Park for a good brunch, great location, and a chance run in with a celeb.

Pau, Malaysia

The softest thing I have ever eaten. I could not stop touching the skin of the pau and finally when I did take a bite, I was blown away. The pau is a very simple snack that I found near one of the stations in KL. The unusual whiteness of the bun attracted me to it. My friends were pretty amused that I found the pau so fascinating as it was a very commonplace snack for them. It’s like me coming to Sri Lanka and ogling at malu paan.* The steamed bun is originally from China where it is known as baozi. As Malaysia is home to a large Chinese population, the bun has now entered Malay cuisine, where it is referred to as pau.   The fillings vary from chicken and beef, to even chocolate. It is unusually soft as the ingredients used are a little different to that used in buns. And finally, the pau is steamed, not baked, and that has resulted in its extremely soft shell. A good filling makes all the difference. I tried …

Laksa, Malaysia

Laksa has now entered my list of all time favourite things to eat. I just returned from Malaysia where I spent my Avurudu* week eating half of Asia. Malaysia is a great melting pot for Asian cuisine and my next blog posts will feature the different kinds of food I encountered on my holiday there. What is Laksa? Laksa is a noodle soup that has both Chinese and Malay influences (Peranakan** cuisine) and is popular in countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, where these has been a long historic interaction between the two communities. There are many variations to the Laksa depending on regional tastes. Vermicelli noodles and seafood are standard among all Laksas. Chicken can also be added to a Laksa . It is popularly served  in a spicy coconut gravy with prawns, fish cakes, shrimp paste (sambal), bean curd puffs and eggs.  It is finally garnished with Vietnamese coriander also known as the ‘laksa leaf.’ The Laksa I had combined all the above elements and even included a cracker known as ’emping.’ From …