Which one you prefer, Western style or Sri Lanka style breakfast?
Posted on October 7th, 2014

Dr Hector Perera          London

There is a saying that even when you take a cat to Singapore, it will still be Meowing” that means even when Sri Lankans live abroad they still prefer some Sri Lankan food. The tropical Sri Lankan breakfast is as great as the American or English one and offers a much more balanced diet with its accent on fresh local produce including fruit and unusual juices. Who would like to eat a breakfast with lots of salt, fats, additives and colourings? Say for example three or four bacon rashes, a few fried sausages, nearly a cup full of baked beans and two fried eggs then sprinkled with some salt, pepper and tomato ketchup? These kinds are acceptable as an occasional treat but not on regular basis. If there was a choice such as string hoppers, Kiri hodi” and sambol then I would certainly prefer that because of the health aspect.

We took a turn off to Kirindiweal road from the normal Kandy Colombo road then on the way the driver mentioned about a newly opened restaurant along that road. From outside it looks quite pleasant with ample parking spaces and the place was quite long and spacious. Then we went in to see what’s there to eat. To our surprise there was nothing but Sri Lankan style breakfast all at one fixed price that means eat as much as you like for one price. Have I got to name all kinds available to eat, I am sure most of you are aware, of course no bacon, sausages and baked beans. There was string hoppers, hoppers, pittu, boiled chick peas with tempered with red chillies then boiled green grams with scraped coconut and Katta sambol” and many more to choose including two kinds of wade”. I couldn’t forget the Kribath”, boiled sweet potatoes, manioc then Kiri ala” as well were there to eat and so what are we to eat?

 Milk rice is traditional on the first day of each month in many homes. Sharp spice relishes made of onions and Maldives fish (katta sambol) hot and sweet caramelized onions (seeni sambol) and traditional fish curry, Tuna ambul thial” add contrast to the creaminess of the milk rice. A delight is imbul kiribath” a sweeter version of milk rice. It consists of a mixture (panny pol) made out of grated coconut drenched in palm treacle sandwiched between white milk rice. It is customary to serve this dish at paddy harvesting and rice reaping festivals, when it is taken to the fields wrapped in lotus or banana leaves and encased in woven boxes made of rush leaves.

How would I ask the lady was there Imbul kiribath” as well when there were too many to choose? I am sure there were Pol Roti” as well, the local equivalent of leavened flat bread. It is made of wheat flour blended with grated coconut, onions and green chills and shaped into soft, small rounds. Another appetizing preparation is Godamba roti”. This is made of pliable dough, which if flipped sideways to obtain a paper thin consistency. It is cooked on a long steel griddle plate and folded neatly. The Godamba roti” with its elastic and translucent feel is delicious with chicken or mutton curry. Egg Godamba” and stuffed Godamba” with a spicy fish or chicken filling are delicious variations. Another thing sometimes they eat for breakfast is Roast paan” that is available at village bakeries or roadside cafes. Chicken or a fiery coconut sambol (pol sambol) is a spicy alternative to marmalade with the bread. An ideal picnic breakfast is bread rolls stuffed with fish and potato filling (malu paan) meat filling or the spicier onion relish filling (seeni sambol) paan.

A Sri Lankan fresh fruit breakfast platter is sensational, in appearance as well as taste. There are wide varieties of plantains such as Kolu kottu”, anamalu, ambul are favourite bananas then juicy pineapples, ripe mangoes and papaya to mellow the glow left by pungent spices. Avocado, watermelon, papaya mango and passion fruit are some of the exotic fruit juices popular with breakfast. Of course, there is also Ceylon Tea to aid digestion.

This included plenty of tea and coffee as well for the price. The serving ladies asked what else did we wanted to drink. We asked what’s available then she told there’s three or four different kinds of kenda” such as kola kenda” or Herbal porridge (kenda) prepared out of herbal leaves is an invigorating breakfast entrée. Steeped with medicinal herbal leaves such as gotukola (Centella Asiatica) wel penela (cardiospermum Halicacabum) and hathawariya (asparagus falcatus), it is claimed to be an elixir of life.  She said some days they have steamed or boiled jack and bread fruits as well for breakfast.

Have I got to explain what they normally eat pittu with? Nice creamy coconut milk with Katta sambol” or with red Pol sambol” makes a good combination. To eat hoppers, there was those kinds of sambol” plus jaggery as well. I know the people get tempted to over eat simply because they pay one price but they must understand not to exceed the limit of eating. If I said that I might as well have eaten a little bit, I think it is acceptable as it was done only occasionally. If I over eaten western style breakfast then I might have over laden with too much fat, oil, sugar and salt but not this Sri Lankan style breakfast. Your comments are welcomed [email protected]

5 Responses to “Which one you prefer, Western style or Sri Lanka style breakfast?”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Dr. While I was reading the spread available, my mouth was watering. I don’t see any of that in USA. What was the cost of that meal ?
    Ofcourse I regularly have Gotu Kola Kenda. I buy it from a Vietnamese shop, and I also grow it in pots. I love Gotu Kola Kende.
    I have not made Pittu for a long time.

  2. Nimal Says:

    All breakfasts have it’s good and bad.

  3. AnuD Says:

    In Sri Lanka, newly rich people love sausages I suppose. but, it is left over meat from the cuts for roasting, baking etc.,

    Diazo compounds and Sodium Nitrite in Sausages are Carinogenic.

    Bacon is animal fats. IT raises the incidence of Heart diseases.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Simple, Tasty, Nutritious and Varied … please give me a Sri Lankan breakfast anyday, everyday!

  5. Nanda Says:

    Simple, Tasty, Nutritious and Varied … please give me a Sri Lankan breakfast anyday, everyday! – me too !

    Indiappam , Kirir or Ala Hidi and Pol sambol with a bit of seeni sambol Yummmmmm.

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