I was in Sri Lanka in 2002 for a conference and was amazed at how spectacular the whole spice island is – from its blue waters to rolling hills of tea plantations, to its great nature and wildlife and intoxicating cuisine… man, I just would love to go back there!
Despite a predominantly Buddhist country, there is a sizable Muslim (Tamils) and Christian communities. Sri Lankan cuisine is borrowed from many cultures – Moor, Dutch, Malay and Portuguese. Rice and curry is the main staple and expect the cury to be very hot and spicy.
So I went on to taste Sri Lankan curry at a roadside restaurant. I ordered chicken curry and it was served with roti and a side dish of vegetable.
Having inherited my mother’s penchant for hot and spicy dishes, I was not prepared for what happened next. My eyes watered and my tongue started burning spreading to my mouth and neck. Even my ears went numb! My friend, Srilal, panicked upon seeing me like that. I was rushed back to the hotel, amidst my non-stop laughing and crying, where I was given lots of milk to cure my burning mouth. I felt sorry for the waiters who looked concerned genuinely sorry over what happened to me. So that was my introduction to the fiery Sri Lankan curry.