Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Few Photos of Sri Lankan Food and Packaging

This is proper paper recycling! Here, paper bags have been made by recycling pages from old school text books and exercise books. My "short eats", like the roti and toast in the centre, always come accompanied by interesting reading or pictures. Even pills from the pharmacy will come in little hand-made paper bags. It's incredible to think that the price of these must undercut machine-made, mass-produced brown paper bags.

This is typical of a fish rice-and-curry "lunch packet" from a "hotel" and this one came from a place just two or three doors away from my office. It tastes better than it looks! The shop is a rather squalid little place with a couple of well-worn plastic tables and chairs but the food is more like home-made cooking than the packets you get from the bigger places. Yes, it can be hellishly spicy! I used to buy these for lunch every day (the contents vary daily) but now I have them made by the housekeeper at my digs - Concy, the mother of Jude, one of ASL's field officers. Either way, my lunch packets cost Rs.100 - or about UK£ 0.60 or about US$ 1.0, a bargain by my reckoning!

The various pictures on the left were for sale at a market in Galle. They wouldn't have been out of place in India, either, and they (or larger versions thereof) can often be spotted adorning homes or three-wheelers (as tuc-tucs are called here.) I find them rather hideous but then my taste would be considered extremely bland by Sri Lankans! On the right is more paper recycling, with the cone containing Gal Siyambala, aka Velvet Tamarind. I've tried them - they're sour and often used in traditional dishes. It's not a cultivated tree so these have been gathered from the wild.

On the left are Wood Apples - they're about the size at cricket balls with an incredibly hard outer skin. You have to crack them with the back of a heavy knife-blade or a hammer to open them, a bit like you would a coconut. Inside are a lot of seeds surrounded by sweet brown-ish pulp which you scoop out and put in a blender to make a fruity drink. On the right is fruit known as Bael or Beli, which is similarly hard to crack but a little smaller and more fibrous inside. In the centre are Papaya, Embul plantains (small bananas), green oranges and a large Jambola. I usually have a third of a Jambola for breakfast each day - it's not quite as tasty as pink grapefruit but it's not far off and, being less juicy, it's easier to eat with your hands.

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