05 February 2013

Sri Lanka ~ Galle

Old Galle Fort and the street food of the new town keep our curry quota alive and well in Sri Lanka.

We arrive in Galle in the middle of a thunderstorm. It was the rainy season when we decided to travel in Sri Lanka and the storm was fierce but brief. As it cleared we left the hostel for a walk around the old fort town.

There's no shortage of colonial style buildings in this town. Sometimes there's a great benefit and sometimes great loss to a country not being in the tourism spotlight, there's no money for development so old buildings don't get demolished so quickly but then there's no money to restore or preserve them.

There's a great amount of beach spots nearby so there's a number of day trippers touring the perimeter for some ye olde colonial world charm. And a ragga master or two.

For lunch we head out of the old town into the busier new town centre. There's more of the things here people really need, hospitals and schools and non touristy hotels (cheap restaurants). This one looks good.

There's a healthy pile of fried chicken and other goodies in the front cooking area so we head in.

As inevitable as the rain, we order a curry rice set.

This one featured an incredible pounded sambal of chillis and blackened onions.

A tiny piece of fish in a roasted spice gravy, it's all about the sauce really.

One of our favourite condiments was this sambal of raw onion and green chillis in a sweet tomato sauce.

A heavier, thicker, creamier dhal. Again, the dhal is always different, darl.

Fluffy light rice and a potato dish with coconut cream and curry leaves, all about R130.

School is out and the main street is getting busier.

After we've already eaten (and can't eat no more) we spy this intriguing fusion of Sri Lankan and Chinese - 'Sin Chin'. Just...can't...eat..anymore...

The school kids know a good treat when they see it and queue up for ice creams.

Short eats and short pants.

This strip had a number of tiny take away carts catering to the schools and hospitals nearby.

Peanut lady spruiking her wares.

They come by weight, coated in chilli and a mix of fried curry leaves. Free maths exam paper with every order.

Boxes of lump rice ready to take home.

We try some sweet looking cake but as has happened often on this trip, it was stale.

We consider buying our very own tuk tuk for only R80,000 (about AUS $600)!

We could set up business here, or just travel around the countryside. The only downside is if you sit in the back you don't really see anything. Scratch that idea.

Near the train station is the National Hotel and Tea Room.

We get into a strange conversation about books and Jane Austen with a local bibliophile.

It's a busy place that serves the train clientèle.

Thoughts and stomachs turn to wattapalan. After we had eaten the owner asks us 'Do we need more wattapalan?' What a question! Yes!

After lunch in the new town we head back to the fort. We find a fine Galle pussycat doing guard duties.

Synchronised dog sleeping.

Mr Batik J Pussycat patrolling the streets. We find out his name after his owner watches us running down the street after him with a camera. Crazy tourists.

More great curd in a traditional clay pot. A reader tells us this is buffalo curd.

Even beauty soap has curry in it. On using this when we got home, the water ran bright yellow for days.

We walk around the large fort area in the afternoon misty rain.

King coconuts for sale.

The lady hacks away at the top of the coconut and gives you a straw to drink the goodness inside, you can also eat the sweet flesh too. Don't mess with her, she has a huge knife.

For dinner that night it's raining so we decide to stay local. We have a drink or three at the old Galle Fort Hotel and then head to Mamas Cafe for a tourist food set. For R750 each, it wasn't half as good as what we had at the new town hotel for a tenth of the price. The best part was the wattapalan and curd and treacle for dessert. It was empty when we went, but seemed a great place on a balmy night on the upstairs balcony.

We redeem our palates the next day with lunch before we get on the train at the same place as the day before. Chopped string hoppers with vegetables and egg and a couple of different curry sauces make us feel at one with the street food gods again.

A selection of short eats, veggie rotis and crumbed snacks.

Some curried chicken for a protein hit.

Inside the crumbed short eats are egg and fish, flavoursome and delicious.

The trains remind us of the old red rattlers in Sydney. We'll be heading north back up to Colombo on one of these before jumping a bus to Negombo.

Another missed Sin Chin food experience. Note Alison discussing the cricket with two friendly gents while walking around with her full travelling backpack on. Travelling light means we can walk around and discuss cricket anywhere, anytime.

Ingenious train vendor and his see through carrier with fried lentil patties enticing you to buy.

There's more food to be had as we head north, so we'll save it for Negombo.

We love Sri Lanka.


  1. Yeah, well I reckon I'd love it too. It looks like a place from a time long ago, like mid-century Penang maybe. Loved this post, especially the photos.

  2. Great photos and travelogue. By the way, the curd in the claypots is not bean curd, but buffalo milk curd.

    1. Good point - I think we wrote 'bean' by force of habit :-)

  3. You really need to do a backpack post - I'm stumped at how you travel so light when I pack the entire closet to take with me.

    1. It's easy if you travel to hot places. When we travelled through China in winter my bag was huge!

  4. Great post as usual!! =) Nom nom nom nom


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).