The curfew cuisine diaries from Sri Lanka goes fishy
With the lockdown ended, we get to go to what would be generally called a 'farmers' market - known as a Pola over here. Being an Island, we've got Fishermens' markets too.
From the very centre of the country to a beach, any beach, is a maximum three and a half hour drive (okay, lets be cautious here, say four and a half hours) away. The distances traveled in that time would make you laugh out loud. From North to South our islands length in-toto is 270 Miles and from East to West its breadth is 150 Miles. Lets just say there are a lot of squiggly bits in-between, leave alone a lot of vehicles, many of which are tri-shaws that are beloved by foreign visitors and hated by local drivers, that makes rapid progress nigh on impossible. The good news is that its changing. We can reach the southern most tip of the country in an hour and a half. But being on an expressway means you miss out on a lot of things that make this island special. There are more expressways in the pipeline. Sigh. What cost development...
Find your way to a fisherman's market though and you will be spoiled for choice. These markets don't have a "fixed abode" - they are created when the fleet of fishing boats from the area come in. That's usually early to mid morning or early to mid evening. Finding one is truly serendipitous.
The fishing season in Sri Lanka is seasonal and driven by the monsoon. The fishermen are itinerant and move with the seasons. Right now, we are in the middle of the South-West monsoon. These were pictures taken in the North of the country, this time last year, at a Fishermens market. I have to beg pardon, because my knowledge of the individual types of fish is virtually non-existent. I do know the "dalloh" (squid/calamari) and the shrimp. Also in the mix are our local sea crabs (their claws are thin and long and they generally are blue in colour).
The interesting thing about fishermen in the North of Sri Lanka is they have options. They can either harvest their fish and shrimp and crab from the sea, or from the lagoon.
Everyone loves a good seafood meal occasionally. Crab curries on a Sunday, Lobster Thermidor for special anniversaries, Prawn Curry with hoppers, Fish Curry with string hoppers, Fried Sprats for no reason other than "they were there". The fish alway taste better when you get them straight off the boat. Or (if you really want to crow about it) off the beach!
I apologise. I couldn't resist that last sentence!