Surely, it’s a Sri Lankan Crawl!

Sri Lankan Delight Grocery

This past Saturday, I gathered 12 others for a feast of Sri Lankan food. Most of us had never had it before. Along the tour, we also stopped by Sri Lankan Delight, a grocery specializing in what else, Sri Lankan groceries.

Among other things, you can buy instant string hoppers. No one bought any as far as I know but it’s nice to know you can. Check out more of my photos on flickr.

buffet at Curry Bowl

We had stopped at the grocery on our way to Curry Bowl where we had a a late buffet lunch. It was about 2:30 or so so they had already run out of things and it wasn’t the freshest. My fave was the spicy greens.

my plate

I also tried the jackfruit (what I thought initially was fish), lamb and chicken. I skipped the white rice, onions/chopped chilis and dessert. If I was in Tarzana again, I wouldn’t mind stopping by to order something off the menu. When you first walk in, you think it’s just a tiny cafe inside a strip mall with a 7-11 but no, they have a larger dining room upstairs (with approximately 6 tables). Buffet is $9.99 a person on weekends, $6.99 during the week.

Pryiani Sri Lankan Cafe

Still, it couldn’t compare to the freshly made, cooked-to-order meal at Priyani. This small cafe behind Larry’s Produce serves up some spicy food!

beef appetizer

We started with the appetizer plate which had three perfectly fried things (rolls, pattis and cutlets) including this tasty beef roll. When I called Priyani to let her know we were coming, I requested a meal for $15 a person. It’s amazing just how much food came out.

string hoppers

The string hoppers reminded me of Vietnamese tiny vermicelli but instead of the square or rectangular shapes, these were round like tacos. In fact, it was on Abby’s post that I discovered Priyani and how to eat these string hoppers. She said Sri Lankans normally tear the pieces and pick up the food much like injera for Ethiopians or as I think, naan for Indians . She and her group ate the food like tacos. We were served a combination of coconut sambol (the fluffy brown stuff), dal curry (the yellow) and really, really spicy chicken. You can mix it all together but I chose to use the dal to lessen the pain the spice was causing my mouth! A bite of spice, a bite of dal and repeat.

kotthu roti

Next out was the huge platter of kotthu roti which has often been described like Mexican chilaquiles. Strips of roti (or bread) are cut up and then stir-fried with an array of veggies and chicken.


I loved this! I thought the rice was really savory and of all the chicken I’ve had from the various dishes, this one was my favorite. The fruit and cashews in the the dish really worked as well.

A vegetarian in our group requested something he could eat (oh ahahaha, I forgot to tell Priyani to make at least one dish veg friendly) so she whipped up this delicious eggplant. I could have eaten the whole bowl by myself.

workin' on my plate

I didn’t even get seconds of anything and yet I was completely full. Uh oh, what’s that I see? A sweet ending.

creme caramel and watalappam

Priyani surprised us with dessert. Oh god, how can I refuse her hospitality?

I loved the watalappam, the dessert with the nuts. It reminded me of pumpkin pie. She said there was cinnamon in it. Aha! The other was like a delicate, decadent rich flan. Both are gluten-free as it’s only made with eggs, sugar and spices. The flan-like dessert is lighter because it uses only egg whites but the watalappam is full-fat. Oh, why not?

Read about Carina’s take on the day here on the UncouthGourmands blog.

Sri Lankan Delight

19016 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 774-1237

Curry Bowl

19662 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 609-7683

Priyani Sri Lankan Cafe

9035 Reseda Blvd
Northridge, CA 91324
(818) 998-6900