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Mar 4, 2009 05:38 AM

Sri Lankan food

Other than the Curry Bowl in Woodland Hills, and the annual festival in Santa Monica, are there Sri Lankan restaurants in the Southland?

I'll admit it... I was watching Anthony Bourdain and the food looked just... incredible.

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    1. Have you been to the Curry Bowl out in the land of the Apemen, Das? It has had some good comments here over the years as far as I can recall.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        I haven't -- I know of its existence, but frankly I was sort of hoping there'd be a tiny pocket of Sri Lankan culture in Utter Long Beach or maybe a forgotten corner of Bellflower or Artesia or something... the Valley of the Masses is a long, long way from Anaheim.

        But I may end up going anyway... that cashew curry looked INSANE.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Good News: The Curry Bowl in Tarzana is arguably the best Sri Lankan restaurant in the United States today (I've asked around amongst my Sri Lankan friends on both coasts and they swear it's presently the ONLY Sri Lankan restaurant in the United States).

          Bad News: The Curry bowl serves a very limited selection of Sri Lankan food. Almost exclusively downmarket Sri Lankan street food (the sort of stuff you'd find in every dive, and street stall in Colombo). Mostly short eats and roti dishes; starchy, homey, greasy, and uncomplicated (the sort of thing ex pats drive 50 miles each way for, but non Sri Lankans don't really get excited over).

          Good or Bad News (depending on your point of view): If you want something not mentioned on their very short (maybe ten items, some of which they're always out of) badly photocopied menu, you're at the whim of their twice daily buffets. These can be very, very good Sri Lankan home cooking... or bad indian steam table fare. They used to have live music for their nightly buffets... I don't know if they still do. On most weekends they make string hoppers, which are like birds nests of doughy fresh noodles served with thin curry for drenching and dipping.

          I like Curry Bowl. I drive there from Santa Monica occassionally... but I doubt I'd drive from Anaheim.

          Incidentally, the Santa Monica Sri Lanka Day Fesival is terrific... but it's honestly just more of the same. Sri Lankan street food, nothing fancy, nothing complicated, nothing that doesn't heat up nicely in a microwave or on a steam table.

      2. ...sigh...those of us who were living here back in the 80's will, I'm sure, fondly remember the Sri Lankan Curry House on the corner of Highland and Fountain. I wish they were still around. (One of the cooks opened a smaller and not-quite-as-good place in a creepy neighborhood on Yucca St., north of Hollywood, but I'm pretty sure they closed years ago.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: annagranfors

          I remember that place on Highland & Fountain... nothing in it's class since!

          1. re: annagranfors

            Had a memorable dinner there with some friends, one of whom absolutely adored really spicy food; the waitperson asked 'How spicey do you want your food sir" and friend replied "let it roll" - well when the dish came and after taking a bite, friend bolted from the restaurant and was last seen running round the little apron of a parking lot in front begging for water. He is still talking about the experience. We all loved it (mild on the spice please) and subsequently found a Sri Lankan restaurant in a tiny strip mall off Overland Ave in Palms which didn't last longer than you could say Sri Lanka but the breakfast noodles (as I remember) were delicious.

          2. my sri lankan roommate says that there are like 2 sri lankan restaurants in the US. one of them is in NY. alas, none of them in LA. can't understand why since sri lankan food is sooooooo good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lakeshow318

              Has your roommate tried Curry Bowl?

              1. re: Servorg

                no i don't think so. he's only tried a restaurant in NY. we live kinda far from curry bowl, but we'll have to make a trip sometime.

            2. Das... I'm SO bummed I missed the episode!

              The food IS incredible, but I'm Sri Lankan, so I'm a little biased :)

              There's another place in Anaheim my cousin was telling me about, but he said it was not as good as the Curry Bowl, so I took it off my radar. I googled this, so I'm not sure if this is the place or not: Wadiya Sri Lankan Restaurant: 949 S. Euclid St., Anaheim

              Other than that, there aren't any other restaurants (until I win the lottery and open my own!). There's also a handful of people who do catering; kind of like underground take-out, that you plan in advance.... although, in my opinion, it's hit or miss.

              There's a great store that imports various curry, seasonings, chutney, tea, etc. that is unparalleled in the area: Sri Lankan Delight, 19016 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana. it's a few blocks east from the Curry Bowl. It's a small store in a strip mall - no fresh produce, but frozen goods, bottled & canned goods, and dried goods.

              India's Sweets & Spices does have a small selection of Sri Lankan things, but the selection is about 1% of what Sri Lankan Delight has, and you have to watch expiration dates.

              2 Replies
              1. re: The Oracle

                Wadiya menu (you'll have to zoom in to make out the text):


                Lamprais, no poppers. Looks more promising than the two Sri Lankan places in Santa Cruz.

                1. re: The Oracle

                  There is a Sri Lankan restaurant in Anaheim. I have eaten there. They do serve very fine hoppers, and they have a steam table, and they serve a yoghurt type of dish with treacle (from Palms) that is very refreshing. I went there with my neighbors who were from Thailand and they said the food was authentic enough. I have eaten at my neighbor's home and had sri lankan curry (made with about thirteen spices) and all sorts of other dishes, some quite hot. My observation is that Sri Lankan cusine tends to be somewhat heavy generally and such dishes as the lobster my neighbor made was very tasty if hot. Hoppers are a specialty and a lot of them are consumed, sort of a crepe with an egg in it, againawfully good. Look up the website and the LA Times Review In the book I have that spans almost all the Asian countries there are Sri Lankan recipes for anyone who's interested, by Charmaine Solomon, and I used it to make a creditable Sri Lankan curry. See the website