Sunday, March 21, 2010

AJ's Sri Lankan Cuisine: Kotthu for You

I dropped by Sai Kung a while ago for my first ever Sri Lankan meal. We made our way down the main street, rejecting all the beckoning from the many Cantonese seafood restaurants and made our way to the quiet stretch of Hoi Pong Street. A cute, rustic-looking cottage stood out… with a Sri Lankan flag waving about at the door.

This was it. AJ's Sri Lankan Cuisine.

(AJ's "bread basket")

We walked into the cottage, into a dining room complete with wooden chairs and tables and a strange but amusing faux waterfall sort of decorative contraption inside. Not knowing the Jacks and Jills of Sri Lankan cuisine, we sort of winged it and just picked a few random things from the menu.


First up was the pittu ($45), known in English as lightly roasted fresh rice meal with shredded coconut steamed in a bamboo mould. The dish was unexpectedly bland. Which is where the accompanying curry and sautéed onion sambol came in handy. The flavors are actually very similar to Indian food, thought seemingly less intense. Interesting… but not awe-inspiring. The beef kotthu roti ($68), on the other hand, was much more well-received. According the menu, this is a “Sri Lankan street-side specialty” made from elasticized doughy pancake, shredded and stir-fried with veggies, meat and eggs. It was so comforting… like the Sri Lankan version of Chinese fried rice.

(Kotthu roti: like fried rice)

But having nothing else to compare it to, I’m not sure how authentic AJ’s is. All I know is that it’s the only licensed Sri Lankan restaurant in town (at the time of writing of course) and, if you haven’t tried Sri Lankan food before. It’s worth checking out. After all, if you decide that you don’t it, you can always go back to one of those Cantonese seafood restaurants out there.

FOOD: 3/5

14 Sai Kung Hoi Pong Street
Sai Kung

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