Wallet-friendly Sri Lankan fare that does the trick
Sri Lankan grub is severely underrepresented in Hong Kong, with only AJ’s Sri Lankan Cuisine in Sai Kung flying the flag for the small island nation. Until the arrival of Serendib, that is. Situtated in Sheung Wan, the restaurant is fairly low key: dark wood booths and tables punctuated by green and blue walls are enlivened by retro posters and a hand painted mural of a traditional Sri Lankan fire mask.
The menu is straightforward and offers a number of wallet-friendly choices. We start with vegetable samosas ($30 for two), which turn out to be lighter than the Indian variety, filled with fluffy potato, carrots and peas. We move on to the mains and the string hoppers with lamb curry ($80) is a winner. The nests of hoppers – essentially steamed rice noodle buns – are delicately seasoned, chewy and satisfying. They’re perfect to douse in the fragrant curry. The parota with dahl curry ($70) takes things to the next level. The parota, the pan-fried traditional Sri Lankan roti, are buttery and crisped to perfection. Similar to a Shandong pancake, albeit thinner, they’re fantastic on their own but equally as awesome when used to mop up the creamy dahl.
Our resounding favourites, however, are the Sri Lankan street food staples beef kottu and chicken kottu with cheese ($100 each). These delightful mishmashes of chopped roti, stringy melted cheese, meat and sliced vegetables are subtly spiced, with hints of cinnamon and cardamom rounding out the satisfying savoury nature of the dish. They’re chewy, sinewy, soft and satisfying. Though, we can’t help but order an extra serving of the aromatic beef curry ($20) and spicy chicken curry ($20) to add a bit of lubrication to this otherwise dry dish.
Sri Lankan cuisine has a new champion in Hong Kong and it’s about time. Understated as the restaurant may be, Serendib has set Sri Lanka’s flag flying high with its street food classics that are light on the wallet but heavy in the belly.
Shop 2, G/F, Nam Wo Hong Building, 148 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan