Enjoy the island's juicy and crunchy tropical treats.
Insanely delicious, Sri Lankan mangoes are many in variety, and whether you enjoy it as a juice, fruit salad, or nibble one, the taste is simply great. Sri Lanka’s famous spicy Mango ‘achcharu’ sprinkled with pepper and chilli powder, and soaked in vinegar is one of the best street foods. The Jaffna Karuthakolomban is the most sought after variety for having the best taste.
This seasonal fruit cannot be missed. Vendors beckon passers-by, splashing bunches of juicy Rambutan harvested from the orchards of Malwana. These red balls of fur are so attention-grabbing in roadside stalls during its peak season from May to August. The lychee like flesh inside is sweet- ly supple and delicious. The sap on the skin tastes bitter, so avoid using teeth to open the rind. A small groove with your thumbs will open it around the equator.
Queen of tropical fruits and the food of the gods, Mangosteen with its conspicuous deep purple rind hides the most delicious sweet white flesh segmented like oranges. Rich with antioxidants and vitamins, the fruit is opened by squeezing it firmly between the palms. Be cautious not to chew into the seed inside the flesh, as it’s extremely bitter.
A barely known fact is that Kaju Puhulang or cashew apple is a false fruit that is actually a modified fruit stalk. The real fruit is the kidney shaped drupe hanging below, covering the cashew nut. Extremely juicy when ripe, although not too sweet, Kaju Puhulang is best eaten with pepper, salt and sugar, and never plain, as its highly caustic ‘tannin’ flesh can coat the throat.
It’s not so much the sharp spikes on the outer skin of Durian that looks nasty, more difficult to overcome is its infamously intense smell. Inside, the soft cream-filled custard like pulp, sweet and buttery in tex- ture is nothing like the odour it gives out.
Oval shaped Gaduguda is addictive because of its soft membrane enclosed segments that are juicy, varying between sweet and sour. Thank goodness this pale yellow fruit grows in bunches, because one hardly satisfies.
Palu fruits are not common as they grow mostly in the wild. A ‘delicacy’ among sloth bears, these fruits are extremely sweet, hence ideal to boost energy levels during the hot season. Be on the lookout for this wild fruit while in the Dry Zone, especially in places like Yala in May and June.
Their flushed red skin exude a beautiful glow when in full bloom. Jambu is a small bell-shaped fruit that is crunchy when bit- ten. Generally sweet, the local way is to eat it mixed with pepper and salt. Pini Jam- bu, the other variety, is not so sparkly like its smaller sibling. This pale cream fruit is quite large in comparison and distinct by its squishy texture.