– Hey everyone, I hope you’re having an amazing day! It’s Mark Wiens, I’m in Colombo, Sri Lanka. And I am part of The Hungry Tourist’s Best of Sri Lanka Food Tour. We are starting for lunch today at a restaurant called The Station, which is known for their crabs.
It’s right along the beach, it’s in a beautiful setting. The crab is gonna be mouth watering and we’re getting started right now. (upbeat reggae music) (speaking in foreign language) What’s up? Thank you so much for having us.
– Glad to have you here. – And the restaurant is called The Station because it’s right next to the railroad track, right? Such a cool restaurant, it’s on the beach. You have sand at your feet, and you have amazing views of the ocean, the breeze, beautiful, beautiful place.
Nice to meet you. Hello, nice to meet you. Wow, whoa! What size are those crabs? – It’s about 1.4, 1.5 kilos. – (laughs) Even the claws– – But they were from 1.2 to 1.4 kilos. – The claws are monster, like huge claws! Like the size of your fist! The chefs are getting started on the crab curry.
These mud crabs are ginormous. Those claws, literally, if you make your fist, those claws are like twice the size of your fist. Wow, and then the meat in them, there’s both male and female. They’re just gonna prepare and clean up the crabs first before they make it into the curry.
And these are the spices and ingredients that go in? He’s gonna get started on the Sri Lankan crab curry now. And first, oil goes in, then garlic. The aroma of that garlic is unbelievable! And now he’s about to toss in, I believe those are curry leaves.
– [Chef] Curry leaves. – Green chillies and tomatoes go in and he’s just kinda sloshing that around. My mouth is already watering and he hasn’t even added in most of the spices and the crab! (upbeat reggae music) So chili, cumin, and turmeric powder and then black pepper, a small mountain of spices go in, just kind of slosh that around, it soaks up, absorbs that flavor.
Oh man, that is a base of just powerful, beautiful flavor. So this recipe is actually your family’s recipe, right? – Yeah, passed on from my grandmother, to my mother and the now she’s, yeah, from down south.
– Southern. – A little family twist to it. – Oh here come in the crabs. I wanna put my face in there with the crabs. And now you’re just kinda stirring it and kinda shaking it at the same time just to coat the crab in that spice, that thick, rich spice.
Get an aroma full, it is unbelievable. He added in some water, and that kinda dilutes the spice paste and that spice is just gonna fully saturate into the crab, into the meat, into the roe, into those claws, and all that flavor is gonna just mingle into the crab meat, that’s gonna boil away for about 30 minutes or so to really bring out that flavor, and then coconut milk will be added.
So they’re also making a cuttlefish dish. What’s the name of the dish? – Hot Butter Cuttlefish. – Hot butter Cuttlefish. Hot butter Cuttlefish it’s one of their signature dishes at The Station too, they’re gonna prepare that next.
Taste it right here? – Taste it, taste it! – Alright, this is the famous Hot Butter Cuttlefish! The fumes just went up my nose! We gotta taste test it right now! – [Man] Yeah, get it, get it! – Hmm! – Yup.
– Oh, yeah. – Yeah, baby, oh yeah baby. – Sri Lankan Chinese influenced dish, the harmony, the balance, the cuttlefish. So good! The full Hungry Tourist Sri Lanka Tour is here now, uh, and they’re just bringing out some oysters as that crab curry is still brewing away.
Some raw oyster with some achar sauce. Oh that achar has a fruity taste to it too! Back in the kitchen again now, and they are making another type of oyster; baked oyster with cheese and what else is in here? And chili, oh yeah that, that, that, okay, okay! Oh, hmm! And the garlic in there! The garlic too! Yeah? Really good! (upbeat reggae music) – [Chef] Fresh water king.
Fresh water black pepper king. – [David] Let me serve you! – River prawns stir fried in black pepper sauce. You can smell that black pepper from here! (people chattering) Oh, thank you man! Look at the size of that head! Massive! Oh wow! Oh, that black pepper! I probably have a black pepper mustache right now.
I know what we gotta do! – [Man] Oh dude get a bite of that roe! – Thank you. – Right in, boom! – [Man] Are we gonna cheers? – Cheers! – Cheers! (all cheering) (upbeat reggae music) – Oh wow, that sauce! – [Man] Many of you asking us about textures of a roe prawn, I mean a fresh trimming, that is the texture.
– You taste the pepper pronounced but at the same time it tastes like, harmoniously blended into that sauce. I didn’t even see the lobsters coming! It’s a surprise! Surprise lobsters! – Surprise! – And these are massive spiny lobsters, looks like they take out the meat then stir fry it with some, it looks like the black pepper sauce again.
And then you’re just like scooping it out by the spoonful. – With lime! – Oh, okay! – Alright, you ready? – Thank you! – For a little bit of lime? – Alright, let me focus. – Okay, some more. – Oh, thank you, lime! Perfect, thank you, Ben.
Oh wow! Dude, its so tender! (laughs) – Delicious! – Oh man! – Oh, that is unbelievable! – Yeah, amazing. – [Mark] And with that citrus, the squeeze of lime. Oh the, it just melts in your mouth. That is unbelievably succulent, and naturally sweet.
– Oh, yeah! – So good man. And Ochicha said that they’re gonna serve the crab now so I’m heading back to the kitchen. (upbeat reggae music) He added in a bunch of coconut cream, coconut milk, and then a little bit of what I believe is a tamarin paste like sourness, and now just kinda like letting that slow boil.
The aromatherapy is just out of control. Oh, awesome, and that’s an ingredient I wasn’t expecting, he just tossed in a handful of Moringa leaves. (people chattering) – Thank you. – How is it? – This is unbelievable.
– Awesome. Let me get the size of that claw! It’s massive! – So good, the flavor is incredible. – [Mark] Awesome! – [David] Extra dishes, anybody? Anybody want some extra spicy? Come to papa! Okay, that’s for Mark, that’s for Mark.
– [Mark] Thank you guys. – And give him some. Mealtime! – Cheers, Doody! – A crab. Oh look, oh look! (upbeat reggae music) – A spicy crab first, literally the entire plate. The claw takes up the entire plate.
It goes, if you were to spread this out it would cover the entire plate. Oh (laughs) the claw just, the claw just fell apart! I’m sure you could catch a ball with this, with this claw. It is huge, and the meat in there is just, you smell the, all the spices, you smell the curry leaves.
I’m gonna see if I can dismantle this guy. (laughs) Next method, just suck the meat from the top. Oh, wow! The actual meat, it’s like unbelievably flaky, unbelievably sweet. Will you? – Yeah, I’ll tie one for you.
– Will you bib me? – I will bib you! I will bib you! – [Man] I’m focused, I’m focused. – Alright you’re good to go! – Thank you very much! – There we go. – Always be sure to get a bib before you crack a crab in Sri Lanka! Thank you! – You’re most welcome.
– [Mark] Oh yeah, it’s just sliding out. This thing is… Actually maybe you just gotta kinda hit it! (people laughing) – [Man] There it is! – Yeah, I know! – Mark’s got it down! – Oh yes! – Yes, look at that! – Oh! – How profesh.
– [Mark] That’s such a thick shell. Okay, now it’s time to one-bite this. I’m gonna add some of the sauce to it though. (upbeat reggae music) That’s just, just speechless. The flavor is unbelievable. And the natural crab is unbelievable.
– [Man] Good idea. – And the way it’s cooked is just, it will blow the taste buds off your tongue. The pol sambol next. I was in Sri Lanka, probably in 2012, 2013 for a while and it, I vividly remember the amazing food but there is one thing that I ate every single day at every single meal, and that was pol sambol, which is coconut sambol.
This is my first time to eat it back in Sri Lanka for my, this is my second trip. It’s shredded coconut, there’s chili in it, they put some dried shrimp in it, it’s so flavorful, it’s wonderful. You literally can eat it on everything.
Now I’m gonna move on to the actual, this one is their grandmother’s recipe, the real Sri Lankan crab curry. You can see the Moringa leaves in here, you can see the curry leaves in here, you can smell them! – [Man] Yeah, of course! – Oh wow! Oh, you taste the curry leaves, you taste the blend of spices.
It’s not too overly rich, it’s almost like a soup at the same time as a curry, as the same time as you’re eating the crab. Body section here, here into this guy, oh, it’s just dripping and oozing with, oh, look at that! It’s delicious like stringy flakiness, and that’s just been like saturated with that curry sauce because it’s been boiled for over an hour with all that, I’m just gonna re-juice it actually.
You can never re-juice enough! You can never over-juice it! (people chattering) That original recipe is just stunning. – Take some of that, soak it in here. – [Mark] They’re teaching me how to eat it the Sri Lankan way.
Okay, cool! Okay, break bread, the pol sambol with the gravy with the, this is with the dried shrimp? – [Man] Yep, yeah. – [Mark] And then with the curry sauce? – [Man] And then take some crab meat. – [Mark] And then load up? – No, take– – Load up some, load up some crab meat on top.
– [Man] Yes, yeah. – [Mark] One more, and then one more dunk into the, one more dunk in the sauce? – Yes! – Okay, there we go. The ultimate Sri Lankan crab curry pol sambol bite. (upbeat reggae music) Oh, wow! That’ll blow your mouth away! That’s just unbelievable flavor, the curry, the fresh coconut so you’ve got that crunch, the like crab that’s just saturated with the curry sauce.
And it’s so, like, tender that it just, it just strings apart in your mouth. (people chattering) Yes, oh, thank you very much! The service! Thank you very much! – [Man] It was nice. – Wow, what a stunning, stunning meal! – I think that The Station is really the first place that every tourist that comes to Sri Lanka has to come to, has to go to.
Because here they opened the door for Sri Lanka love. Here they make you feel welcome, and here they give you the pure flavors of Sri Lanka. – [Mark] Thank you so much, man. – Hey man. – It was amazing.
– I’m a big fan, so it was an honor to have you here, man. – [Mark] Thank you, thank you so much. – [Man] A pleasure man, a pleasure. – Thank you. – We’ll see you tonight? – [Mark] Yes, I’ll see you this evening.
– See you tonight, man! – Thank you so much. (upbeat reggae music) Let me introduce you all to Ruzaina, The Minority Taste. – Hi! – She is an amazing person, she loves to eat, she’s passionate about Sri Lankan food and we’re gonna be hanging out with her a lot during this trip, she’s planned a lot of things, a lot of fun, a lot of food, but we finished up at The Station, we had amazing crab and just hanging out with everybody and now we, it’s a few hours later, it is time for dinner.
Where are we going tonight? – We’re going to this place called Thuna Paha, so it’s like a proper Sri Lankan restaurant, a little upscale but it’s run by the Sri Lankan government. But the food is super good, it’s local and really good! – Cool! (upbeat reggae music) – Hello! – Hello.
– You must be Mark. – Mark. – Mark, I’m Mishan. – Nice to meet you, thank you very much! Greeted with a stack of Betel leaves which represents prosperity, long life. – Longevity. – Longevity, and it’s a part of the culture.
– It’s a part of the culture. – Thank you very much! They got all the spices laid out here. They’re gonna be making a crab curry, but also one of the dishes that’s very famous to eat in Sri Lanka is a pork black curry, and he’s gonna cook it in a clay, clay pot? That’s the traditional style.
– [Chef] This is mustard seed. – Mustard seed? – Yeah. – Curry leaves? So we started off with coconut oil and waited for that to simmer, then he added in mustard seed, cumin seed, and then curry leaves and pandan leaves.
And as soon as he dropped that into the oil, you could smell the aroma, just that poof of like curry fumes came out of that oil, smells so good, then he just added in the onions. – Cinnamon. – Cinnamon is about to go in.
(upbeat reggae music) – Tomato. A little bit of water. This is some coconut milk. – [Mark] Now it simmers? Now it simmers for, it cooks for how long? – Hmm, 10 minutes, 10-15 minutes. – Okay, and then finished? – Yeah.
– The aromas are almost too much to handle. Chef is offering me a taste test. Wow! That’s incredible. – A little spicy? – Good, very good. Finished with the crab curry, that is a stunning dish, the coconut milk is so thick, so rich, so much spice in there.
Now they’re gonna start with the pork curry, pork black curry. So that’s just been roasted, curry powder. – [Chef] We season it. Tamarin. – Tamarin. He first took the pork, then he mixed in the spices, the curry powder, the roasted curry powder which is just curry powder that’s been roasted in a pan, and now he’s just heating up some coconut oil that the, that’s then gonna be fried.
– Cardamon pods. Garlic. – But one of the key differences is that he added cardamom pods which have been crushed. And now he is adding in some green chillies. Oh, that aroma! – [Chef] Salt. – So then the spices that he mixed with the pork, that’s just for the marinade, but even all the spices go into the sauce as well so the layers, the depth, the complexity of spice on those two layers.
(upbeat reggae music) That curry is gonna cook for about 20 more minutes, just simmer away, let that pork mingle into the spices and the fat melt into the sauce. Oh, wow! Total different taste because of that smoked out, roasted curry powder.
Amazing, very good. And you taste like the, you taste all the spices and then you taste like a tomatoey undertone of it. Okay, the dishes are ready, the entire group is here, we’re going out to start eating! – [Chef] Rice flan in coconut milk, salt and sugar.
(upbeat traditional music) (singing in foreign language) – Buffet style but just for our group so they set out all the food. Yeah, so that’s, it’s very convenient. Oh and there’s that black pork curry.
I’m sorry, pork black curry. It’s not a black pork. – A lot of music from over there. – It’s a black curry! They brought out Koththu Rotti which is, it’s a really flat, very thin Rotti and what they do is they chop it up, they mix it with curry sauce, they mix it with spices, they mix it sometimes with egg.
This is a special version, and then they sprinkle it with chillies, there’s tomatoes, there’s onions on top. Oh yeah! It is awesome. And yeah, just packed full of flavor. The egg is curdled in there. (upbeat reggae music) – It’s unreal.
Oh my goodness! – Burrito style! So this is the pork black curry inside of an egg hopper with some of the sambol on it. That pork black curry that we saw them making, I am going to, look at this entire fried curry leaf, I’m gonna wrap this up.
(people chattering) Mmm! It has such an incredible roasted chili flavor. The complexity of spices, the layers of spices, brilliant combination of everything you want in your mouth. – [Man] The best of both worlds right there.
– And one of the best things about hoppers is how the edges are crispy, but on the bottom it’s like, pancakey and like spongy. Sinan doubled up! (moaning) You’re dripping! – You see, it’s coming! – And then you get to the egg, the yolk, it explodes! Doody just had a vision, and he’s gonna make me a, make me a hopper! – The crab curry juice, it’s so tasty, we’re not gonna get a little bit, we’re just gonna get enough.
And two, and double. I’m gonna try this one with Rotti. – [Mark] Oh yeah! – [Man] You see? You’re gonna try? It’s, nobody’s talking about it. – [Man] It’s almost illegal. – [Man] This is gonna be illegal.
So you see, it’s not runny any more. – [Mark] One more scoop of that chili sauce? This one, yes! – [Waiter] Challenging spices! – I never, never argue with someone– – That one is good! – Who loves what I love.
– Doody special. You can feel it squishing in your fingers. Hmm, ah, a whole chili! Just finished with dinner, I’m here, I don’t know if you can see, oh yeah, you can see the reflection but next to the lake, the restaurant is beautiful, the food was unbelievably tasty.
We ate those dishes that we saw them cooking but then more dishes, the egg hoppers, wrapping them all up, the spices, the flavor, the chillies, an amazing and outstanding meal and such a relaxing, chilled out environment.
It’s been actually an incredible day, starting with the crab, an amazing lesson in Sri Lankan crab curry, the family recipe. Thank you so much to The Station, and everyone at The Station. I want to say a massive thank you to David the Hungry Tourist for arranging this tour on his Best of Sri Lanka Food Tour, and to everyone else who helped, who organized, who set everything up, thank you very, very much.
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