Did you know that Sri Lanka is among the countries with the largest consumption of bread?
Whichever country you are from, when you are asked what bread is, you likely don’t have to think for long. From baguette in France to Khobz in Morocco, all the countries in this world have their own bread and the relationship to it differs from country to country.
I take you today to the Sri Lankan bread. It is called Roast Paan. Have you ever heard about the Sri Lankan roast paan? It can be that even if you’ve travelled to Sri Lanka you have never come to know or eaten the Sri Lankan roast paan. You know why? Because for the sake of convenience, in the touristy areas they commonly use the packed toast bread and visitors end up leaving Sri Lanka without even knowing that Sri Lanka has its own bread, even though Sri Lanka is among the countries with the highest bread consumption. I’m not kidding. Sri Lankans are crazy about bread and they eat bread for breakfast and dinner as a main dish.
Even when they go on gaining weight they don’t stop eating bread.
What can I say? As a proudly Sri Lankan blood I assure you that you will love that crispy roast paan. And eaten with the red coconut sambal it is “è la morte sua.” (The Italian way to say the perfect food combination ever/delicious/heavenly). Of course, if you are not used to having a salty and spicy breakfast, try it for brunch or dinner.
In some houses they combine the roast paan with just onion and chili or coconut. Meanwhile, in some other houses it could be eaten with meat/fish/vegetable curry or orange lentils.
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”Mahatma Gandhi
The roast paan is sold everywhere in Sri Lanka, often even in the non-grocery shops. Nevertheless most people, especially in the village areas, usually go straight to the bakery and queue until the bread is taken out from the oven and is sold still warm. Therefore the roast paan makers, in addition to producing for shopkeepers and retailers, produce and sell for people wanting to buy from them during breakfast and dinner time.
That been said, as a huge fan of off the beaten path activities in Sri Lanka and elsewhere and a roast paan lover, I cannot help but recommend that you visit this roast paan makers in Udugampola, a small village close to Negombo and Bandaranayke international airport in Katunayake. Bus number 244 runs from both Negombo and Katunayake. It will drop you off near the bakery in Udugampola.
I thankfully came to know this roast paan bakery in Sri Lanka during my last vacation in the country. Alessandro and I were also queued there a couple of days around 7.30 pm in order to buy our warm bread. And you know what? We always finished it on our walk back home. When it freshly baked you really don’t need to pair it with anything. It’s good as it is.
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The bakery in Udugampola is located in Kirindiwita – Assennawatte Road (close to Udugampola primary school). I only know the street name. I don’t remember the house number but around 7.30 pm you will see the queue so you can’t go wrong.
Since Udugampola remains free from the mass tourism, here you can have an authentic roast bread experience. This definitely is the right place to see and learn how the Sri Lankan roast bread is made and distributed. By visiting this bakery in Udugampola, you will also realize how little things cost in Sri Lanka.
They have the freshest baked goods and they offer pastries and beverages for those who want to sit and eat quickly (very spartan arrangements).
So what are you waiting for? Feel the real off the beaten path Sri Lanka. Catch you at 7.30 pm in Udugampola. You should definitely try the Sri Lankan roast paan while your trip to Sri Lanka. It is one of the best Sri Lankan food to try in the country.