The Time I Made Cookies for Buddhist Monks

The house before dana was a mess. Don’t take me wrong: physically, it was clean and shiny. The floors had been scraped so hard you could almost see your own reflection. The furniture had been moved to create more room. New beautiful tableware replaced everyday plates and cups. The mood, though, was somewhere on the…

One Day in Cambridge, MA: What to Do and Where to Eat

This year 39 000 people applied to Harvard University. A little over 2000 were accepted. I was there during the week when freshmen arrived in the end of summer and watched those kids drag their suitcases across Harvard Yard and pull mattresses out of cars parked in Harvard Square. Never do I envy people’s money…

Pol Roti, Sri Lankan Coconut Bread that Should Be Your Kitchen Staple

Five hours before a Sri Lankan-inspired dinner I promised to cook for my friends I walked into an Indian grocery store to buy ingredients for the said dinner. Me: I can’t find frozen coconut anywhere… Shop assistant: I am afraid we ran out of it, madam… Me (in the best traditions of Bollywood movies, almost…

Singapore: Streets and Eats

Three days in Singapore proved to be not enough to eat all the foods I had on my extensive must-try list or walk all the streets marked in the map, but I tried to do my best braving the rain, waiting in line to get the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world, and even eating ice…

Best Foodie Souvenirs from Singapore

I have a magnet from Singapore on the fridge, but it doesn’t speak to me. Not one particular memory comes to mind when I look at the piece of plastic shaped as Singapore skyline. On the other hand, a tea spoon of kaya jam revives memories of my first breakfast in the Lion City and…

The Time I Tried the Cheapest Michelin-Starred Meal in the World

Every January I sit down with magazines, scissors and glue to make a wish board. Every January for the past three years I glued a picture of a sophisticated dish on a large white plate to represent a meal at Michelin-starred restaurant. As per visualization law, I imagined myself all dressed-up sitting in a fancy…

Breaking Coconuts Like Nobody’s Business

A few months before my big fat Sri Lankan wedding I learned that according to local traditions one of my male family members had to break a coconut during the ceremony. With a huge knife. At the first try. In front of over a hundred people. The closest my Russian relatives have ever come to…

Where to Try Sri Lankan Food in Colombo

Colombo is rarely on anyone’s radar when visiting Sri Lanka. Travelers arrive to Bandaranaike airport and straight away drive down south to the beautiful beaches or into the Hill Country to see mountains. The capital is left out which I understand full well: Colombo isn’t pretty and there’s not much to do. I would go…

Kitchen Staples: Sri Lankan Edition

I don’t want to sound nosy (which means I will totally sound like it!), but I love peeking into other people’s shopping carts while waiting in line to cashier. Mostly, because in USA people buy a completely different set of products than I do. I’ve been once asked whether I am a vegetarian by a…