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I recently heard about another Sri Lankan restaurant: Bownie, a Jaffna joint in Flushing. Definitely next on the culinary adventure list. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it before!
I did visit Nirvana recently—twice, actually. The first time, I met a friend there for lunch. He and I had previously been to Sigiri for lunch. They don’t have a buffet—you have to order off the menu, which both he and I like anyway. Nirvana, on the other hand, had a buffet. Always game for a bargain, we both tried it. They had mackerel curry, which I avoided and he tried (and didn’t like); the Sri Lankan favorite, mutton curry (okay, but not really spicy enough); a saffron-tinged rice (nice, but a bit oily); and assorted vegetables. It was passable, but not really good. I find that buffets cater to the lowest common denominator, spice-wise. We left somewhat disappointed, but I resolved to give them another chance for dinner.
I made the trek down for dinner a few weeks later, to meet up with a group of young Sri Lankan-American professionals I’ve gotten to know. We try to get together every couple of months for dinner, and Sigiri is our usual haunt. Continue reading
I decided awhile back that I would start a blog when a good reason came to me—when I thought that a blog by me was really worthwhile and would say something that wasn’t already being said somewhere out there in the ether. And then, pretty recently, I realized that my subject had been there all along, and that I already commented on it all the time: Sri Lanka. So here goes: I blog about Sri Lanka, about Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka, about Sri Lankan politics, about Sri Lankan food, about Sri Lankan art, about Sri Lankans in the diaspora, and especially about Sri Lankans in New York, because I am fortunate to have met a lot of them since moving here.
(Of course, in the proud tradition of blogs worldwide, I also reserve the right to blog about whatever else I want.)
Today’s Sri Lankan news item of the day: the opening of Nirvana Cafe. Nirvana joins Sigiri and Dosa Man among the Sri Lankan culinary offerings in the fine borough of Manhattan. Old haunts Taprobane and Lakruwana are long since defunct (or in the case of Lakruwana, moved to Staten Island). I haven’t yet been to Nirvana, but I’m excited to go. It’s going to be pretty inconvenient for me—it’s located on 3rd Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets—but I predict that this will be no barrier. I already go to Sigiri all the time, and that’s on 1st Avenue between 5th and 6th Streets.
While Sri Lankan food in Manhattan is great—Thirukumar of NYDosas has been a Vendy finalist, and also sells Sri Lankan ginger beer—my brother and I also like to venture to Staten Island to get some home cookin’. He favors New Asha. If you call ahead, maybe the day before, you can get a lot of food to go. We take backpacks and make the long trek from the Upper West Side to the ferry. Then we walk 20 minutes to New Asha, where we pick up our food. I’ve actually only done this with him once, but it was fun, and to our great amusement, we knew at least one other person in the store. (This topped only by the incident in which we went to Taprobane with our parents, and my father knew everyone in the restaurant.)
I’ll save my favorite New Asha eats for another post. There are that many.