In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Local Flavor.”
Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.
When you are out and about in Sri Lanka, spending a whole day in the sun might get you really tan—whether you like it or not—but you can always find a street stall to sit and enjoy a natural king coconut drink and freshen yourself up. Or you can find a local diner, order local cuisine and indulge in as many rice and curry dishes as you like. The curries will make you want to learn Sri Lankan cooking but that’s not the point here. Those curries aren’t a possible recipe without the local ingredient ‘Coconut’. Most of the delicious dishes of Sri Lankan cuisine are cooked with the help of coconut milk or coconut powder. If you have been a tourist in Sri Lanka, you must have had the whole ‘nutty experience’ of coconut and if you are planning on visiting ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ soon, don’t forget to take on the whole nutty experience.
Thousands of coconuts are consumed by the locals regularly and sold commonly in the markets or street stalls in Sri Lanka. You are bound to see another coconut tree every half a mile you travel and you will notice how most gardens and areas are filled with coconut trees. If you are traveling on the coastal side by train or car, you can enjoy an incredible sight of the coastal areas that are covered with fully grown coconut trees touching the blue sky. This extremely tall tree is a part of the everyday living in Sri Lanka for its thousands of uses; and ultimately, every part of the coconut tree is used and consumed in different ways, economically or domestically by Sri Lankans. The list of coconut based products is endless and a significant number of local families live on
the sole income of selling coconuts of their coconut plantations or coconut based products.
Most male villagers free-climb coconut trees that are as tall as 100ft without any help, ropes or safety nets for a living. Thanks to these talented coconut tree climbers, many locals—and tourists alike—can stop their luxurious car on the way to work and quickly grab a king coconut drink from a street seller for a cheap price.The King coconuts are commonly known as “Thembili” by the locals and is sweeter than regular coconuts which can quench the thirst of any weary traveler. The refreshing tonic is sold in the street coconut kiosks and the natural sweet flavor will satisfy your thirst right away.
Coconuts are not limited to the use of cooking yummy dishes or quenching thirst as a drink. Sri Lankans are masters of making use of the Coconut trees. The coconut shells are used in spoon making and as firewood as well. The coconut husks are used for firewood, and also as brown fiber which is used to make brushes and mattresses while the trunk of the tree is used in building houses. The coconut palm/leaves are woven by village women and are used in roofs as a cover in the village houses.The flowers of the tree that eventually produce the nuts are used in decorations for religious ceremonies. The parts of
the tree’s trunk are used to make wooden ornaments and souvenirs as well. The ekel brooms made of the strong palm stems are used in every Sri Lankan household to sweep the ever falling leaves in the front yards or back yards.
The coconut tree is truly a natural wonder and Sri Lanka has got plenty of sun to keep them growing. If you are a traveler among the locals, you’d be seeing how this magnificent tree is the life source of most Sri Lankan’s lives.