In the perennial debate on where to get the best Chinese in Colombo, we’ve always backed Flower Drum. My tongue oozes at the memories of huge bowls filled with pearly white rice, sloppy helpings of kankun and crispy hot butter cuttlefish – but most of all I think of those several accompanying teaspoons of the best condiment in the world: chilli paste.
What is it that makes the chilli paste at Flower Drum so good? Is it the fact that it includes prawns? Or that it’s served with generous lashings of oil? Or could it be msg?
We don’t know. What we do know is that this is the best chilli paste in Sri Lanka - and we can’t get enough of it.
You can buy it in bottles from the restaurant. You can take it home and put it on everything you eat. Pizza, fried rice, pasta, noodles, rice and curry, everything. Even the dullest meal can be lifted to life with just a little bit of this chilli paste.
This is Sri Lanka in a bottle. Anyone who’s travelled abroad knows the misery of a meal without chilli, and the spicy condiment has been a loyal companion to many of our Lankans abroad.
But do note that transporting your Flower Drum chilli paste to another country can be hazardous – many a trouser and shirt have been ruined. Follow my grandmother’s method to ensure you don’t end up with spicy undies:
1. Tape around the lid of the bottle with brown tape
2. Wrap bottle completely with three layers of newspaper
3. Finally wrap and tighten a plastic siri siri bag over the bottle and seal with tape - there's no way that oil's escaping now.
We’re aware that our superlative praise of the Flower Drum chilli paste is a bit subjective, so tell us what you think: what’s your favourite and why?
A bottle costs Rs. 250. Worth every rupee.