If you say “Hondahitha” to a Sri Lankan, the first thing that they will be reminded of is “Dosthara Hondahitha”, the Sinhalese adaptation of Dr Dolittle by Titus Thotawatta. But if you’ve frequented the Nugegoda suburbs, it’s also the name of a very popular brand of curd that’s been around for a couple of decades. They have had a small stall next to the Nugegoda petrol station for as long as I can remember, a proper store on Pagoda Road and now, a little cafe in Kohuwala.
Hondahitha – The Curd Shop is inside the same building that houses the ODEL store and the Keels Super in Kohuwala. It’s a giant grey block on Dutugemunu Street. You can’t miss it if you’re looking for it. The curd shop is at the back and thankfully it does not share the same dystopian decor as the premises.
Inside, it’s not a giant space, but they’ve made good use of it. Instead of cramming it with as many tables as possible, there’s only a few, which gives patrons room to breathe and stretch out. It’s very clean, bright and airy. The wooden tables and chairs combined with the yellow lighting make for a really nice warm ambience.
Their staple dish is the curd, and it is so so good. This is the kind of curd you usually have to travel miles and miles outside Colombo to get. Nothing like the “curd” you’ll get in supermarket freezers. Not even a hint of sourness here. It’s good solid curd with no liquid residue that you could eat without any added sweeteners. That’s exactly how it should be.
You can buy the regular 1.5L clay pots at Rs. 250. If you’re looking for a quick bite, they also serve tiny “curd buddy” pots for Rs. 40. You can have treacle added for another Rs. 20. They also serve a Hondahitha Special with cashew, honey and treacle for Rs.250.
Speaking of treacle, they sell some of the best. You can get a bottle of Sinharaja treacle for Rs. 750 or Deniyaya treacle for Rs.470. Honey is also available at Rs 990 a bottle. If that’s too much sweetness, they also sell half and quarter bottles.
Curd may be their staple, but their speciality is waffles. I really wanted to try this out after hearing much praise from friends who frequent here. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. These were light, buttery and very tasty. They weren’t very thick but that gave them a slight crunchyness that was very appealing. Unverified sources claim they add some curd to the waffle mix which gives it this distinctive texture and taste. All I know is that they were delicious and I can’t wait to try more. At Rs.150 this is a steal.
What you absolutely should not have is the coffee. The less said about it the better. I don’t think I’ve had a worse coffee anywhere. Stick to the curd and waffles and you’ll be full and happy.
If you’re in the ‘hood, definitely try and stop by to sate any small hunger pangs. It’s really worth it. They also have other hard to find things like Kithul Flour and Garlic in Honey. Even if you aren’t here for the waffles, this is the place to get your curd, honey and treacle.