Malay Restaurant.

This is Dehiwala at street level. Malay Restaurant is a small eatery that’s somewhere between a restaurant and a hole in the wall food stop. True to its name it serves up a comprehensive selection of Malay food – which in Sri Lanka means lots of meat, particularly beef, offal, and sea food.

The dishes – while not cheap by street food standards – are fresh, rich and tasty. The secret is the meaty broth/stock which is kept bubbling for hours and reduces into a delicious base for all your favorite curries.Their range of beef curries (Rs. 300-400) is reliably tasty, as are the generous plates of prawn pepper curry and cuttle fish in peanut sauce.

There are some Malaysian/Indonesian staples on the menu – like Ikan Masak Lemak –  chilli padi fish in coconut sauce, and Ayam Goreng Asam – fried chicken in tamarind. But the real specialties here are Sri Lankan Malay classics – babath (tripe curry), fried brain cutlets, and hot spleen curry. While a lot of people have an irrational aversion to offal, well prepared organ meat can be delicious, and the Malay Restaurant does a great job making the insides of animals a delicacy.

For more conservative eaters there’s a wide and reliable range of biryani, satay and other non-innard based tastiness. It’s all really quite tasty and good value. While some people are hesitant to wander into Colombo’s hole in the wall eateries, Malay Restaurant is a good introduction to Lankan street food. However, it’s a bit of a soft intro as it also feature a scrupulously clean and air conditioned dining area, somehow crammed into the small space behind the shop front. Take away and delivery still seem to be preferred by most patrons.

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