Most vendors at the Good Market have come out of humble households. Northern Palmyrah Trading comes from Jaffna and sells, as its name suggests, products of the Sri Lankan palmyrah (Borassus fabelliformis).
The ripened fruit of the tree is used to make panattu (Rs. 400) which comes across as a sweeter version of dried apricot that’s high in vitamin A and E. The roots of the palmyrah are high in calcium and are boiled and sun-dried to create odiyal which is sold in two forms – boiled root chips (Rs. 350 for 250g) and boiled odiyal flour (Rs. 400 for 500g). The chips are a little bland, but I suppose some chilli powder would do the trick. The flour is grounded odiyal, which is also the base ingredient for odiyal kool – a famous Jaffna delicacy. The sap from the tree is used to create sugar-free jaggery (Rs. 400 for 250g), ideal for people with diabetes and finally, the leaves are woven to create colourful bags and baskets which hang outside the stall.
They also sell lime pickle, treacle and paruththithurai vadai (Rs. 250), which makes for a fantastic snack. There are samples available for tasting at the stall.
Northern Palmyrah Trading exports to India, Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives and Europe too. I’m told they take on bulk orders for a lot of tourists here, mostly ones who swear by palmyrah.
You can catch them at the Good Market every Thursday or visit their outlet in Liberty Plaza.