Beautiful Bunnis.

A Guide forNon-Sri Lankans (or the woefully ignorant) on How to Pick and Identify a Bun.

All buns are beautiful. But some buns are lies (maalu buns have virtually no maalu). Sri Lankan buns are intriguing, especially with their names. We've got a range of sweet and/or sambol buns which will guarantee giving you either diabetes or gastritis. Or, as in the case of seeni sambol buns, both.

We picked out a few varieties we think are endemic to SL (though we can be wrong, soz) and listed them below as a quick guide.

Kimbula Bunnis

Kimbulas are crocodiles, and this is named after the infamous reptile for its elongated shape. Tax your imagination a bit and you'd see sharp fangs and stumpy little feet on this misshapen cylinder. Splattered with sugar, this has a rather thick and chewy crust with fluffy insides. 

Jam Bunnis

There's generally a dollop of saccharine-sweet jam atop this (and it doesn't have a crater in the middle even though this does). It also has powdery little bits of dough or crumbs dusted across as well. It's a plain tea bun that has a few add-ons, and is quite interesting for the clash of textures. Not to be confused with a doughnut, you heathen.

Jam Paan

A bun that's called paan (bread) this is incredibly sweet. Not only is it stuffed with gooey jam, it's also got a ton of sugar over it. Easily identifiable by its scallops and sugary exterior, this is your one-stop-shop to diabetes.

Maalu Paan

The most misleading of all, the maalu paan is neither fish nor paan. If you think The Cake is a Lie, this bun is even more of a lie. It continues to mystify us as to why people are still surprised when they don't find maalu in their 'paan'. We keep buying these, breaking them in half, and sadly commenting on how it's mostly a potato sambol with a bit of onion and fish mashed in (if you're lucky).

It's also notoriously spiced up with copious amounts of pepper, most likely in an attempt to make people forget that they're missing a fundamental part of the bun as they try to wipe off their tears and assuage the fire in their guts. (ok, it's not that spicy all the time).

Egg Bun

This is from Perera and Sons, so it has an extra piece of egg and a lick of sauce in it. Usually, there's just two tiny slices of egg with a piece of chilli. Honestly though, it's not too bad. It's nothing spectacular either, but perfect if you want to just get your nutritional quota coverered: you've got protein, carbs, and a bit of vitamin if there's lettuce or tomato in it. This is a hit and miss, but definitely one of the healthier options out there.

Dangara Bunnis/ Coil Bun

(AKA We-don't-know-what-it is-so-we-made-the-name-up)

Rather self-explanatory when you look at it really. Kinda surprised it isn't known as a snake bun/ nai bunnis a la kimbula bunnis. It's regular dough rolled up in a coil and baked. It has a glaze more often than not, and sometimes is sprinkled with sugar. Life with buns here are sweet.

Seeni Sambol Bunnis

More honest than the infamous fish bun with the missing fish, the seeni sambol bun actually has proper seeni-sambol in it. For those who don't know, it's a caramelized onion and chilli dish. We like our sugar and spices. I don't really know how or why this is so, but it just is.


So that's our pick of local buns, folks. If there are any we've missed (didn't use the jodu bunnis or seeni bunnis), do let us know! When in doubt, remember the old adage: 

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