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September 20. 2019: Drying Fish, Beruwala, Sri Lanka


Beruwala is a small harbour town on the South-West coast of Sri Lanka. We had intended to take a few photos of the colourful fishing boats there. However, as our tuk-tuk driver took us along the harbour wall in search of the best angle, we came across an equally good photo opportunity: a large catch neatly arranged in rows, drying in the strong tropical sunshine. It almost blocked our progress, leaving only a narrow path through.


Dry fish curries and stir-fries are an integral part of the Sri Lankan culinary repertoire. Dried fish is also a key ingredient in many types of sambol. You find market stalls and shops selling dried fish all along the coast. It comes in all shapes and sizes.




The last three photos were taken in a market town just down the road from Beruwala. Some of the fish we spotted on the harbour wall may well have found its way to one of these shops a few days later.


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The Sri Lankans sure know how to make some delicious curries from those dried fish, Professor -- thanks for showing how it's done, so simple really.  It's surprising how the tradition lasts, even in days of good refrigeration.  For example, in Alaska many of the dog team owners dry hundreds -- even thousands -- of salmon each year with which to feed their teams (and themselves) over the long cold winter.  Spaniards remain fond of dried salted fish for their dishes, and I'm sure there are other examples as well.

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"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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