With the aroma of sizzling meats in the air and the dim hue of string lights, I ventured optimistically to Foodiez on Street – a feast for Colombo’s bona fide foodies.
Lining Colombo’s Green Path on the warm evening of 11 August, the event was jam-packed with people of all ages, unabashedly indulging in all kinds of food. The food festival brought to the fore cuisine of every kind as well as folksy arts and crafts, all of which lent to the blissful and harmonious spirit lingering in the air.
Making my way up and down the stall-lined street, I was assaulted by a number of sensations – tantalising smells, the warm air of the evening, and a riot of noise and colour as people moved about, munching on their purchases.
Eager to partake in the pigging out, my first stop was Lak’s Queen Cakes, where I treated myself to a cheerful, floral cupcake – the perfect post-tea snack.
The cupcake, served to me by a friendly little boy, was adorned with almond icing, dousing my taste buds in a thick layer of sugar. The cake itself comprised a soft and simple base and complemented the sugary sweetness I had just gotten a mouthful of.
Having gotten my (temporary) fill of sugar, I was then almost involuntarily dragged towards a rich, meaty scent in the air. I found myself at TA’s Kitchen, which served an array of meaty skewers – prawn, homemade meatballs, chicken, and other equally meaty options.
Opting for the homemade meatballs, the skewer was fried then and there and doused with generous amounts of peanut butter sauce. The meat was very flavoursome and didn’t taste anything like the processed variety available at supermarkets. Both equally tender and chunky, it was easily one of my favourites from the festival!
Bonus? I didn’t end up making a mess of myself given that the meatballs were easy to remove and eat.
Feeling like I had space for more food, I opted for a hotdog from the Hotdog Express – the quintessential summer snack.
Choosing the all-meat option which was layered with various selections of protein and a perfectly executed fried egg on top, Lushani who runs the Hotdog Express proudly told me that all their items were crowd favourites.
They even had a vegetarian hot dog on display, which comprised a golden potato croquet stuffed in soft folds of bread – good enough to convert the staunchest of protein lovers.
Wanting to flush my system of a few of my recent “snacks”, I then ventured over to a stall run by Bella’s Tea Shop.
Here, both iced tea options – the lemon green tea and the hibiscus pineapple banana – looked cooling and thirst-quenching. Not wanting to load up on any more sugars just yet, I opted for the healthier lemon green tea.
The drink was refreshing, cool, and wholly organic, as explained to me by a friendly vendor. There were also various packages of flavoured tea powder for sale – perfect for tea lovers tired of the same old flavours.
Feeling a little lighter after my surprisingly flavoursome teatox, I made my way over to a promising looking stall. Once there, I was immediately presented with a Sri Lankan’s worst dilemma – choosing an achcharu to dig into.
Presented with numerous options such as wood apple, nelli, ambaralla, and more, I found myself opting for the crowd-favourite – the mango achcharu. Slathered generously with chilli powder, the somewhat crunchy mango was the perfect palate cleanser.
Despite being so full I could barely walk, I wondered if I would even be Sri Lankan if I didn’t try to cram some dessert before wrapping up my time at Foodiez on Street.
While I strolled down Green Path considering my options, my attention was drawn to the Russian Bakery stall, whose large display of candy caught my attention. With giant lollipops, trays of cookies, and moist cakes on display, I was suddenly trapped in every child’s fantasy.
While I was offered samples of the honey cake and a chocolate and coffee cake, both of which were equally delicious, I settled on some dark chocolate chip cookies – light, airy, and perfectly sweet; a fitting way to end my gastronomic tour of Foodiez on Street.
We spoke to some festival goers and stall owners and asked them what they thought about the entire event. Here’s what they had to say.
“It’s great to see food festivals like this happening consistently around Colombo. The food and the crowd’s really great and I’m having a fantastic time. Loved my food choices this evening but I’m hoping to try out some ice cream before the end of the day!” – Uthkarsha
“This was a fun and exciting event, I had a great time with my family and friends. I’m really looking forward to being back at more events like this!” – Kushani
“This is our second time at the food festival and it’s great to be back. The crowd always loves our meat skewers, especially the prawn and meatball sticks. Looking forward to seeing these kinds of events expand in the future!”
“We had so much spicy food and it was all really good. Colombo’s definitely a livelier place with this kind of activity going on! Hoping to try out so much more food before we head out tonight!” – Themiya, TA’s Kitchen
“This is actually our last event here at Hotdog Express, even though we will remain open for business through our Facebook page and other social media channels. This has honestly been such a great experience and we’re glad to have been a part of it!” – Lushani, Hotdog Express
Review by Archana Heenpella
Pics by Indika Handuwala