I was feeling hungry the other day (shock, gasp, yelp!) as I was going home after work, and anybody knowing the area would agree that there is not a single pastry shop/cafe/petti kade, etc to be found around there, the area being the bathroom central that it is (this part of Nawala is bombarded with shops selling bathroom fittings, tiles and the like. Whose bright idea it is to flock all bathroom shops in this place I do not know). However, as I started crossing the road and wait for my trusty office transport I notice this duwanagiriya by the side of the road willed with roti-like disks and what to my delight looked like isso wadei! Determined to get myself an isso wadei, I hastened towards it. On closer inspection I noticed that what looked like isso wadei was not the isso wadei that we know. Oh well, it had isso on it and looked flat like a wadei so I bought three of it. And almost missed Gamage transport in doing so as well!
The man had hastily taken the wadei-like disks out of the hot oil and packed it up for me so it was quite hot when I took them out. As I opened up the parcel, a delicious aroma filled the van and I noticed out of the corner of my eye a few nosy aunties peeking in as well. It looked quite spicy (my palate has low tolerance for chilli) so I gingerly took a bite. And then, I was hooked.
Although it looked like a wadei, it was a small round roti, a combination of what I suspected was a hint of ground dhal, plenty of coconut, flour and a dash of Maldives fish here and there. It was topped by three scrawny looking prawns and was deep fried in oil. The seasoning was just perfect. Not disappointingly bland like some street food out there with a hint of chilli and the perfect amount of salt, just enough to bring out the flavour of the dhal and the coconut and of course, the scrawny prawns. Not too overpowering either so my palate was happy. The man had topped each disk with a dollop of curry (a thick sort of gravy like what you get with koththu) and a generous sprinkling of finely diced fresh onions and green chilli. It was indeed, a textural extravaganza. As you bite into the wadei/roti, at first you get the yielding softness of the roti followed by the tad bit harder shell of the prawn. Once you start munching on the mouthful, you are treated to the fresh crunch of the onions and the slight sting of the green chilli all blending with the overall mellowness of the rotti and the flavourfulness of the prawn. Gravies usually gross me out but the gravy that was added to this actually adds character to the whole food spectacle. It gives the very necessary streety-ness, that tastes-so-good-that-it-must-be-bad-ness to the whole thing, rounding it up in that special way that makes you hide your saiwar kade cravings from your mom.
Will I buy from here again? Absolutely. Although I’m bit of a health nut and this is anything but healthy, (oozing with oil, complimented with mysterious condiments god-knows-how-old and kept at a dusty old open cart) I am quite fond of my street food. Yes, I’d definitely go back for more for my weekly street food fix. Want to try the big white roti that looked like godamba roti next time. Wonder what obscure delights he would be offering with that one! True that the picture does not look too alluring, but that’s the beauty of street food ; they overdeliver and amazes you when it comes to the taste! I should also maybe add that these wadeis were hastily gobbled down after the picture :)