A taste of Sri Lanka in Taipei

Pumpkin and Passionfruit Curry at Sour Time in Taipei

I discovered Sour Time via a review in the Taipei Times and went to sample its dishes today. This small unpretentious restaurant offers a range of Sri Lankan style curries. I ordered the Pumpkin and Passionfruit Curry. It tasted as interesting as it sounds. The sweetness and fragrance of the passionfruit combined perfectly with the complex flavours of the spices used in the curry. 

Vegetarians are very well catered for at this restaurant but there are also some meat based dishes. The menu is excellent value with most dishes priced at NT$100. Sour Time is located at No. 16 Lane 66 Section 2 Roosevelt Road (台北市羅斯福路二段66巷16號) just a one minute walk from exit 7 of Guting MRT Station (古亭捷運站7出口). With the convenient location and cheap prices I will go back soon to try some more of Sour Time's menu.  

Sri Lankan restauranteur Atula at his curry shop in Xindian, Taipei

The other place offering Sri Lankan food in Taipei is Athula Curry House in Xindian. If you are visiting Bitan it is hard to miss it, located right next to the steps leading up to the suspension bridge. Athula offers several different types of curry wrapped in a roti. All are priced at just NT$50 or 60. Athula is a very friendly and has lots of interesting stories. If he is not busy he is always happy to chat.

Like Prince Roy I am still waiting for Taipei's first South Indian style restaurant, but at least there is another style of sub-continental cuisine on offer in addition to the North Indian style food served at most Indian restaurants in Taipei.  

8 thoughts on “A taste of Sri Lanka in Taipei

  1. Thanks for the tip about Sour Time. I’ll have to try it out next time I’m up that way.

    Add me to the list of people who’d love to see some South Indian food here – although I’m not sure if it’ll ever be possible to find a breakfast place that sells authentic masala dosa here.

    After about 10 secs of talking to Athula the first time I went to his place, he correctly guessed me as being Australian. He’s the only person in Taiwan who’s ever managed to do that – even other Aussie’s think I’m either English or American.

  2. I’m going to take your word for it and try this place, because that pumpkin and passionfruit curry looks mighty interesting. But I want to point out that review in Taipei Times by Noah Buchan is a prime example of why I’ve only read that newspaper at most three times since I got here in June 2006.

    Sri Lankan curries are lighter than the yogurt-heavy versions found in most parts of India.

    What ‘yogurt-heavy curries’ is he referring to? ‘Most parts’ of India? I’ve been to ‘most parts of India’ and I do not recall any yogurt-heavy curries at all. You’ve lived in India yourself and I’m surprised you let him get by this easily.

    Actually, as someone who has spent time both in South India and Sri Lanka, there is really no comparison. I thought the food in Sri Lanka was disappointing, to be honest. A poor man’s version of Tamil cuisine. It completely lacked the sophistication and complexity of South Indian food, particularly when compared with Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

    Major props to Athula, though. His roti are simply the best in Taiwan, full stop.

  3. The blog of Sour Time notes: 謝謝Noah的採訪,雖然文章裡有些小錯誤,可能是我的中文說太快了. [translation: Thanks Noah (Taipei Times) for the interview, the article has some small mistakes, maybe I spoke Chinese too quickly]

    I agree that Sri Lankan food pales in comparison to what is on offer in India. There are also many myths about Indian food. The so-hot-you-can-barely-eat-it “Indian curries” popular in the UK are probably responsible for it in part. These curries were actually made by Bangladeshi restaurateurs to appeal to local tastes. “Chicken tikka masala” was invented in the UK. Many people think tandoori is a kind of spice, when it is actually an oven. I could go on…

  4. LOL. My wife and I enjoyed Sri Lankan food very much, Roy. We liked its lightness and liberal use of coconut. I think a problem that visitors to India have is that they eat in restaurants that cater to the tourist/backpacker population and have adjusted tastes accordingly — you have to live in Indian to experience Indian food, know which places are good, etc. That was a problem for my wife and I — we wanted to sample what that locals ate, but often we didn’t know where to go. That said, I can’t recall eating any yoghurt-heavy dishes in India. We drank lots of yoghurt, but didn’t eat much.

    Michael

  5. You make a good point Michael, about visitors to India eating in tourist type restaurants. The food in those is definitely different to the more “local” places. One of the best Indian meals I ever had was a veg thali at a midnight stop during a local bus ride from Kolkata to Siliguri.

  6. In my experience when I visited Sri Lanka in 2003 the choice of restaurants was very limited. It was hard to find good food or restaurants anywhere, not just in tourist restaurants.

    I think it is partly related to curfews during the war (although there were no curfews at the time I was there) and also because outside Colombo there is very little urbanisation.

  7. Pingback: Prince Roy’s Realm » Blog Archive » Come Again, Soon! (Also: Jolly’s Brewpub)

  8. Just tried Sour Time (great name–suitably descriptive of my dining experience there), and can say without a doubt that it was some of the worst curry I’ve had in Taipei in recent years–and that’s saying a lot!! Truly incipid slop, and not a hint of Sri Lankanness about it!! It’s cheap, but in this case, you truly get what you pay for… On a side note, the potato soup was actually edible, but I can’t fathom what if any connection it had to Sri Lanka… Avoid this place like the plague!!

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