Sri Lankan Cuisine: Hoppers
Hoppers, or appa in Sinhala, are one of Sri Lanka’s most popular snacks, available at nearly every shop across the country for breakfast or dinner. They’re good for a quick bite, and their preparation makes for fun spectating.
A thin layer of batter, containing coconut milk and a bit of toddy, is fried up in a bowl-shaped pan. This is the basic hopper, and it’s best eaten fresh. Because of the wok-shape, the batter at the bottom of the hopper is thicker and softer, and the edges turn crispy brown. Plain hoppers are served with spices or curry, as they’re a bit bland by themselves. Better, in my opinion, are egg hoppers — an egg is opened into the hopper and cooked along with it. Hoppers can also be made with sweet ingredients like jaggery, which is a sugar from the date palm tree.
String hoppers (or indiapa) are another popular Sri Lankan snack, which actually have very little to do with regular hoppers. Rice flour is mixed with water and salt, and then forced through a press to make long noodles. These are formed into balls and steamed until ready. String hoppers are a popular breakfast, and again served with curry. They’re not my favorite, because of the pale, wormy appearance, but Jürgen can’t get enough of them.