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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Hopper Mad!

Hoppers in London - finally located!

I encountered hoppers when I was in Sri Lanka last year and from the first bite I was hooked. I could eat them every day and I could most definately eat one right now! Hoppers are like pancakes but rather than flat, they are bowl shaped because they're cooked in bowl shaped pans. They are much lighter than pancakes,  more wafer thin and are made from fermented rice flour batter giving them a slight sourness. Because they are bowl shaped, you can opt to have a filling inside, a popular breakfast dish is 'egg hopper' where by the egg is cooked inside the hopper as it cooks. You can peel the sides off and dip them into the yolk just as you would toast soldiers. Just like this:


Plain hoppers can also be eaten with curries instead of rice or bread, they taste sublime and are very healthy. Ever since I got back to the UK I've been craving them but they are a mission to find! There's a lot of Sri Lankan restaurants in London but not many that serve hoppers. 

Raveen, a Sri Lankan friend of mine recently drove past Hopper Box in Gants Hills (in Essex but also on the Central Line of the London Underground so very easy to get to) and it didn't take much persuading to get to down there.

So on Friday night myself and three friends ventured East and sampled Hopper Box

Trouble was the menu had soooo many yummy sounding dishes, I came there for hoppers but was drawn in to all the other specialities. 

So aswell as two hoppers (priced very reasonably at £2.95 for the pair) I also had a pumpkin curry and pittu - a kind of steamed rice/coconut cake, again a substitute to rice and judging by the link, very complicated to make! My cohorts also had hoppers as well as chicken and devilled anchovies. 


It was a fine establishment, very clean, spacious and welcoming with a theatre style kitchen so you can watch over your hoppers being cooked. It's quite new still and they're not sure how to manage the numbers - it was packed so with just two members of staff there was alot of waiting involved. This just meant I had to order a second mango lassi which was no problem as the first was delicious.

Mango lassi is a combo of mango and yogurt

Food was good, hoppers wereworth the wait but not as 'tall and bowl formed' as they should have been.

In Sri Lanka, I loved eating hoppers for breakfast, here they are at the Galle Face Hotel where I spent my first night:

And here at a really sweet art cafe in the colonial coastal town of Galle where they had endless fillings, I even tried a sweet version with bananas and honey.....ahh the memories.

Next up Raveen plans to show us another eaterie that serves 'better' hoppers in Hendon, hope to go there next month and will report back.

Until then, here's a parting shot of the boys drinking Lion Brand beer, the official beer of Sri Lanka.

1 comment:

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