Reef Fishing at Sunset, Unawatuna, Sri Lanka© Chulie de Silva
It is only the people who have lived near a reef that know about the tasty special varieties of reef fish. These fish though tasty hardly ever find themselves to a fish market. In Hikkaduwa, we didn’t have stilt fishermen but the men would walk to the reef with a pouch strapped to their waist, the long rod in their hand to fish as the tide came in with the fish.
My favourite was “Baderu” a fairly small flat fish, a little bigger than your palm, which was delicious deep fried or made in to the popular chillie and pepper curry that down South we called the “mirishodda.” The fried version was popular with the men for sundowners and the latter with the perennial favourite Sri Lankan specialties pittu, stringhoppers or kiribath. I would write ahead before going home for the holidays from my grandmother’s and ask my Amma to have baderu for that all important first meal together with family.