Stilt Fishermen Stirs Memories


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.

 stilt-fishermen-3-blog-dsc_0129.jpgAs “Baderu”  got scarce I would often wait for the fisherman that we knew who fished regularly and book all his catch for the day. Ahh… what wouldn’t I give for a taste of “baderu” now.

3 thoughts on “Stilt Fishermen Stirs Memories

  1. “Baderu” Mirishodda and boiled manioc Tapioca) and Pol (scraped fresh coconut), a glass or two of freshly tapped Toddy, sitting under a coconut tree by the beach in Hikkaduwa and chatting away with the woman who provided all this heavenly goodies and my friend Anil who is now shivering in Ontario, Canada as I write this on Dec 9th 2008. That scene was 43 years ago, seems like yesterday. The paradise I lost.

  2. While I’ve not tasted the special fish you mention, every meal eaten in Sri Lanka the four years lived there was memorable. Like France or Italy, it is hard to find a bad meal. Thanks for your memories I am reliving my food memories. Alas, no where to find anything comparable in No. VA. It’s all in the fresh ingredients most of which can’t be found here.

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