by Anjali Raguraman
Sri Lankan cuisine is not readily available in Singapore outside of Sri Lankan homes. But in the heart of Tekka Food Centre, among stalls serving South Indian cuisine and vegetarian food, is Rasa Raja Bojun, a “rice and curry” stop where you can find the closest thing to authentic Sinhalese cuisine.
When entering Tekka from the main Serangoon Road entrance, turn left and it is among the stretch of stalls serving tiffin items and South Indian food.
The rice and curry options at Rasa Raja Bojun remind me of what one would get at pit stops along Sri Lanka’s highways – that is, two to three vegetable dishes and a fish, chicken or goat curry.
Much like choosing dishes at the nasi padang stall, you point at what side dishes you would like added to the pile of rice served on a banana leaf.
The parallels to Indian cuisine are inevitable, but Sri Lankan curries have a rich, coconut base and lean towards vegetables. The cuisine is also decidedly heavy on chilli and black pepper.
Raja Bojun means king’s meal in Sinhalese and the portions are equally generous at this stall, which opened almost three years ago.
Meals start at $4.50 for fish curry and two side dishes.
A friendly man with a warm smile – the stall owner, who goes only by Mr Odi – is happy to explain what is on offer for the day.
When I visit, items on the menu include fish curry made with tuna, Devil chicken curry, and snake gourd in a thick coconut curry.
The five vegetable dishes include a fresh kale mallung, which is made by finely slicing kale and mixing it with grated coconut and red onions. The freshness of this dish balances the heavy coconut flavours in all the other dishes.
There are also deep-fried options such as fish and chicken cutlet. The delicious fish cutlet, with the texture of a croquette, is crispy and warm, adding a crunchy element to my mix of dishes.
Sri Lankan dhal (parippu) is ladled on the rice as a standard item and customers can also get crispy pappadum crackers on the side.
If you don’t feel like having rice, you can choose string hoppers or pol roti, which looks like prata.
Either way, this is one of the more unique options among the plethora of foods available in Tekka, and if you are ever craving Sri Lankan food, this certainly hits the spot.