In the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka, is the madness of Pettah Market.
It’s possibly the best place in Colombo to get initiated into the local Sri Lankan hustle and bustle, to ingest the sounds and smells, and to get a flavor of life in Colombo.
At Pettah Market, life thrives.
If you’ve read any of my previous articles on Migrationology, you’ll have noticed that I am a market fanatic – especially of the food variety.
I think it’s important to visit a local fresh food market everywhere you travel.
Markets are where people conduct their lives, make a living and purchase necessities.
Pettah open air fresh market includes a combination of knick knacks, bails of clothing, a huge section of fresh produce, electronics and dvd’s, and massive crowds of people.
The produce section reminded me of Yangon’s Thiri Mingalar market, with the yelling, the sounds and all the chaotic action.
Pettah Market is where Sri Lankan’s come to find super deals on food.
The market distributes a lot of wholesale fruits and vegetables, so many buy in bulk. Vendors deliver their goods as fast as possible, sprawling everything out onto the ground and hustling to make sales, just like at Hanoi’s Long Bien market.
All kinds of chilies are a necessary component in Sri Lankan food.
Pettah Market is always stocked with a fantastic selection of different chilies ranging form green peppers to the magnificently HOT cobra chilies.
Baskets and baskets of overly ripe fruit are in abundance at Pettah. Choose your bananas by the stalk!
If you’re in the market for fruit, Pettah Market will be a life-saver.
As a lover of fruit myself, I struggled trying to take photos with my camera while purchasing kilos of mangoes for cheap!
Wood apples are a Sri Lankan love affair. They smell like blue cheese, but taste like sour tamarind pulp. Made into a wood apple fruit shake, they can be excellent.
Yet even as customers run from vendor to vendor and vendors yell to make sales, some people just hang out and enjoy the scene. This girl and her brother were hanging out as their father ran their market stall.
Dried little salted fish are popular for flavoring Sri Lankan cuisine.
Lunu Miris, which is a sauce made with red onions, dried chili pepper and Maldive fish is an extremely tasty Sri Lankan garnish.
I have an odd obsession with bitter melon. It’s not just that I love eating bitter melon, but I also love the way they look. Their exterior bumpy skin is just too cool looking!
Sri Lankan food is characterized by spices. To get the most spices for your money, head over to Pettah Market and grab a few bags of freshly ground spices. They aren’t in fancy packaging, but they sure are authentic and flavor food deliciously!
Do you need a new shirt?
At this wholesale clothes dealer in the clothing section of Pettah Market, there was a continual loudspeaker blasting some sales advertisement in Sinhalese. All I can say is that it must have been a good deal, as there were plenty of Sri Lankan’s digging through the pile of shirts.
When you visit Colombo, make sure to check out Pettah Market. Go anytime of the day, but especially in the morning and late afternoon.