Try an authentic Sri Lankan restaurant? Do I even know where Sri Lanka is? I was fairly certain it is an island, maybe near India. (Let's just say I'm a little geographically challenged). A Google search showed I was correct in both my assumptions (whew!). So I set off to sample this new-to-me cuisine at Kadupul in Dublin.
First off, the restaurant staff at Kadupul gave us a helpful tutorial on the menu selections. We opted for Sri Lankan Pan Rolls (with fish) for $4.99 as a starter. These reminded me slightly of egg rolls, but very lightly breaded, with a great flavor that wasn't "fishy." Dipping sauce kicked the hotness up a notch.
You could also begin with curry puff patties for $1.50 each, or frikadels, battered, breaded and deep-fried cutlets at $5.33 a serving.
For entrees, we went with family-style selections. The first choice was Pineapple Fried Rice, a delicious rice dish that had some shrimp, cashews and raisins ($14.99).
The chili pork was beautiful to look at with its white Tabasco peppers, but those peppers were just too hot for this gal to handle. I maneuvered my way around them, and the rest of this dish was delicious ($13.99).
My companion and I found ourselves gawking at everything that was coming out of the kitchen because it all looked amazingly good.
We also had some curry rice with our meal. The food was so plentiful that both of us ladies got to take home nice doggie bags.
A Sri Lankan husband-and-wife team owns Kadupul, which opened in April, 2010. They told me the focus of their restaurant is on healthy items, as traditional Sri Lankan food uses herbs and spices that have medicinal effects to help with different ailments.
Kadupul also features foods you might not find in other local restaurants — lotus root and naga viper peppers, supposed to be the hottest of their kind on the planet. Since everything is made to order, though, you can ask for whatever level of spiciness you prefer.
There's also a lunch buffet on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For $10.99 you get a choice of meat or fish, four sides of veggies, three other sides of your choosing, a pickle, papadam (a deep-fried chip), rice and a tea or soda. The choices change often, so you will have a different experience each time you stop by.
On weekends there are special combination meals that might be a good way to get your first taste of Sri Lankan cuisine. You start with a choice of white, brown, or yellow rice plus four veggies, a meat or fish selection, dhal (four types of this lentil dish are offered) and papadam. The combinations cost $12.99.
Kadupul has many salads including a Seafood Salad for $15 or a Chicken Salad for $13. It also has curries and sizzling grill platters, about $13.99 to $17.99.
If you have room for dessert, you can have creme brulee, bread pudding, a chocolate biscuit pudding or a Sri Lankan fruit salad with ice cream.
Drink choices are plentiful at Kadupul as well and include a tropical smoothie, a fruit nectar, ginger beer and many teas. Ask your server about the various hot teas that are supposed to remedy different ailments.
Kadupul also offers takeout and banquet services.
Kadupul, 8939 San Ramon Rd., Dublin, 925-556-3170. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m. Closed on Mondays.