Selling fish from the back of a motorcycle

23 August 2003
By

This morning, we heard a guy yelling in Sinhalese from his motorcycle as he drove down our street. I asked Fahim what he was saying, and Fahim says he’s selling fish, and do we want some? Why not? So we go outside and negotiate prices with the guy.

Fahim asks what kind of fish, but he doesn’t remember any more, and he does know it’s not something that’s found in North America. After agreeing on a price, the fish guy weighs the fish, determines exact price to be paid, then pulls out his chopping block and knife and cuts it up for us right there, on the ground, behind his motorcycle. He tosses scraps to the neighborhood dog.

When he’s done, he puts all the pieces into a plastic bag, wipes his hands on a cloth he has tied to his motorcycle (and has doubtless been used dozens of times, if not more, after the last time it’s been washed, and this guy doesn’t use soap and water.) and Fahim pays. We toss it into the freezer to be eaten another day.

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One Response

  1. #1
    Emilie 

    Love your blog. My family and I lived in Sri Lanka for 4 years and i miss it so much!!! The food, aaah. I just happened on your blog when I was searching for a website to help me practice my language so I don’t lose it, and your blogs are making me hungry!!! Do you by any chance have a recipe for lunu dehee (pickled lime) My neighbor used to make it and hers was dry, just the peel and not too salty. I never had time to have her teach me and regret it so much, and now we are here. All the jarred ones are soooo salty. Thanks if you can help. Our sri lankan meals just don’t taste the same w/out it. Your blogs make me laugh. I too had the experience of buying meat from the meat stall. Tried to cook it and my nanny popped a filling eating it 🙂 Also got a kick out of some of your other posts. The fish guy “Maloo, Maloo!” Hope your language learning is going well. I also learned the alphabet near the beginning and it really helped. Don’t worry, it gets a bit easier to recognize the letters. My husband is more an auditory learner so he never got it down. Where do you live? We lived in Tangalle (a small fishing own 1 hr from Matara.) Sorry, long comment!!!

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