The bread's the thing at working-class Sri Lankan joints like Staten Island's New Asha Café. Mottled brown on top, gloriously gummy underneath, rectangular rotis stand atop the counter folded and stacked like diapers ($1). Next to them totter amazing bowl-shaped breads called hopperssome plain, others with a still jiggy steamed egg melded to the bottom. The rim is crisp, but the ricey-tasting hopper becomes progressively softer as you eat your way to the bottom of the bowl. The Sri Lankan rendition of dosas, called thosas, are also available, with or without a potato filling. Breads can be paired with relishes called sambols (no charge), or with one of the fragrant curries on the steam table (most $3.50 each), which wreak delicious changes on our ideas of Indian food, while spotlighting the island's diverse ethnic population and alluding to past colonial powers like Portugal, England, and... More >>>
By photo: Tania Savayan
Snacking Sri Lankans often dash into New Asha for some bread and a dab of sambol.