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Best Reason to Eat Out in Staten Island

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Staten Island boasts the third-largest Sri Lankan population in the world, and the borough’s Tompkinsville neighborhood blooms with Sri Lankan food. Over the last 20 years, the area’s become a haven for expats, many of whom settled here following a brutal civil war back home. Today the community is more vibrant than ever, with shops and restaurants selling pickles and sambal chutneys or cooking up rotis to go alongside fragrant coconut-milk curries. Even the city’s taken notice, its tourism board inviting visitors to explore “Little Sri Lanka” in a new ad campaign. Buffets dominate the landscape, but San Rasa, which chef Sanjay Handapangoda opened in 2008, offers table service for a more restaurant-like atmosphere. Deeply flavored mutton and black lamb curries and crepe-like hoppers made with lentil batter all sing, but the banana-leaf-wrapped lamprie is worth the trip alone. The Dutch-inspired parcel features a mixture of fluffy rice padded with curried meat and vegetables, perfumed with a vegetal undercurrent from the banana leaf. Sundays, take advantage of the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat buffet, which clocks in at a generous $11.

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