Photo from a far superior Avurudu set by Suneth.
Honestly, I’m not a fan. Of Avurudu sweets. Kawum a bit, but I’ve more than my share this season. Mun kawum, kokis, I honestly find them all dry, dusty and not that good. Not that I don’t love Avurudu and the giving and stuff. I just don’t think Sri Lankan sweets are that good.
Sri Lankan Sweets, In General
Maybe it’s a winter thing. There are any number of adventurous and unique fruits here. You can literally pick dessert from the trees. Whatever desserts we’ve evolved are, frankly, not that good. I think it’s partly because we don’t have a real baking culture and because dessert isn’t that big a part of a meal. You’ll have sweet sweet tea or a banana, but I rarely have dessert. Perhaps it’s just me. I think Sri Lankan savory food can’t be beat, but our sweets leave much to be desired.
A rather floppy kawum
Kawum is the one sweet I kinda like, but it can get dry and horrid pretty fast. If you want an oozy, soft kawum, Dunhinda on the Attidiya road does a good one. Your average kawum is dry, hard and not great. This is still my favorite Avurudu sweet, but I’ve had waaaay too many this year. I honestly didn’t feel that well. There’s one left in the fridge but I’m going to go throw that away right now to allay temptation.
I think this is Aluwa. What type or demeanor I’m not quite sure. I find this sweet invariably, dusty, dry and choke inducing. I honestly can’t find anything to redeem this. Perhaps like kawum it can be done well, but I’ve never had a good one.
This is some sorta dry noodly thing, covered with coconut syrup, I think. I must admit that I’m biased here. I don’t like anything dry, especially if it fragments unpredictably. I don’t even like papadum, which I know makes me a heathen. So, I don’t like this sweet. It’s dry and not that sweet.
I don’t like this at all. Something in here is related to peanuts (which I’m allergic to) and it always makes me feel like I’m going to die for about two minutes. Again, I guess I’m biased, but I have an extremely bad reaction to anything vaguely peanut like in taste or smell. This uses mung flour which I usually dislike, but not so violently. This is my least favorite Avurudu sweet. Also dry.
Sri Lankan sweets I do like? Milk toffee. I can inhale this. There’s a good packet at ODEL of all places, supplied by my aunt. Wattalapan, sometimes, especially around Muslim holidays. Curd and honey, definitely. I had curd and coconut treacle plus crunchy brown sugar this Avurudu. It was pretty indulgent and great.
On the whole, however, Sri Lankan sweets underwhelm. Fruit salad and ice cream? Kinda pedestrian. Chocolate biscuit pudding? Not a fan. Kokis? Nothing to write home about, and not really sweet. Interesting shapes, but ultimately just fried thing. However, put some chili and spices on kokis and I like them again. I think Sri Lankan savories can’t be beat. Our sweets, however, leave much to be desired.
This is not to be ungrateful. I enjoy Avurudu and appreciate everything I’ve been given by family, neighbors and friends. Perhaps Avurudu sweets are tasty to other people, just not to me. I appreciate the thought, it’s just, well, I don’t want to eat any more.