Yoghurt. What is yoghurt? Bacteria milk? I don’t know. Welcome to the great Sri Lankan yoghurt taste off.
Every Sri Lankan shop and lunch joint serves chilled cups of yoghurt. They cost 20 or 30 Rupees and, after a spicy meal, are a cooling salve. Like Coca-Cola, the tropical heat occasionally gives me a sudden craving for the product, which I cannot control. Like Coca-Cola, one brand (Highland) tends to dominate, but not necessarily because it’s the best.
In this taste taste I bought all six types of yoghurt that Cargills had and tried them. These are the results, from worst to best.
I’ve had and enjoyed Kotmale before, but in comparison it emerges as the most chemical of the yoghurts. My tasting notes were ‘feet, bacteria’. It smells chemically and I don’t like the square/deep shape. Being used to Highland, any departure from that form factor is extremely disorienting. Taste can overcome that brand bias, but Kotmale tastes like ass.
I like the Ratthi brand for some reason. It seems Indian or exotic or something. Sadly, it tastes mediocre at best. Rathi is an unpleasant yellow color and rather watery. The packaging is good and I’ve enjoyed the yoghurt well enough before, but in comparison it looks more sickly than the others and the texture is infirm.
Oh Highland. This is the cup of yoghurt. If I get anything else I’m confused but every single kade will have Highland. Objectively, however, it’s not that good. The edges are a bit scummy and, as comforting as the taste is, it’s still artificial. Highland can also taste really really bad if it’s a bit warm. Like from the PA Supermarket at the end of Duplication Road. Never every buy anything there, it’s all gone bad. They once gave me bad Toblerone. How is that even possible? It’s bomb shelter food.
Now we are getting to the creme de la creme.
Do you know what’s funny? Like one year ago, Ambewella gave you a free glass if you bought four boxes of milk. We could only afford metal cups at the time and this seemed like a great deal. I bought Ambewella religiously, also buying far more milk than I was used to. They eventually stopped including the glasses but I kept buying the milk. Now I don’t even know why, I just buy it. It comes in these horrid cartons and spills everywhere. That’s good marketing.
Anyways, after the street corner spew of Kotmale and Rathi, Ambewella is like the Gato Negro of yoghurts. Cheap but quite good enough. My tasting notes say ‘warm, developing deep taste’. Unlike other yoghurts which simply cover the tongue, Ambewella unfolds. There are subtle notes of honey and lingering notes of hakuru and brown sugar. Quite nice. I should say, however, it gets a bit much, which is why Ambewella is only number three. The first bite is great, but it got a bit too intense.
I normally hate this yoghurt because it comes in a tall, kiddie cup. Not a man’s yoghurt. Purely on taste, however, it’s excellent. It has some of the depth of Ambewella with the consistency and comfort of Highland. It is the perfect hybrid, yoghurt, not too high brow, not too bacterial. Good color, decent nose. A fine yoghurt.
Anchor Newdale Stirred
This doesn’t really count, but it’s quite good. Spilled this on the table and ate it anyways. I think there’s some still there, actually. You know when you stir the yoghurt or ice cream at the end, to get that liquidy dip? They have oompa loompas or centrifuges doing that for Anchor Newdale Stirred. It tastes like sugar. Pretty good. Looks like snot, cup is too large, probably doesn’t belong on this list, but it’s good.
So, I’m probably still going to eat Highland. That’s what I grew up with. Like Coca-Cola, the brand has an actual neurological hook. One thing I would like to note, however, is that, supposing you really like yoghurt, you cannot buy a larger size. If you want yoghurt for the week you need to buy seven little cups and the cashier has to give you seven little spoons. I find this baffling, but I cannot find a large container of yoghurt that’s as sweet as the little ones. The big ones are sour, whack yoghurt that might be good with falafel but I don’t have any falafel. Getting a sweet yoghurt in bulk is, in my experience, impossible.