As diverse as the foodways of Queens are, there’s one cuisine that’s lacking, Sri Lankan. To experience Sri Lankan cuisine in New York City you need to travel to the motherland, Staten Island, specifically, Tompkinsville, which is home to 5,000 Sri Lankan’s, including Vijayakuman “Viji” Devadas.
Devadas is the chef and owner of New Asha, a small family run business that specializes in Sri Lankan home cooking—rich black curry eggplant, mutton kotthu, and string hoppers—or what she likes to call “mama food.”
James Boo of 1 Minute Meal Films captures both the spirit of New Asha and Devadas (really they are one in the same) in his latest appetite-inducing episode. “When we came here 30 years ago we didn’t even have a [Sri Lankan] grocery store,” Devadas said. Today there are two Sri Lankan groceries on the same block as her restaurant. Want to take a trek to New York City’s motherland of Sri Lankan? Check out my guide on Food Republic.
New Asha, 322 Victory Blvd., Staten Island
We had Sri Lankan here in Queens, unfortynately its gone.There was a place called Bownies’ up the block and around the corner from the Ganesa Prasadam.They served up most of the dishes you mentioned, and were especially well known for their string hoppers.Were sad to see them go….
Indeed, Kent. And we still do Spicy Lanka in Jamaica is pretty good but nothing beats Tompkinsville for sheer concentration of Sri Lankan.