A seafood stew that unites the region's principal produce, and a cuisine shaped by absences
Stacked high on sheets of newspaper, the large lagoon crabs challenged me. Having grown up vegetarian, and been one for well over 20 years, the fiddly process of cracking a crab’s shell to get to its sweet meat still made me a bit queasy. Not held back by any such apprehensions, my travel companions on this trip to Jaffna were making easy work of the crustaceans. Ultimately, the thought of being a bystander began to feel more tortuous than the thought of getting my fingers dirty, and I staked my claim to the Jaffna crab curry that had been delivered to our hotel room a few minutes earlier. Within a few moments, I was sniffling and smiling stupidly, all at the same time.