Striking Sri Lankan Food in Malden

Just after it got a serious North African joint in Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant, recently called out in Digest, Malden strikes again: Nab reports that Sri Lankan Biryani Park kills. It's tucked in the back of an unassuming, rather sketchy little market, and is tiny, with just six four-top tables. The owner is "incredibly warm & welcoming with a razor sharp sense of humour," who first brought out a "piping hot fish cutlet that jumped outta the fryer and into my gaping maw. Heckuva hand with the fryer, the cutlet is crispy, with fluffy fishy innards dotted with spuds."

Next up, lamprais, or "lump rice." It's Dutch by way of Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan samba rice, which has a short grain and a starchy flavor some compare to corn. With the rice comes "an ample array of accompaniments including eggplant, fish curry, chicken curry, hard-boiled egg, and ash plantains [a variety of plantain that grows in Sri Lanka]. Each component carefully prepared with attention to spicing, every bite is different, keeping the most ADHDs of palates dialed in," says Nab.

And then there is the famous Sri Lankan dish known as the string hopper: steamed rice flour batter forced through a sievelike mold to make spaghetti strings, served in nests. Biryani Park serves string hopper kottu, which Nab describes as a "shredded/chopped fine noodle 'dry' curry kinda dish" that's "laced with slivers of carrots, chiles, and the occasional hunk of goat." Spicy and complex but not that hot, the kottu (along with the lamprais) requires 24-hour notice. Don't have the time? Karl S recommends the vegetarian roti kottu, shredded naan fried with vegetables, "a knock-out."

The dish for which the restaurant was named was the best biryani lipoff has ever had: "The goat was succulent, the rice was so intensely flavored and yet fluffy, and the little bit of dryness worked just perfectly with the yogurt sauce that was provided." There's also a dosa menu with 20 options. Have mercy!

Biryani Park [North Shore]
105 Broadway Street, Malden
781-397-1307

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