Seattle’s New Kottu Foods Cart Serves Sri Lankan Avenue Foods

Just before Syd Suntha cooked at Seattle’s revolutionary foods truck, Skillet, in its early times, he labored in the music industry the rhythmic seem of him banging square blades that the two lower and move about the meals on the flattop of his new foodstuff cart, Kottu, bridges his two careers. “Dubstep teppanyaki,” he jokes, alluding to the Japanese tabletop cooking he cherished as a kid. Like the Sri Lankan avenue food stuff he serves at his cart, teppanyaki entails cooking dishes a la minute on a flattop grill specifically in entrance of the consumer, which injects a minimal theater into providing food items.

But as a substitute of shrimp flips, egg art, and onion volcanos, Suntha concurrently chops and cooks flaky flatbread with curry, greens, and spices into kottu roti. The dish — some thing like fried rice designed with bits of bread somewhat than grains of rice — brings together the richness of extended-cooked cuts of meat with the large-heat flavor of the flattop and the curry leaf, cardamom, and mustard seed flavors of Sri Lanka.

Seattle diners could possibly figure out Suntha’s pleasant smile from when he served them drinks at Rupee Bar or handed them foodstuff from any range of foodstuff vans he labored at above the past 12 decades, which include his very own. In 2020, though, he missing his stake in his possess organization, an celebration promptly adopted by getting divorced, dropping his dwelling, and being stuck in quarantine, “drinking way also substantially.”

Syd Suntha reconnected with his mom and dad all through a complicated time period in quarantine by cooking Sri Lankan food items with them, which led to him opening Kottu.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Suntha wanted a lifetime modify. He sobered up, stopped using tobacco, and mended his connection with his loved ones — which encouraged him to open a foodstuff cart that draws on the cuisine of his heritage. Even though his mothers and fathers make “the most effective foodstuff [he’s] ever eaten,” he had by no means cooked Sri Lankan meals in advance of. “Since culinary university, I have mostly cooked American high-quality dining or American street foods,” he claims. So learning to prepare dinner spouse and children dishes turned an avenue to reconnect with his mother and father.

Suntha was straight away drawn to kottu roti, served from late-night stands on the South Asian island, so he named his cart, which released in March, after the dish. Even though he stopped ingesting, he didn’t drop his bash instincts. “I love the drunk foods aspect of it,” Suntha says. He also cherished the food’s nostalgic resemblance to the teppanyaki at the restaurant he went to for childhood birthdays.

Suntha grew up in St. Louis, exactly where his initial career was at Chick-Fil-A, ahead of he moved into the new music field. He figured out to cook dinner on tour, which at some point led him to enroll in culinary college. When Suntha moved to the Seattle region, he took a task at a superior-stop restaurant in Bellevue but shortly understood he favored the speedy tempo of his foods truck aspect-gig. “It’s like a punk-rock band compared to U2,” he claims. “The foods was so goddamn fantastic, and it was not pretentious, and you acquired that you do not have to stick to any rules.”

1 of the components of cooking kottu roti Suntha is most psyched about is that he cooks it in a number of minutes with the shopper proper in entrance of him. “I truly adore the notion of chatting to men and women,” he claims. “We’re heading to have a discussion whether or not you want to or not.”

Just after investing time in quarantine and likely through a dim period of time that manufactured him cautious of even his founded friendships, he suggests he forgot what it was like to speak to folks deal with-to-encounter. But now, he embraces interaction. “It’s fascinating, just assembly persons.”

A pile of red-colored shrimp and chopped flatbread garnished with shredded scallions, chopped peanuts, and a slice of lime on a red lacquer plate.

Kottu’s blackened shrimp curry kottu roti.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

A beige chicken curry drizzled with lime-green sauce and topped with crushed red Flamin Hot Cheetos on a white plate.

Kottu’s mango rooster curry kottu roti, served with cilantro-lime-pickle yogurt sauce and crushed Flamin Warm Cheetos.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Kottu’s menu characteristics a rotation of a few or four versions of the dish every single evening, with possibilities like mango rooster, lamb, beef, saag, and jackfruit kottu roti — every single mixed on the flattop and chopped with veggies, the flaky flatbread, and spices, comparable to the late-night article-consuming versions Suntha remembers from Sri Lanka. (“And a shit-ton of condiments,” he provides.) Suntha strategies to stock Ballyhoo very hot sauces (a enterprise he founded) but also needs to collaborate with other chefs on inventive toppings for people to gown their dishes with. He’ll also provide a drink or two and hopes to incorporate a flat-leading dessert at some position — he has been taking part in with spins on gulab jamun that use pandan syrup or a boozy baba au rhum mash-up, as effectively as a dessert kottu produced with sweeter bread.

He guarantees that 1 matter people today can count on is that it will not be standard or simple. “The cart menu will consistently change centered on new procedures I master, whatever is in time, and whichever sounds delicious.”

Kottu, the cart, is the mixture of two tales, Suntha claims: “One is me having out my shit and currently being in the happiest area I’ve at any time been in my lifestyle.” The other is about kottu roti, the dish he serves, a resourceful way to use up leftover bread by mixing it with curry. “It’s every little thing in a person nice very little bowl,” says Suntha.

Kottu serves at situations and pop-up areas about the town, with updates posted on the internet site.