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This weekend’s Cultural Close-up comes from Negombo, Sri Lanka.

Here, at the Negombo Fish Market, fishermen catch fish and dry it using the ancient method of open air drying. Leaving freshly caught fish to dry in the sun and wind removes water from the fish, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and extending the storage life of fish by a couple of years. Dried fish is then salted and sold right here in the market.
Many Sri Lankans rely on dried fish as the main source of protein in their diet. They use it in the same way as fresh fish, by adding it to soups, curries and other dishes.

Dried fish in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Fish drying in the sun in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Dried fish in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Fish drying in the sun in Negombo, Sri Lnanka

Dried fish for sale in Negombo Fish Market, Sri Lanka

Dried fish for sale in Negombo Fish Market, Sri Lanka

Cultural Close-ups is a series of photographs and stories from around the world that go beyond the pretty sights and famous attractions. If you’d like to contribute a photo and a short story to Cultural Close-Ups, please email your submission to [email protected]

For more on travel in Sri Lanka, visit Sri Lanka Travel Diary

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Dried fish is a common protein source in Sri Lanka. Here, at the Negombo Fish Market, you can see the fish drying process for yourself.