When travelling around Sri Lanka, I’m always instantly struck by the medley of scents that emanate from the street markets and roadside stalls. Vetiver, which has a similar smell to lemongrass, is widely used for medicinal purposes. Black pepper – a key ingredient in Sri Lankan spice blends – is made even more fragrant by toasting it before crushing it with a pestle and mortar. Freshly ground pepper has a strong, warming scent that reminds me of making pots of the Sri Lankan relish sambal. Lemongrass, a key component of South Asian food, is one of the most aromatic ingredients you can source from the country, which is why it’s used by Sri Lankan cooks as a spice base for curries. As soon as the skin is broken, a light, earthy and distinctively lemony scent is released. These ingredients have inspired the flavours and street-food dishes at Hoppers.