It was a humid July afternoon in Colombo, only a couple of weeks after I arrived in the city as a bewildered expatriate from Mumbai. Still finding my sea legs and longing for home, I found comfort unexpectedly in a bowl of brick-red curry. Spicy enough to make my eyes water, the curry piqued my curiosity. It was laden with chunks of a fruit that tasted like a cross between green mango and pineapple, with thorny pits thrown into the mix as well. After an afternoon of feverish Googling, I learned that the fruit was the hog plum, locally known as ambarella. Armed with this newly acquired nugget of knowledge, I felt like I had finally found a toehold in a cuisine—and culture—quite different from my own.