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Food & Drinks

Home to some of the world’s best spices, seafood, and exotic fruits and vegetables Sri Lankan food has managed to win over a multitude of visitors to the country over the years. Each region of Sri Lanka has one or few signature dishes, made with iconic ingredients found within its locality and is a permanent part of the staple diet as well as the celebration table.

The most popular of all the Sri Lankan dishes at the moment is the Kottu, which can come in various shapes and flavors including just plain eggs, chicken or fish to cheese mixed and is prepared by tossing shreds of Sri Lankan godamba roti, with assortment of spices, tempered vegetables, meat and eggs on an oiled sheet of metal with much ado and noise, Generally served with a side dish of hot and spicy gravy to add moisture and flavor, Kottu can be found at street side eateries and posh restaurants alike.

As a bunch of islanders, Sri Lankans love their fish and dry fish and they like them hot. All varieties of fish of different sizes are cooked, fried and tempered to be served with the favorite carbs. While fish varieties like sailfish and tuna are mostly consumed as spicy curries, varieties of mullets, groupers and seer fish are also baked, steamed and made into mulligatawny.

Sri Lankans also cherish seafood varieties like prawns, crabs, lobsters, cuttlefish and octopus and Negombo prawn curry and Jaffna Kool stand as strong testimony to how much we cherish the bounties of the ocean.

As a nation, we also have a big sweet tooth which is evident by the amount of sugar found in our desserts from curd and treacle to watalappan, and other sweetmeats which include Kavum or sweet oil cakes, dodol and all-time favorite kokis.

Yet dining in Sri Lanka is not just about local cuisines, Sri Lanka has a vibrant selection of restaurants offering a selection of cuisines from Indian, Chinese and Thai to German, Italian, and Japanese. A stroll from Galle Face Green towards Dutch Hospital Arcade in Colombo is enough to bump into a variety of food outlets from German pubs serving grilled plates of succulent meats with tall glasses of beer to Japanese restaurants serving delicate platters of sushi as well as a large number of street vendors selling a collection of snacks hailing from different countries from manioc crisps and wade to candy floss.

Through Our Winners’ Eyes

Dutch Hospital Colombo

Another place that truly fascinated me was the Dutch Hospital in Colombo. Once an actual hospital during the Dutch colonization of Sri Lanka, the building is supposedly the oldest in thearea. I was surprised at how nicely it had been restored to serve as a heritage site with exclusive shops and a variety of restaurants.

After my tour, I was hosted to a nice dinner at Semondu, a restaurant owned and run by Sri Lankan Airlines Catering. It was great to just relax and unwind.

Semondu serves up really super fusion cuisine which meant it took me a while to decide what to eat, but my choice was perfect!

Warwick Gardens Nuwara Eliya

We were also hosted for high tea at the Warwick Gardens Hotel, an old Scottish style bungalow that had been converted into one of the most beautiful and cozy hotels I have ever seen. Dad who studied music, made a bee line for the piano in the living room while I took in the breathtaking interiors.

I was amazed at how luxurious yet homely the hotel was. We were treated to colonial style hospitality and delicious, fresh food.

While this country is synonymous with beaches and sunshine, I think the mountains and forests play an important role offering diversity and choice to discerning travelers.

Tea Plucking and Tasting

If I was told, a month before my trip, that we would be hand picking tea in the mountains of Sri Lanka, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it happened and how amazing it was for both of us. There we were, on the emerald green slopes, right at the source where the world’s best tea is grown, selecting ‘two leaves and a bud’.

This was followed by a visit to one of the numerous tea factories where we witness first hand, the intricate process of tea being sorted, dried and packed.

Heading back to our hotel we relaxed with a cup of this very special brew enjoying the view, the cool climes and the memories we were making.

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