Aside from the fact that we had an amazing time in Sri Lanka, our stomachs had an equally amazing time! While there we made it a point to try all kinds of things... street food, bakery food, joints where the locals eat, places highly recommended on tripadvisor and some lesser known, but equally amazing places.
Food in Sri Lanka is quite similar to the food you would find in Kerala and Goa even, but it's a little spicer... something the hubby really enjoyed. I enjoyed it equally, but was popping antacids after every meal :) Lots of vegetarian options and amazing seafood. Here is our food journey documented through pictures I clicked along the way...
You can't visit Sri Lanka and not enjoy some curry rice! It comes with some vegetable side dishes, a meat or fish curry, coconut sambal, popadoms and dal. I loved devilled chicken and devilled potatoes, but i wasn't a fan of the dried fish dishes I tried in Sri Lanka... true to my Goan roots, I think the Goan style dried fish is much much better :)
The best curry rice I had was at a CHC (Ceylon Hotels Corporation) Rest
House, Sigiriya, just before the Sigiriya site
The second best rice curry I had was at Rockview Restaurant, just outside of Kandy, in pahala Kadugannawa. This restaurant offers amazing views and at around noon you can see the train chugging up the hill... its a great place for lunch.
The incredible view from Rockview Restaurant
No EGB, No Food! That's the catch line for this delicious ginger beer drink that is EGB. It is a VERY popular soft drink in Sri Lanka and the most refreshing drink I've ever had! The perfect pick me up in the afternoons, when it's hot and energy levels are dropping :) The hubby and I drank so much of it and even had it on the flight back... I wish the Elephant Company, which manufactures EGB would start selling it in India. (hope someone high up in Elephant Co. is reading this)
This one is really bad for you... but like all things that are bad for you, it tastes amazing :) the parata roti is like a cross between a malabar paratha and a maida batura. It's light and fluffy, flakey and greasy and so good with curry.
It's also quite an art form to make it- very difficult and you need to be quite
skilled... a real theatrical performance
Roti is like a stuffed paratha, but its much thicker and in the shape of a triangle. Its a very popular breakfast snack or anytime snack. You get rotis stuffed with chicken, keema, vegetables and egg. I heard that you also get rotis stuffed with banana and nutella, but sadly i never came across any :( The best roti we had was in Kandy Muslim Restaurant in Kandy... it was really spicy and the hubby loved it. The staff there were mostly Tamilian and assumed the hubby was one too... luckily the hubby knows Tamil, so they were happily chatting with him throughout our meal.
Another popular meal is kuttu roti. Like a Sri Lankan hakka noodle except the noodles are replaced with chopped up strips of roti. You get different versions with vegetables, chicken or egg and all are delicious. Kuttu roti is served with two gravy accompaniments - a spicy gravy and a bland gravy. The hubby and I disagree when it comes to the place for the best kuttu roti... the hubby liked the kuttu at Kandy Muslim Restaurant, while I liked the kuttu at Ella Roti Hut in Ella.
Food is quite cheap in Sri Lanka, especially when you compare it to Gurgaon or Delhi, especially when it comes to seafood. So if you love your seafood, eat as much of it as you can while you are in Sri Lanka. The seafood is so fresh! We really enjoyed our seafood once we got to the coast of Sri Lanka. In Tangalle, Galle and Colombo. I ate a lot of crab! I think I shocked the hubby when he saw me eat a whole crab :)
Some nice grilled prawns that we really delicious. We had this at our hotel
in Tangalle, Serein Beach Hotel
Crab I devoured at Reef Edge Restaurant on polhena Beach Road, polhena,
Matara... amazing seafood... not so great vegetarian options...
so the hubby was not impressed
And food always tastes better in a setting like this... you can taste the salt in
the air, smell the sea and it felt we were floating on the ocean... one of the
most stunning settings to enjoy a meal.
On our last day in Colombo, we made a pilgrimage to the very Famous Beach Wadiya... This is a totally unpretentious restaurant that has some really famous clientele. The food here is awesome for both vegetarians as well as seafood lovers. Sit outside and look out at the beach and the waves, but you will have to beware of the crows that swoop down and attempt to steal food off your plate :)
We ate baked chilli crab (this place is famous for it), devilled potatoes, stir fry spinach and egg fried rice. We washed all this down with some beer and we paid around Rs 1500/-!!! Can you imagine!
Drink lots of Lion Beer!
I know as a proud Indian I shouldn't say this... but I love Lion Beer... I think it puts Kingfisher to shame... go ahead and hate me now :)
Enjoy Sri Lankan Tea
The tea in Sri Lanka is really good. And we had a lot of it and brought a lot of it back as well :) One of the nicest places where we really enjoyed afternoon tea was Mlesna Tea Center. Its a small, quaint little shop in Kandy, on Dalada Vidiya Street. Downstairs you can buy different varieties of tea and if you go up to the first floor, they offer tea and cakes. We went there twice while we were in Kandy.
The best eclair I have ever tasted was here
Avocado juice is another popular juice here. I've not really seen avocado juice anywhere before... smoothies yes, but not juice. We finally got a chance to try some in Galle. Word of advice...if you have a craving for avocado juice in Galle, keep in mind that everything inside Galle Fort is very, very expensive. Take a short walk to the city centre, outside the fort and enjoy juices at unbelievable prices!
This was a place near the fruit market in Galle. Cost of juice inside the fort is
SLR 250-300... SLR 40 outside :)
Have a meal at The Gallery Cafe, Colombo
If you are in Colombo for a day stop of here for a meal or tea or even a cocktail. The Gallery Cafe is located in what used to be Geoffrey Bawa's office. It's a beautiful setting and a must visit if you a designer, architect or if you love courtyard architecture. The Gallery Cafe is located in quite a posh, up-market area so be on the look out for celebrities... we ran into Arvinda DeSilva here:) The food and cocktails here are really good too. Unfortunately we visited for dinner and the lighting was too low to take any decent pictures. Whatever you eat here, make sure you leave room for dessert. I recommend the vanilla panna cotta and if you are a chocolate lover like me... the chocolate nemesis, which is a baked chocolate mousse, is a thing of beauty!
[All Images- Shalini Pereira. Please do not reproduce without prior written permission]