In recent years, travel has taken on a new meaning. It is about sustainability, cultural immersion, tasty local foods, and traditions. Locals around the planet host food gatherings for tourists to appreciate unique flavors and cooking and dining processes. It’s a nice way to interact with new friends in their home kitchens, local markets, and mom-and-pop restaurants.
With almost 22 million people, Sri Lanka is not only well known for its breathtaking landscapes, but also its amazing food, Ceylon tea, Ayurveda and spices. I learned that Ayurvedic foods are meant to heal both your body and spirit. Most cuisines in Sri Lanka are vegetarian, but there are also many vegan options.
During our trip to Sri Lanka, we enjoyed a private local dining experience – an authentic farm-to-table restaurant in Dambulla, which is located in the Central province (near the center of the island, as you might have guessed). It’s a dream come true for any adventure foodie travelers. We met Sandamali & Ranjini Per, who welcomed us with a smile to a food feast in a beautiful natural surrounding, next to a lake with palm trees and rice paddies. They prepared a small buffet with no red meat or chicken, but with fresh catch-of-the-day fish, fruits, and a lot of vegetables. Everything was made from scratch in their home-style kitchen.
We started with watermelon and papaya juices. I was the only one that tried the papaya, with a bit of lime juice. So refreshing!
We sat to enjoy our lunch in a social area made of clay, with padding. Surrounding us were all the accoutrements of a traditional Sri Lankan kitchen. The menu that day included: sticky white rice, cucumber salad with onions and tomatoes, fried fish, some kind of sweet peppers, shredded fresh with dried coconut, cilantro relish, curry jackfruit, crispy fried chips and more. Everything was delicious!
We started with watermelon and papaya juice, I was the only one that picked papaya with a little bit of lime juice. So refreshing!
In a clay made social area with all you can find in a traditional Sri lankan kitchen, we set to enjoy our lunch. The menu that day included: sticky white rice, cucumber salad with onions and tomatoes, fried fish, some kind of sweet peppers, shredder fresh and dried coconut, cilantro relish, curry jackfruit, crispy fried chips and more. Everything was delicious!
In Sri Lanka, traditional cuisine is sometimes served on plates with banana leaves or a lotus leaf. You are encouraged to eat with your fingers the way some Asians eat. It’s how you show respect!
Place: Dilan’s Mud Hut, Pelvehera Village, DAMBULLA, Central Province.
Price per person: $5 USD.
A close up of my plate! I’m a curious eater and always try everything, without asking questions and I ate with my hand! I am grateful for their hospitality and for receiving us with open arms.
With our full stomachs, we are ready to head to our next destination.
I recommend you try to immerse with locals outside from your hotel when you travel to Sri Lanka.