In search of the perfect Sri Lankan
This week, Indulge introduces a gourmet palate
that is quite difficult to please. Enter Bojoon.com, a website dedicated
to rediscovering the art and tastes of Sri Lankan cooking. Starting
today, Bojoon’s Sandamalee De Fonseka teams up with The Nation to take
you on a culinary adventure in search of all those uniquely Sri Lankan
tastes, from the spiciest rice and curry to the perfect hopper….
was dreaming of hot, hot rice with spicy curries and was despairing as
Colombo seemed to be zilch on our own food! There was plenty of Chinese,
Indian, Thai and Japanese but woe to those in search of our own,
tantalising Sri Lankan rice and curries.
There’s of course the Curry Leaf at Colombo Hilton, but it is shoved in
a corner like Cinderella that you just don’t feel the warmth of
traditional Sri Lankan hospitality you’d expect with the thundering
The next best ‘posh’ option would be Raja Bojun at Ceylinco Towers with
its wide vista of the Indian Ocean. The food is wonderful here with a
very good selection of typical Sri Lankan village-style dishes –
including hoppers, even at lunch time. However, it’s the desserts and
the service that let the place down badly.
The only thing that could be said about the desserts is, stay away from
them! If you must have some dessert after your meal, stick with the
tropical fruits. The service is not unfriendly, but decidedly rough and
unsophisticated. The ghastly uniforms don’t help either and not a drop
comes out of the hot water taps.
Sri Lankan hospitality is supposed to be warm, friendly and pleasant –
so unless you’re only there for the rice and curry and don’t mind
leaving reeking of curry, Raja Bojun doesn’t cut it either, especially
if you are entertaining.
Luckily, the most unassuming places like the Spicy Cabin – just in front
of the Nawala Cushion Works – and Gamé Kadé at Salaka come to the
rescue. Relatively clean, they promise nothing more than rice and curry,
and a good serving of well-prepared rice and a variety of curries is
just what one would get.
The service is always friendly, unassuming and obliging in these places.
Of course, whether you can entertain here is another matter altogether,
particularly since you are expected to stand in line while being served
at Gamé Kadé.
The starry hotels in Colombo should certainly take a leaf out of their
resort sisters, which dish out some of the best rice and curries ever.
The food at Kandalama is legendary and needs no further mention, and
Chaaya Village comes a close second.
The Sri Lankan food corner is not hidden in the buffet as in most other
places, instead it is the first thing that encounters the guest. The
typical village-fare is so enticing that it’s impossible to ignore and
step towards the other dishes, as wonderful as they may be.
Another place that serves a very good rice and curry for the travel
weary is the Tea Fortress along the Kandy-Colombo Road. The rice and
curry is not fancy and there isn’t a wide selection, but it is
well-prepared and served piping hot. The tempered dhal curry, the crispy
papadam, the lime-drenched fresh sambol and the ghee fried curry leaves
sprinkled on top of white rice simply pamper the tired traveller.
The other thing bojoon.com loves about Tea Fortress is that the dishes
are filled up as quickly as they empty – just like the olden-day
rest-houses. Freshly brewed tea completes the meal and prepares you for
your journey onward. Tea Fortress has certainly superseded Thirst Aid
Station at Kegalle.
It’s time that Colombo and other ‘tourist’ destinations give rice and
curries its due place. If there’s a market for hot and spicy Thai
cuisine, then there certainly is a market for the Sri Lankan curries,
which boast the entire gamut from mild white and yellow curries, to hot
red curries and spicy brown and black curries, with sambols, mallums,
fry-ups, mojus and pickles to liven the menu.
Come on foodies! Gossip with us
about food! We’d love to know your food experiences – good, bad,
humorous… basically anything and everything. Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and the most interesting experiences would be published in this column.
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“ Flip flop” Crèpe Promotion at the Hilton
Crèpe is a French word for a thin,
delicate pancake. Crèpes are consumed as a dessert all around the world.
Hilton Colombo will have a crepe promotion from the 1st to 10th July at
Spices, Thorana Lounge, Echelon Pub , Emperor’s Wok and Spoons. The
famous of all is the crèpe suzette. The origin of “crèpe suzette” is in
1895 waiter Hanri Charpentier discovered it by accident, when he was
preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales ( King Edward VII of
England) and his companion whose first name was Suzette.
“ There will be an action station daily during lunch and dinner at
Spices and from 3.00pm to 11.00pm at the Thorana Lounge.” said the
hotel’s Marketing Communications Manager, Gigi De Silva. Executive
Pastry Chef Gerard Mendis has created a special a la carte menu for this
promotion. A variety of paper thin crèpes with an unlimited choice of
accompaniments such as ice creams, sauces, candied fruit, berries,
chocolate fillings and nuts will be available.