When in Rome, act like a Roman, is a proverb that has probably been repeated more times than memory, and while it may not be possible to completely adhere to the saying, there are times when we choose to be like a local when touring foreign lands. Stay like a local is a trend and going on a culinary tour could be a great way to sample the local life. Package tour like Olanka Travels gives you the chance to explore local culture and food as you take in the great sights of this little pearl shaped island nation.
As you soak in the romanticism of the beaches or the splendor of the highlands, you would be amazed at the wide range of scrumptious and exciting food options this island holds. Besides the traditional rice and curry, and a wide array of seafood, for the culinary enthusiast, there is a lot more to explore. Some of these are uniquely Sri Lankan and in some, you could detect traces of Indian influence, but the delicious food-fare along with the exotic locations present a wonderful fare for the discerning connoisseur.
The city of Colombo
Start exploring the city on foot from the centrally located Colombo Fort railway station. The station has been operational since 1908 and hasn’t changed much over the decades, making it a wonderful example of colonial architecture. As you start walking up the streets and around the stations, you will wander past busy markets and a lot of street food options. There are many small eating joints along the way where you can sample hoppers, egg hoppers, and local traditional delicacies.
Walk towards the Red Mosque, another landmark in the city. You could take some time out to soak in the atmosphere. However, women are still not allowed inside. In and around the mosque area, you would find a lot many joints that vend a wide variety of local savories. Starting with the crispy Murukkus, you would find the Bombay Sweet House that dishes out wonderful falooda and saruwath drinks. Do taste their sweets too. The shops with an enticing display of pickles are bound to excite you, but be warned that they could be quite spicy. Do try them, but be cautious and have them only in bite-sized portions.
Using your map, guide yourself towards the Khan clock tower, another legendary landmark, from where all distances in Colombo are measured. Stroll along the harbor and the Grand Oriental Hotel till you reach the Colombo Dutch Hospital. This place has some fine dining options and a lot of bars and pubs.
The beach at Negombo
As you bask on the sun-kissed beaches of the coastal town of Negombo, the palm-fringed town is bound to bring out the romantic in you. The town is well-known for its fishing history and what better than to sample some of the seafood that the region offers. You could treat yourself to lobsters, the amberjack, or the delectable dishes of Pomfret that the locals prepare – just enquire about it’s sustainability. There are some culinary classes conducted by a few entrepreneurial locals and you could try out and see how they blend their spices and the grated coconut. Do walk down to the local fish market to catch a glimpse of local life.
This southern coastal town is well-known for its Dutch colonial predecessors, which can be seen in the distinctively Dutch architecture, especially the lighthouse. The breadfruit and the jackfruit are ubiquitous to the area and a trip to the town’s vegetable and fruits market delights the eyes. The town abounds in eating options and you should try the gotukol sambol, milk rice or kirri and side dishes such as the Ambul Thiyal, Pollos Curry, and Lunu Miris.
Charming Nuwara Eliya
Head off to the charming hills of Nuwara Eliya. You can drive along the mountain roads or try a ride on the train that takes you along majestic and scenic routes to arrive at this location. The cool climate in this region allows a perfect break from the busy beaches and the solitude will sooth the soul. Enjoy a pink Guava and Black Pepper Caipirinha. Some of the restaurants in this area serve wonderful British breakfasts and dinner, which are remnants of the regions colonial past. As for local delicacies, try out the local chutney and goat cheese.
Can’t wait to get to this country and try much – or rather all – of these dishes!