This 10 – day culinary itinerary introduces you to the food of Sri Lanka by visiting markets, taking cooking lessons, and enjoying delicious food. You will definitely be immersed into the culinary culture. In addition, visit some of the important sights in Sri Lanka.
Arrive Colombo International Airport.
You will be met and escorted through immigration (express check out) by VIP Silk Route service and a porter will collect your bags while you are seated in the comfortable VIP lounge. Drive to Colombo (approx. 1 hour). Colombo is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Located on the west coast, it is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern and colonial impressions.
Colombo has a varying architecture that spans centuries and depicts various styles. Many colonial buildings influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British exist alongside structures built in Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Indian and Contemporary architectural styles. In no other place is this more evident than in the heart of the city at the Fort.
Morning is at leisure.
In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour with a resident guide. Take a peek into a handful of Colombo’s sacred spaces as you stroll with your guide through Kochchikade.
See Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple and Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple on Beira Lake. Travel by tuk-tuk to Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil, an intricately carved granite Hindu temple, a short walk from St. Anthony’s Shrine, a national Catholic monument, where you can hear the story of Anthony of Padua. Follow a chain of flower garland kades (shops) into the cacophony of Pettah life and the smell of Indian short eats sold from local stalls. Pass by the old town hall, an eye-catching neo-gothic building, and Kayman’s Gate, a more inconspicuous Dutch bell tower, before finishing your walk outside Jami Ul-Afar Mosque whose exterior resembles a pomegranate.
After the tour, your resident guide will drop you off at Hospital Street where your chauffeur guide will lead you to the Culinary Ceylon Food Tasting followed by dinner.
The best way to connect to its history, culture, and people is through its local cuisine. Start exploring authentic local cuisine at Culinary Ceylon, prepared in a ‘home-cooked’ style using family recipes passed down from their proprietor’s ancestors. Immerse yourself in the local culture by ‘breaking bread’ with a local. This guided, curated experience distinguishes them from an ordinary restaurant visit. Listen to the curator as they carefully explain the origin of each dish and share the best of their knowledge with stories of the food you will enjoy.
After breakfast, drive to Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka (approx. 4 hours).
Commanding a rich Sri Lankan heritage, Anuradhapura is one of the greatest and oldest civilizations in the world spanning over 1300 years. In its peak, it claims to be the greatest city of ancient Sri Lanka. The sapphire of its crown is certainly the Sri Maha Bodhi, the sacred Bo sapling extracted from the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment standing more than 2,200 years. Stroll through the sacred trails of the venerated city to adore the legacy that interweaves Ruwanweliseya, the gigantic dagoba, resting alongside the Basawakkulama Tank shading the Samadhi Buddha Statue and Isurumuniya Rock Temple that empower the culture and heritage of arguably the strongest kingdom in Sri Lankan history.
After breakfast, explore the ancient city of Anuradhapura.
For dinner, enjoy an authentic “Kamatha” meal. You haven’t tasted Sri Lankan cuisine, locals say, until you fully experience an authentic “Kamatha” meal. The Kamatha, a new dining experience by Ulagalla’s award winning team, set in the center of a working paddy (rice) field brings together travelers and locals who have an appetite for exploring flavors.
On this epicurean adventure you will sample traditional dishes, explore old world ingredients and even work with home cooks with their favorite recipes. You will learn how the traditions of a kingdom are reflected in the myriad of fragrant spices and seasonings, about the utensils still in use after 2000 years, and of the preparation of food in hand made clay pots and open wood fires for a whole different taste.
These thoughtful multi-course meals incorporate vegetables harvested at Ulagalla’s organic farm, lake fish, and free-range meats sourced locally and traditional breads and old-world rice, the signature crop of Ulagalla’s paddy fields.
After breakfast, depart for the Royal City of Kandy (approx.3 hours).
Last ruled by King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings, crafts an array of culture, history, and heritage in the minds of visitors. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Stroll across this small lakeside town cradled among the misty hills.
Enjoy a cultural show with traditional music and drumming.
After breakfast, enjoy a morning market visit and learn about authentic Kandyan cooking with Suzy.
Take a ride to the “Menikkumbura” market in a tuk-tuk, and see the variety of seasonal vegetables harvested during the season. Learn the Sinhala names and the different types of vegetables that are locally grown for village people. Meet the village Ayurvedic doctor, ask for your herbal medicine for the common cold, flu, cough, and minor ailments that you may require. Walk around and speak with the vendors, try out the different types of tropical seasonal fruit like, soursup, amberalla, nelli, passion fruit, ripe jack, and a variety of bananas grown in Sri Lanka.
Join Suzy and her team in her traditional kitchen built by her husband’s great grandfather, and assist in the preparation of lunch. Learn to prepare a complete meal using ancient tools such as the coconut scraper, the traditional mortar and pestle, the grinding stone, and seasoned clay pots. Suzy or her colleague will demonstrate and explain in detail from scraping the coconut, extracting the milk, to pounding sambal, to cooking with firewood in a typical local way.
Witness the starting of the firewood and controlling of the temperature while the curries are cooking. Your lunch will be served on a heated banana leaf accompanied with papadam and home prepared chutneys. Explore the intricacies of Sri Lankan cuisine and treasure the memories of the unforgettable experience with Suzy.
After breakfast, drive to Galle on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. It is a scenic drive and takes about 5 hours.
Galle, the epic southern capital, is the intersection where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting creating a vivid atmosphere in beauty. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with south Asian traditions today flooding cultural enthusiasts on a global scale. Its original ramparts and bastions preserved up to date showcase evidences of a heritage preserved for more than 3 1/2 centuries. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the ‘old gate’ carrying the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion, the oldest of all, and the lighthouse standing 18 feet in its glory next to the Point Utrecht Bastion. However, its hallmark is that a Dutch fort remains a working community with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches and people frequenting its streets embracing the architecture of Galle.
After breakfast, drive to a rural village in Galle to take part in a cooking class that speaks to your soul.
Compared to its nearest cousins, Sri Lankan cuisine is relatively underrated. Food for the soul takes you from the market to the island’s most iconic dishes.
Curry in Sri Lanka is not simply one dish, but many. A myriad of techniques and ingredients are needed to create the palette of flavors on a Sri Lankan table. This unique experience starts in the vibrant Galle countryside. Travel in your vehicle to a mud-hut kitchen. Here your host will explain the techniques and key ingredients used in Sri Lankan cooking. See how coconut milk is made and create your own delights by trying your hand at tempering, frying, boiling, grating, and caramelizing your ingredients. Finally, indulge in the fruits of your labor and maybe even in the local-style with your hands.
Your host is a Sri Lankan chef with impressive knowledge of the island’s vegetables, fruits, and spices. His conversation in English might take a little patience, but this is a practical class. You can easily watch and learn how to create a range of delicious local dishes.
After breakfast, visit the 4th generation residents of Galle and learn how to make the famous “Biryani” dish. Cook Biryani in a hands-on class with descendants of Muslim settlers. Pick, marinade and season ingredients from your host’s garden for your delicious dishes.
Galle was once a trading hub for Arab merchants and with them came many dishes, perhaps most quintessential is Biryani. Often served at Muslim family celebrations and festivities, Biryani has side dishes such as raia, cashew curry, Malay pickle, curried peas and meats and other spiced vegetables that accompany flavored rice. This lesson in your host’s own kitchen is authentic and fun as you join her daughters to craft a meal which you will all sit down and eat together as a family.
Your host and her family will greet you as warmly as they would each other. She is renowned in the Galle area for her passion for food and skill to create exquisite dishes which she loves to share in her cooking classes where her three daughters assist her. Adopt a hands-on role in the creation of your lunch with your host and her daughters. The class takes place in your host’s home.
After breakfast, day is at leisure until time to depart to the airport. It is about an 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport.