Where to eat in Colombo: get acquainted with Sri Lankan cuisine

Fiery, sour, sweet … the flavours of Sri Lankan food are unapologetically in-your-face. Dig in and awaken all your senses at once.

Sri Lankan cuisine
  • Alison Goh
  • February 2020

If Sri Lankan cuisine has been flying under your radar, here are five places in Colombo to acquaint yourself with the country’s robust flavours.

1. Ministry of Crab

Ministry of Crab, Colombo
The crabs are slathered in a choice of four sauces: chilli, pepper, garlic and curry. (Image from facebook.com/MINISTRYOFCRAB)

Head over to this mainstay on the annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list and order the pepper crab, which brings together two key local ingredients: peppercorns and the famously juicy and meaty Sri Lankan mud crab. Also noteworthy is the garlic chilli prawn, which heroes locally-sourced sweet king prawns that can weigh up to 500g each.

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Address: Old Dutch Hospital Complex, 04 Hospital St
Tel: +94112342722

2. Aunty’s Cooking Class

Learn how to make traditional Sri Lankan food at Aunty’s Cooking Class, which takes no more than eight students at once. The three-hour class starts off with learning how to open a coconut, before you are taught to whip up classics like chicken curry.

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Address: 39, 28 Nelson Ln
Tel: +94766941540

READ MORE: Your guide to a fun-filled family holiday in Sri Lanka

3. T-Lounge by Dilmah

Sri Lanka tea plantation
Even if you don’t have time to visit one of Sri Lanka’s picturesque tea plantations, you should make it a point to enjoy a cup of the famous Ceylon black tea in Colombo.

Located in the Old Colombo Dutch Hospital — a popular shopping and dining precinct — T-Lounge by Dilmah offers a mind-boggling array of teas. These can be drunk classically, blended into frothy concoctions, mixed into mocktails … you name it! They also do tea-inspired dishes including pizza subs, burgers and ice creams.

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Address: Dutch Square Block B, 62/2, Chatham Street
Tel: +94112447168

4. Mount Lavinia Hotel

Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo
An author of over 20 cookbooks and recipient of multiple national awards, chef Publis Silva is one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated chefs.

Head chef Publis Silva is largely considered an ambassador of Sri Lankan food, and has tirelessly worked to introduce local dishes to travellers for over 60 years. At the heritage hotel’s main dining venue, Governor’s Restaurant, the most popular experience is the Ape Kema dinner buffet — expect a mouthwatering spread of local curries, chutneys and sambols.

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Address: 100 Hotel Rd, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia
Tel: +94112711711

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5. Hotel de Pilawoos

kottu, Sri Lankan food
The main ingredient of kottu is godhamba roti, a type of flatbread made from wheat flour.

Kottu — chopped flatbread stir-fried with a medley of meats, vegetables and spices — is something of a national dish, and Hotel de Pilawoos serves up some of the best in the city. Be sure to try their signature chicken cheese kottu then wash it all down with a cold glass of mango lassi.

Address: 146 Galle Road, Colombo 03

Jetstar Asia is currently the only low-cost carrier to fly direct from Singapore to Colombo up to four times weekly from July 1, 2020.