When Kolamba first opened in 2019, many diners who walked into the charming eatery in central London’s Soho district weren’t familiar with Sri Lankan cuisine.
They thought it was just like Indian food, says the restaurant’s co-founder, Aushi Meewella, who grew up in Sri Lanka.
“We felt Sri Lankan food was underrepresented in central London, so we wanted to bring the dishes we grew up on and missed when we moved away,” she tells CNN.
While Sri Lanka is India’s little neighbor, with only 22 million people, its food and culture are quite different.
And now, a new generation of Sri Lankan chefs and entrepreneurs across the world is shining the spotlight on their native cuisine, while embracing the country’s diverse culinary heritage.
The Sri Lankan designer making eco-conscious gender-inclusive clothes
The increased visibility of Sri Lankan cuisine has “been a long time coming,” Meewalla says. “But now, more and more Sri Lankans themselves are willing to take a chance on our own cuisine, open restaurants, and spread our cuisine to the world.”
Meewella credits tourism for the recent surge in interest and support for Sri Lankan food.
Although tourist arrivals were halted by a series of setbacks including a deadly bomb attack, the Covid-19 pandemic, and, more recently, the country’s worst-ever economic crisis, Sri Lanka is back on the tourism radar, already tracking over 800,000 visitors in 2023 as of the first week of August. As Meewella explains it: “People visit, discover our diverse island, and try our food, which they realize is also delicious.”
Chef Dhayanie Williams, a contestant on “MasterChef Australia 2019,” says the rise of social media in the last decade and programs like Masterchef have also helped professional and home chefs promote Sri Lankan food in the international market.
“We’ve seen many participants stick to their roots and create authentic Sri Lankan dishes on these programs,” says the chef, who is known for the Sri Lankan crab curry and chicken curry she cooked on the show.
“This continuous online exposure makes people try out Sri Lankan food in restaurants.”
Today, more and more Sri Lankan chefs across the world are championing Sri Lankan food while defying common misconceptions about the cuisine.
“It has helped change the global perception that Sri Lankan food is different from Indian food, and it’s not only a lot of curries paired with rice,” Williams says.
For example, despite sharing a name, Sri Lankan roti are smaller, thicker “discs” made of freshly grated coconut and rice flour, unlike the large Indian rotis, which are made of wheat.
Rice, coconut milk, native fruits, vegetables and seafood act as the building blocks of Sri Lankan cuisine.
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When I reach Galaha in Sri Lanka’s central highlands, the sun is high in the sky and the streets are clouded with dust. Tuk-tuks rattle around women in red saris flecked with gold, narrowly missing the one-eyed dog sleeping in the road. Amid the honking and coconut selling, I hear a familiar sound — Beethoven’s Für Elise — moving closer, crackling from a tuk-tuk selling fish buns, and bringing with it the smell of freshly baked bread.
Australian airline Regional Express on Friday suspended more flights from Sydney and accused competitors such as Qantas Airways of “pillaging” its regional pilots, allegations which the flag carrier dismissed.
Earlier this year, Airbnb shook things up by rolling out 53 new features based on user feedback, including fee transparency and lower fees for monthly stays. Now, some four months later, the home-sharing platform is back with additional updates — and even more overhauls in the pipeline.
Think of the Indian Ocean, and it's likely you'll conjure images of pristine sands scattered with coconut palms, surrounded on all sides by turquoise sea. Such desert islands — worthy of Robinson Crusoe — are easy to find in the region, offering sun, sea and perfect seclusion, far from the rigours of everyday life. From the pancake-flat atolls of Alphonse in the Seychelles to the wildlife haven of Comoros, here's where should be on your radar.
There’s a lot to be excited about in the food world right now, with plenty of anticipated restaurant openings to keep track of. This fall, some of our favorite chefs are expanding to new cities, transitioning pop-ups into permanent spaces, and reviving the restaurants that their fans were sad to see go. In Chicago, a decorated chef will pay tribute to his roots at a new spot serving both traditional and reimagined Ukrainian dishes. And chef Sam Fore, the self-described “Sri Lankan snack queen,” will launch the long-awaited brick-and-mortar location of Tuk Tuk Snack Shop, her pop-up restaurant in Lexington, KY. The menu will highlight the commonalities between Sri Lankan cuisine and the flavors of the American South.
New York’s Ellis Island Museum pays tribute to the millions of emigrants who sailed into New York harbor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in search of a better life. The largest group of soon-to-be expats came from Italy; their exodus created one the greatest diasporas in human history.
My earliest memory of food is my dad going to the chippy every Friday. Growing up, we never had any other takeout than the chippy near our house [in Oldham] — it was called Tony’s. My mum would cook the rest of the time, so my dad saw it as his job to do the ritualistic, Friday-night chippy pilgrimage. I actually don’t like battered fish, so I’d have a chip muffin [bread roll] with gravy and mushy peas. Even after all the restaurants I’ve been to, it’s still one of my favourite meals.
Its annual massive nine-day Cheyenne Frontier Days just ended, and Wyoming’s capital has returned to its quiet norm. Or, so you’d think. Actually, the Magic City on the Plains is ever more a city on the go, with brewpubs and creative dining popping up both in the historic downtown and on its the edges—and thankfully not plagued by hipster excess. The small city has a big city number of fine museums as well. And to cap it off, nature hikes are a short ride out of town.
The Seychellois routinely refer to their home as ‘paradise’ and, frankly, it’s difficult to disagree. Among the many beauty queens of the Indian Ocean, this collection of 115 islands off the shores of East Africa has strong claims to the overall crown. Merging the fabled beaches and turquoise hues of the castaway Maldives with the rugged, jungled peaks of volcanic Mauritius, the archipelago blends sybaritic excess with tropical adventure. Add to the mix local Creole culture and endemic flora and fauna — including the world’s largest palm tree and free-roaming giant tortoises — and you’ve got yourself a winner.
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