The Curry Crusade – Sri Lankan Cuisine

Culture and culinary traditions of Sri Lanka

Try the huge variety of mouthwatering sizzling curries, traditional authentic desserts, cook seafood straight out of the hands of a fisherman, pluck your own vegetables from the garden, choose your own fruits from the markets and spend time with locals keen to share the mysteries of the local cuisine…

What to Expect

12 Nights / 13 Days

This itinerary offers selected locations around Sri Lanka, however can be customized to suit your travel plans.

Day 1 : Route – Airport / Colombo

Drive Time – Approximately 25 minute drive

Accommodation – Villa Hundira  

Arrive in Sri Lanka in the style you deserve, greeted by your chauffeur guide with flower garlands and transferred directly to Negombo where you can relax and unwind on one of the island’s beaches.

With a laid back feel of the countryside and warm Sri Lankan hospitality, your enchanting dwelling; Villa Hundira is the ideal place to start your perfect Sri Lankan foodie experience.

If you have spare time, your chauffeur will introduce you to some of Negombo’s curious sites as the Dutch churches, a boat ride along the Dutch canals or a bicycle ride in the rural roads around the villa.

Day 2 : Route – Negombo

Accommodation – Villa Hundira 

Early morning, embark on an off-the beaten experience by visiting the infamous fish market in Negombo known as the ‘Lellama’ with the Villa chef. Each day, fishermen take their oruvas (outrigger canoes) and go out in search of the fish! Witness the fish auctions on the beach and sales at the fish market which are of a slippery and smelly affair, but one that’s well worth the visit!  Do not forget to buy some fresh fish to prepare for lunch, later in the day.

Enjoy a hearty Sri Lankan breakfast and spend some time cooling off in the pool with a chilled beer to beat the heat!

After working up an appetite in the morning, why not enjoy a Sri Lankan cooking lesson?

Get introduced to the Sri Lankan culinary methods by engaging in a cookery demonstration with the head chef using the fresh fish you bought in the morning. Indulge in a typical Sri Lankan seafood cooking lesson that promises an authentic experience as well as a mouthwatering meal of the famous dish from Negombo; the prawn curry!

Take an evening drive to Negombo to visit the vibrant and bustling streets. You will find yummy freshly made food, seashell ornaments, creamy ice creams and many more surprises while walking the streets. Your perfect beach day can be ended with a delicious seafood feast, prepared with the fisher family or there is a line of nice hotels and decent restaurants you could try!

Day 3 : Route – Negombo / Dambulla / Sigiriya

Drive Time – Approximately 4 and half hour drive

Accommodation – Jetwing Vil Uyana

Once you have gotten some sun and have adapted to Sri Lanka’s relaxingly slow pace, you’ll be ready to sample some award-winning fusion cooking along the way.

Set off from coastal Negombo to experience the inland delights of Sri Lanka. As you drive past picturesque routes, you will meet the small town of Kajugama where you could buy some crunchy cashews sold by the girls of Kajugama! Adorned in colorful dresses, these ladies’ emerge from coconut leaf huts to hail vehicles to stop to buy cashews. Have an amicable chat with the ladies about their livelihood as you nibble away to some freshly prepared cashews ranging from raw, spice to fried nuts!

After devouring a lunch cooked by the villagers, gradually make your way to Dambulla to experience the authentic rural life and interact with real locals. People’s livelihood is based on agriculture predominantly, so cycling in these villages will allow you to see vegetable fields, rice fields and various crops farmed by villagers. Cycle through a rural villages and meet farmers in the farming fields, village vendors, lake fishermen and tree houses (built to protect the crops from the wild animals). We guarantee you that you will come to learn “the real Sri Lanka’ during this cycling trip. Make sure to stop by a villager’s house to treat yourself with a hot cup of ginger tea and to a steaming hot coconut roti.

After your rendezvous into ‘real Sri Lanka’, take more of a cultural route on your adventures to the UNESCO world heritage site of Dambulla’s famed rock temples in the late afternoon. Inside the caves around the golden temple are paintings and statues strewn all over, all related to the life of Gautama Buddha, his life and events. Witness the stunning sunset to mark a perfect end for the day.

Day 4 : Route – Sigiriya

Accommodation – Jetwing Vil Uyana

Wake up to the sound of birds chirping and start your day with the tranquil atmosphere, surrounded by lush greenery.

Kick-start your day with a breakfast fit for a king! The breakfast will be the greatest part of your stay as Jetwing Vil Uyana maintains a traditional food theme, so you could savor some classic breakfast dishes from traditional milk rice, to hoppers, string hoppers accompanied by onion or a chili sambol/paste. Besides this, they’ve got a bunch of other breakfast specials like roti, pittu and grams. Too much food to try of course – Sri Lankans is known to have massive appetites and that’s how you get bigger portions in Sri Lanka!

After a hefty breakfast, visit the property’s organic farm which produces a variety of local fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in your daily meals.

A free afternoon, gives you an opportunity to climb one of the island’s most spectacular sights – the 5th century rock fortress of Sigiriya! Enjoy the climb up to the fortress with the antics of the local monkeys to amuse you and the art and architecture on every level to reward your climb. Once you descend, do not forget to enjoy a drink of king coconut from a road side vendor to refresh yourself and beat the heat.

As the sun sets in, enjoy an authentic dining experience in a “Kamatha” next to a beautiful pond of white water lilies at the hotel premises. End the day with a dinner that includes local delicacies of fresh seasonal vegetables such as mango, manioc, dhal, beans and potatoes with mild spice levels, as well as a fiery fish curry. Be amused as the food will be served in traditional plates made with “Pan Watti” along with a delicious ripe Jackfruit and other seasonal fruits for dessert!

Day 5 : Route – Sigiriya / Kandy

Drive Time – Approximately 2 and half hour drive

Accommodation – Kandy House  

Today journey south out of the arid dry-lands and up into the lush green jungles of Kandy; the Hill Capitol of Sri Lanka and the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kingdom. Some days Kandy’s skies seem perpetually bruised, with stubborn mist clinging to the hills surrounding the city’s beautiful centerpiece lake.

En route, break your journey at the Spice gardens in Matale to see how Ceylon spices are manufactured and learn the merits and health properties of herbs, spices and plants including cloves, pepper, cardamom, coriander, coffee, nutmeg, aloe vera, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and the henna plant.

Once in Kandy visit the local market and watch how locals buy food for thier day to day living. Admire the vegetable market where vegetables of different shapes, sizes and colors, most native to Sri Lanka like the Banana Blossom, Breadfruit, Jak, Egg Plant, Drumsticks and Snake Gourd; a wide range of exotic fruits, along with a plenty of native greens, herbs, spices are all enticingly laid out in rows. Remember to interact with the vendors if you want to understand more about the produce and learn the rule of thumb in choosing ‘just the right’ fruit or vegetable. Walk along the market with filled with local people and vendors shouting out to bring more customers to their vending place. I am sure this will be an unforgettable experience!

Head to the women’s co-operative for some authentic snacks that you’d only get to try if you knew someone’s grandmother! Finally end the walk with some curd and treacle to cool you down.

Top Tip|
Sri Lankans call curd “Meekiri” it’s so delicious it makes mass produced yoghurt forever seem insipid!

In the evening, perhaps you can unwind at the Royal Bar: an atmospheric bar with a lovely central courtyard that offers many choices for a malt whisky or cool draught beer!

Retire for the night to the cozy confines of Kandy House; – cleverly hidden away from hustle and bustle of the city and lets you enjoy the retreat that you have been longing for all along!

Day 6 : Route – Kandy

Accommodation – Kandy House 

Wake up to an amazing view of the mist-capped mountains, the flitting sun rays, the cool breeze and the melodious sound of bird songs. After a hot cup of Ceylon tea, set out on foot to explore the sleepy village as it wakes up from its slumber.

After breakfast, follow the sound of the daybreak drums to pay a visit to the Temple of the Tooth. Join the Buddhists who, dressed in all white, offer puja while catching a glimpse of the great sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. The golden-roofed ancient royal palace complex houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. If you are interested in living in the real traditions, daily service/Pooja is ideal to part-take in. Pick a flower from the flower market in the city square and offer it to the Temple along with a lit oil lamp for good fortune and peace.

After working up an appetite, why not enjoy another Sri Lankan cooking lesson? Get introduced to the Sri Lankan culinary methods by engaging in a cookery demonstration with your host using only clay material items as; Fired clay pots and hand-made spoons made from coconut shells and wooden handles. Meet your host at a local home and enjoy nature from the open veranda while sipping a refreshing fresh fruit juice!

Don’t take long to visit the kitchen where a typical Sri Lankan meal is being prepared. Be involved in the fun process of cutting, chopping veggies, grinding the herbs, pounding spices and scraping a fresh coconut. Observe how the coconut milk is extracted and poured over the curries cooked in terracotta clay pots on a crackling wood hearth! Watch closely how each dish is prepared using just the right amount of spices and herbs so as to preserve the nutrition and goodness – the mouthwatering aromas wafting from the kitchen, you’re probably hungry already!

Interestingly the meal is prepared in a typical outdoor tabletop with the birds, squirrels and even the monkey watching from not too far away. Take care of the food or you will find the cute squirrels and the cheeky monkeys carrying it all away.

End the day with a delicious Sri Lankan meal seated out on the open-to-nature dining area!


Day 7 : Route – Kandy / Nuwara Eliya

Train Ride – Approximately 3 hour train journey

Accommodation – Heritance Tea Factory

Enjoy a breakfast on dhal and hoppers, before hopping aboard the morning train to travel up those verdant green hills that surround Kandy into Sri Lanka’s most beautiful and magic region – the Hill Country – proceeding to the Colonial town of Nuwara Eliya. With its cool air, magnificent waterfalls, and thriving tea culture, the enchanting allure of these hills has to be seen to believe!

A ride by local train is the way to see this country best and is a highlight of any Sri Lankan visit. ‘Clicketty-clack’ through dark tunnels on winding tracks, past tea bushes trimmed so neatly that, from a distance, the hills look as if they’re covered with a thick-pile rug. While on board you will encounter food vendors with their offerings of “short eats” and local musicians who will serenade you for a few rupees. Don’t forget to try some street food in the train which is mostly freshly cut pineapple slices, roasted peanuts or deep fried vades!

As you descend from the footsteps of the train, be met by views of the stunning tea estates and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the tea pluckers’ harvesting tea leaves in the fields – Welcome to Nuwara Eliya!

Retire for the night to your ‘withering loft’, high in the mountains of Nuwara Eliya. The expanse of the former withering loft – where fresh leaves were laid to dry, now serves as a cozy haven. End the day with a cup of tea in hand enjoying your surroundings and the pleasant change in temperature. This hotel offers some of the best food in the region all infused with the local tea cleverly.

Day 8 : Route – Nuwara Eliya

Accommodation – Heritance Tea Factory

Today catch a glimpse of the hill country beauty by a walk on the eminent Horton Plains National park. The iconic ‘World’s End’ trail is the highlight of the trek! Wake early and begin your trek before the clouds descend to see vast areas of tea plantations in the distance and the magical beauty of the sunrise! These cloud forests that are huddled away with endemic plants, animals, together with gushing waterfalls, all together make a paradise to walk along.

Once you return from your hike see where your morning tea originates – deck out in local attire – saree for the ladies, sarong for the gentlemen (optional) – and take a walk with the professional tea pluckers to the organic tea fields where you will be shown to pluck leaves. Stroll through the tea fields and observe closely how the colorfully dressed tea pluckers cautiously pick the prized “two leaves and bud” that go into making the world best Ceylon Tea. Then return to the Heritance Mini Tea Factory, where the chief tea taster will inspect your efforts. As the chief will reject leaves that looks unfitting you must be careful when plucking leaves or all your effort will be useless. The chief tea taster will take you on a tour of the Mini Tea Factory and explain the whole process, from the initial drying of the leaves, through rolling, fermenting and sifting, to produce the different types of tea.

A free afternoon gives you the opportunity to experience a typical British afternoon tea party at the colonial Grand Hotel; one of the oldest hotels in the island. It’s an experience as well as a place to enjoy some good quality Sri Lankan tea and finger foods. After having your belly filled with the yumminess, enjoy a stroll around the beautiful gardens of the hotel.

Alternatively a visit to the prestigious Ambewela Dairy Farm will have you relinquish devouring to a fresh glass of milk and some freshly made cheese!


Day 9 : Route – Nuwara Eliya / Galle

Drive Time – Approximately 5 and half hour drive

Accommodation – Aditya Resort

After a couple of civilized days in the tea country, you may be ready to explore the island’s sun and surf. You’ve waited long enough! You will descend from the hills of Nuwara Eliya to the charming town of Galle; one of Sri Lanka’s most alluring sea-side retreats.

Pass the hills to the meandering rivers, past the farms and to the idyllic southern coast until you arrive at the charming Aditya Resort; a beach resort hidden on a stretch of beach close to the historic city of Galle and which offers some of the best food. Spend a relaxed evening by the beach listening to the waves break.

Your evening will be filled with fun, frolic and plenty of good Sri Lankan food. Enjoy an authentic Hopper Party with piping hot hoppers being prepared right in front of you. You can also try your hand at making them yourself by swirling the batter in the hot pan and cracking the egg into the centre, of course under the guidance of the local veteran. Nibble into delicious, crispy egg hoppers and plain hoppers accompanied by dhal and chicken curry, so yummy it will just melt in the mouth. Wash it down with a glass of chilled beer and call it a day after having tucked into a platter of local seasonal fruits.

Top Tip| Hopper is an authentic Sri Lankan delicacy prepared out of rice flour and coconut milk, turned out using a hopper pan. It looks like a pancake but taste certainly different!



Day 10 : Route – Galle

Accommodation – Aditya Resort

Your morning is free to explore the beautiful fort town and its rich history. Interestingly, Galle is a living world heritage site that you can explore by a leisurely walk in the afternoon. Explore on foot, an endlessly exotic old trading port blessed with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques and churches, grand mansions and museums, stylish cafes, quirky boutiques, impeccably restored hotels and cafes serving yummy food and cold beer. Alternatively you could, bicycle through Galle Fort’s sleepy, cobblestone streets and markets to experience the quiet, peaceful lifestyle of Sri Lanka’s south. Appease your thirst to a freshly squeezed juice, smoothie or coconut water to ensure you stay hydrated!

For lunch meet your host; a local Muslim family from Galle to learn how to make the most popular dish among the Sri Lankan Muslim community; Biryani. Learning to make this rich and delicious dish in the home of a local Muslim family is an experience that is as cultural and authentic! Your host will show you how to prepare, marinade, season, and cook the biryani from scratch. After cooking, it down with the family to enjoy the food you’ve prepared. Be ready to expect some entertainment in forms of dancing and singing after lunch as it is very normal in Sri Lankan families. Don’t feel shy, as its all part of the fun!

Galle Fort houses some chic bars and a restaurants where you can sample amazing signature cocktails, fine wines, local or international beers in a relaxed and intimate setting. Find an idyllic spot to witness the mesmerizing sunset and enjoy ultimate relaxation out on a cool open-sided veranda.


Day 11 : Route – Galle / Colombo

Drive Time – Approximately 2 and half hour drive

Accommodation – Galle face Hotel

You’ll have a heavy heart by now. After a hearty Sri Lankan breakfast, bid good bye to the coasts of Galle and proceed to the Commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Sri Lanka’s modern commercial capital, Colombo combines colonial and contemporary architecture along its bustling streets, from the English-style cricket green, to the grand Independence Hall, to sunset views from the Galle Face Hotel terrace.

Once here how about taking a personalized walk through the streets of Colombo? Your afternoon entails having our chauffeur guide introduce you to some of Colombo’s curious sites such as the old city of Fort, the Hindu Temple at Sea Street, Dutch Church at Wolfendal, Red Mosque, the Khan clock tower, the Colombo National Museum, Kayman’s Gate, The Old Town Hall and the Old Dutch Hospital to name a few.

One of the best ways to connect with a country’s history, culture and people is through its local cuisine. The Sri Lankan cuisine has combined flavors from around the globe and yet, has a taste that is all its own. Heavily influenced by its geography, sitting in the Indian Ocean between east and west, means we are devotees of seafood! Immerse yourself in the local culture by ‘breaking bread’ with a local; this guided, curated experience distinguishes it from an ordinary restaurant visit as your host carefully explains the origin of each dish, the account for our plethora of coconuts, the staple rice and curries often eaten with roti style bread and knowledge or stories of how chilies, curry leaves, onions, cinnamon and garlic are featured in the food you cherish!

Retire for the night to sojourn at Galle Face Hotel; an iconic landmark situated in the heart of Colombo along the seafront and facing the infamous Galle Face Green.

Day 12 : Route – Colombo

Accommodation – Galle face Hotel

The morning is free to indulge in shopping of last-minute souvenirs from tea to handy crafts, gems or clothing – Colombo has the finest of them all. We suggest you make a quick stop at Selyn or Barefoot and the Spa Ceylon galleries for some glamorous souvenirs!

In the evening meet up with one of our most experienced foodie called “Auntie” to enjoy a street food tour around Colombo. It is a great way to try the best street food in town and get a sense of how life is in Colombo. You will not only be sampling a large variety of food and speak about its origin but also touch on the history of the different areas that you will be visiting. As there will be a lot of food make sure to come hungry.

Here you will be trying a number of different snacks and short eats. Afterwards walk over to the nearby neighborhood called “Slave Island” and visit one of their many small local “hole in the wall” food joints. Not only is the food amazing but they are found in beautiful old colonial building  in spite the fact that it  is very worn in its own charming way.

The last stop will be at the best “Pilawoos” in town and have some of our favorite Sri Lankan night food; Kottu Roti!

After a busy afternoon taking in Colombo’s colonial charm and tea life, retire to your accommodation and reflect on your Culinary journey by watching the sunset over the palm lined tropical landscape one last time – a cup of tea in hand!

You can also bid goodbye to the day with a high tea in the Galle Face terrace or wind down at the highly recommended King of the Mambos restaurant and bar dancing away to the local music overlooking the ocean!

Day 13: Route – Colombo / Airport

Drive Time – Approximately 1 hour drive

Enriched in the flavors of Ceylon, all good things come to an end as your chauffeur guide will return you by way of a scenic drive to the international airport for your departing flight and a safe journey home.

Where to Stay

Learn more about the luxurious properties available for your trip.

Jetwing Vil Uyana

Jetwing Vil Uyana is a true lifestyle hotel that embodies the ultimate in eco friendly luxury. Inspired by the local, rural traditions, the buildings blends into the landscape.

Heritance Tea Factory

The 54 cosy, carpeted bedrooms come with bathtubs showers in heating for when the mists close in. The main restaurant, offer the unusual experience of dining in a 1930s narrow-gauge railway carriage.

Galle Face Hotel

One of the oldest hotels East of the Suez, the Galle Face Hotel was established in 1864. Over the years, the hotel has housed royalty and celebrity.

Food Items

A few dishes you will prepare on this tour

Sri Lanka Tailor-made