Sri Lankan cuisine is very distinctive, an exotic blend of tastes and aromas enriched by ethnic diversity and centuries of interaction with outside settlers. From early Arab traders to the European colonisers, Sri Lankan food has a wide range of international influences and is rich in flavour and variety. From rice and curry – a meal with a deceptively simple name that incorporates seven separate dishes, from curries to sambols – to the ever-popular string hoppers served hawker-style on the streets, something to please everyone can be found on your Sri Lanka holiday.

Sri Lanka has long been known for its spices, which Sri Lankan people use liberally in their dishes. Visit a spice garden and see how some of them are grown and processed, including clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace and pepper – and other favourites such as chocolate and vanilla.

Tea is also widely cultivated on this fertile tropical island, especially in the cool hill country but also in the lowlands. Sri Lanka has been renowned for its tea since the 19th century and is now the world’s fourth largest exporter of the product – take a tour of a tea factory and watch how the plant is processed from the leaves into this much-loved drink.

From bustling local markets bursting with tropical fruits and bizarre vegetables, vibrant aromatic spices and glittering fish to the delicious fresh crabs, prawns and other seafood found all along the coastline, there are many culinary delights to be seen and sampled. Your chauffeur-guide will be only too happy to help find you some tasty treats whilst you are on the road, or recommend a restaurant renowned for its excellent food.

Tickle your taste-buds

From Market to Mouth – Galle

Meet your host chef early in the morning at bustling Galle market, who will show you the core vegetables and spices used in Sri Lankan cuisine. Then, take a boat ride and bicycle ride to a rustic wattle-and-daub hut in a rural village, where your chef will show you how to prepare a range of dishes.

Jaffna Crab Curry – Jaffna

Jaffna cuisine is renowned for its use of the fresh seafood, and the region is especially famous for its crab curry. Learn the secrets to cleaning fresh sea crabs and how to prepare a traditional Jaffna crab curry. To finish off the experience, sit down to one of the best meals you will eat whilst in Sri Lanka.

Cinnamon Experience – Koggala

Sri Lankan cinnamon is regarded as the best in the world, and is a major export of the island. After taking a walking tour of a working cinnamon plantation, try your hand at cinnamon peeling and head to the factory to see it being processed. Finish with a cinnamon-themed lunch at Kahanda Kanda on the beaches of Sri Lanka.

Artisan Tea Tasting – Colombo

Join the Founder of Sri Lanka’s first designer tea brand, TEAELI in Colombo, for a fascinating session where you will learn all about the processing and manufacture of tea and the many varieties of tea found in Sri Lanka. You will also taste a selection of green, black and fusion teas from the artisan TEAELI collection.

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Author: Steppes Travel