Get thee to Sri Lanka

String hoppers served with a variety of curries. A wonderful way to start the day in Sri Lanka.

Last weekend, S and I had the pleasure of visiting Sri Lanka for the very first time. It was a short trip, but one in which we tried to pack in as much activity (and eating) as possible. Our primary reason for flying over was to attend a friend’s wedding. We have, though, ever since the country had become more stable, been meaning to see it firsthand. So it was a trip we were eager to make.

Clockwise from top left: S enjoying a young coconut at a lovely lakeside restaurant called Diya Sisila where we also had marvelously fresh prawns fried in garlic and a huge platter of crabs seasoned with just a hint of curry; S on the way to a festive lunch that was held by the groom’s parents at Lunuganga, Geoffrey Bawa’s former country estate; one of the entrances at Lunuganga; rich, spicy and succulent prawn curry.

Sri Lanka is worth visiting right now for several reasons. Firstly, for the food. I don’t know about you, but the more I learn about–and taste–Sri Lankan food, the more interested in it I become. It’s a wonderfully rich and complex cuisine. And one that I am just beginning to understand.

A Greek statue perched on the edge of Lunuganga, the brilliantly designed Geoffrey Bawa property, creates an interesting visual and cultural juxtaposition.

Another reason to go is to see the country before tourism literally explodes. And it will. Sri Lanka has lush landscapes, gorgeous beaches, some great architecture, amazing food, and some serious investments pouring in. It’s just a matter of time before the beaches get just a bit too crowded. In fact, many of the people we met at the wedding were describing the country as reminiscent of “Bali 30 years ago, before it got too touristy.”

A nice, smart Western breakfast is a good alternative if you need to lay off the curries for a day.

Clockwise from top left: Sri Lanka’s resorts are rife with picture postcard views; another amazing view, this one from the helm of a catamaran that was sent to fetch us for lunch by a waterside restaurant; S lounging around our hotel, catching up on international news.

A third reason to visit–and this one will appeal especially to the ladies–is to buy gems or jewellery. Sri Lanka is one of the best sources for many sought-after stones, including my wife’s favourite, the saphhire. It is a great place to purchase well-priced and locally-mined saphhires, rubies, cat’s eyes, aquamarines, tourmalines, garnets, amethysts, and other pretty baubles. Just make sure you go to a government-licensed shop.

A lovely roti (bread) topped with fish curry, potato curry, and onion relish.

Sadly, the trip was really, in our opinion, much too short. But we’re already planning to visit again, if not this year then next. We got the chance to check out this gorgeous holiday villa as well as this stunning hotel, so we know where we want to stay next time (unfortunately, we didn’t stay at either this past trip). And we also had some amazing food. The best three meals we had were at Mama’s Guest House in Galle, at Lunuganga in Bentota, and at Diya Sisila, also in Bentota. Of course, our goal is to discover many more great places to eat at in the future.

Well, see you there soon!

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!