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The Time Out Sri Lanka blog

Your guide to island life, news, culture and everything in-between

Street Food in Sri Lanka

Street food is a national treasure here in Sri Lanka. The fondness and love we put into making food with recipes that have been passed down generation after generation, has in no small way affected the very fabric of our every day lives. So next time you are in our neck of the woods and you’re looking for something good to eat… here are seven tasty street food treats, you don’t want to miss out on. Kothu         The King of Sri Lankan street food, Kothu in theory seems like an easy enough dish to make but people rarely make it at home. Instead Kothu can be bought at anyone of the multitude of restaurants that has to offer. The dish consists of Godambha rotti, vegetables, egg or meat and some spices. It is prepared on a hot cooking surface with two rectangular knives chopping the roti and accompaniments up into small pieces before it is served piping hot. Kothu is usually accompanied with sauce to put over it like Masala sauce.   Acharu         Acharu is a very fond memory for every Sri Lankan who has the tangy, sweet taste of it etched into their minds thanks to their childhood. What the dish is un ripe fruit pickled in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt and some chili powder. Often fruits used for Acharu are mango, pineapple and ambarella but it is also made using olives.   Uludu Wade Wade is a staple in any Sri Lankan street food connoisseur’s pantry. This savory doughnut type morsel is soft and doughy on the inside but crispy on the outside often times w

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By: Time Out editors

Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green, the little gay strip in the heart of Colombo open to all, has been a part of the city since Dutch times. But it became a promenade only in 1859. Victorian ladies with parasols and umbrellas and equally dressed up men took the air here. What a contrast from now, when less composed and haughty people of a much more liberal an advanced age gather in droves, also to ‘take the air’. But something about Galle Face Green makes it redolent of the colonial times. Probably because it is surrounded by so many colonial landmarks: the Galle Face Hotel, the cannons, the beach itself. Also the neighbourhood has changed but little from what it was in the mid 19th century. It has the same air of grandeur.     Galle Face is an experience of itself. In each and every visitor coming at dusk, the place breeds a bracing feel of freedom. It is the ideal place for kiting with its sea winds, and for lovers and for any human the best place to ‘let go’ – to use a vulgar phrase. There is a great feeling of conviviality as crowds gather in the evenings and as soft hues chase each other in the sky till darkness affirms itself. Little lamps and lights glow in the promenade in the blue light, coming from carts selling street food.

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By: Time Out editors

Andare – Sri Lanka’s beloved jester

If you grow up in Sri Lanka, then the famous fables of “Andare” would undoubtedly be a part of your childhood. For those who haven’t, here’s an introduction.  Andare was a court jester whose witty acts and satirical comments entertained  both royals and commoners alike. Most of the stories, have a comical ending with Andare getting the better of villagers and even the King. They mainly highlight the mindlessness of others, and pranks. Andare was also an accomplished poet, who could instantly compose verses, to suit  any situation. His true talent however lay in his ability to get away with sheer mockery directed at even the King, who at times tried to get the better of Andare but failed. People took no offence for his light-hearted humour, for ultimately the situation became very amusing. Whether the underlying message of his prank and witticism was understood was understood remains a mystery that never bothered dear Andare! The beauty of his character, was that he just didn’t care.  So, did this daredevil really exist? There are high chances that Andare was an imaginary caricature born out of the minds of intellects who dared to sneer at the lack of intelligence and vanity of society. Another theory is that he hailed from the Southern town of Matara and was called to the Kandyan empire where he served as the jester. Despite being a mere joker, the tales suggest Andare had a superior intellect that aided him in turning situations to his favour. After his death he was buried

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By: Time Out editors
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Find it all at Kandy

Tucked away against a lush green backdrop, Kandy and the Central Hilly country is the epicentre of Buddhist culture here in Sri Lanka. Not only does the world famous ‘Esala' Perahera happen here but it also the home to many of the country’s significant cultural resources.   Esala Perahera       The Sri Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic resides in Kandy, as does The Royal Palace where the last King of Sri Lanka reigned. Kandy is also the second largest city in Sri Lanka and has no shortage of unique and luxurious places to stay.      ©BT Images     When in Kandy, a must visit spot is the Kandy City Centre, ‘the’ shopping mall for those who shopping lovers!   Kandy City Centre (KCC)   Have a look at this list of some spectacular hotels located in this area: Queen’s Hotel Hotel Suisse Amaya Hills Kandy Earl’s regency Hotel Hunas Falls by Amaya Hotel Hilltop Ozo Kandy Randholee The Swiss Residence Kandy Bungalow by Kandy The Kandy House Taylor’s Hill The Lake Hotel The Lake House The Other Corner Amaya Lake Sigiriya Royal retreat Signature by Amaya       Amaya Hills       Amaya Hills         Queen’s Hotel       Queen’s Hotel    

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By: Time Out editors

5 Things to Take Home from the Island

Our check list will ensure that you baffle guests and friends and earn a many “Where did you get this??!!”

More often than not souvenir shopping can be a confusing chore especially when you want to buy valuable items and stay clear from  meaningless overpriced kitsch.Here is a list of our best pick of goodies that are proudly Sri Lankan; Make sure that you take a reasonable stash of these which are best bought here than in any other place.

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By: Hansani Bandara

Row, row, row your boat!

Paddle through the picturesque waterways of this paradise isle Sri Lanka is home to a host of beautiful waterways surrounded by lush greenery that sets a truly tranquil ambiance. So make the most of these views by either hopping on a boat or taking a leisurely stroll. We've listed out the popular and well-known destinations. If you plan to take a dip make sure you consult the nearby centres on which areas are safe for swimming or lookout for Danger boards.  Be sure to wear bright life jackets before getting on a boat. Gregory Lake Gregory’s Lake situated surrounding a luscious green stretch of grass, serves as a hub for recreational activities in Nuwara Eliya. Built by Governor William Gregory during the British era, the lake is a highly sought after destination by both local and foreign trippers and is a famous spot for boat rides. You will find a number of swan and paddle boats lining its banks ready to offer you a relaxed ride and a splendid view of the surrounding panorama. This marvellous river escape is sure to cherish you with pleasant memories in your trip to hill country.    Madu Ganga (Madu River) Madu Ganga, situated roughly 74 km from Colombo is in the Southern coastal region near Balapitiya. A renowned aquatic sight, a wetland river safari in the Madu Ganga will be quite long roughly taking between 2-3 hours. So be sure to take essentials such as water bottles, sun glasses and a hat for shade from the scorching sun. Behold the lush green mangrove swamps o

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By: Time Out editors
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Things to do on World Book Day

It’s April and along with the many other celebratory days is World Book Day! Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, this day promotes reading, publishing and copyrighting. It falls on the 23rd of April, which is a Saturday. So go, celebrate! You can start your day by reading, spend the whole day reading and go to sleep reading. But, this year, let’s turn things around. Challenge yourself We all have our preferred reading spots. Curled on a bed away from all noise and commotion, in coffee shops, lounging on the toilet seat, while travelling, amongst crowds or any place we find to be comfortable. This April, choose a spot that is unfamiliar. If you like to read in peace, put yourself amongst a crowd. Dare yourself to finish at least 5-7 pages. If you prefer noise, move to a serene atmosphere, let your self speak to you, get distracted and you just might write your own work of art that way.     Multi-task Multitask this April. Read while doing something important. While, this might sound like bad advice, this could help you improve your multi-tasking skills. So, read or write while getting dressed, while eating or sneak in a peak even during work!   Go for a walk Stroll through second hand bookstores. Walk in to these cramped treasure troves and find the many stories the shelves and piles of paper carry. Discover notes written by strangers on books. Honest wishes, highlighted personal favourite lines and underlined words ar

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By: Time Out editors

Mahiyangane

As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, things began in Mahiyangane. The Buddha visited there to dispel the yakkhas: the first mention of the country in the ancient chronicles. Even to this day Mahiyangane is redolent of yakkas, vedddas, or the first inhabitants who were here before the Sinhalese came.           There’s a lot of controversy as to whether the yakkas and the veddas are the same. These are questions for which solutions seem not to be forthcoming. But Mahiyangane is a place, which impresses nearly every Sri Lankan with its air of great antiquity.             It is not a big town. Up until recently it was a shaded little hamlet with not even a two-storied building within sight. Things were spread out, rural, with green mountains, vast open spaces or yellow paddy fields being the only substantial features of the landscape. These vast landscapes are the most attractive thing about Mahiyangane. If you visit when rainy weather is not on, you can enjoy the idyll of this ancient land now gone wild. But for most Sri Lankans going to Mahiyangane is a pilgrimage. It was the first place in the country visited by the Buddha. The temple with its vast grounds, sits by the meandering Mahaweli River. The temple is renowned for another reason: it hosts the second most important shrine of god Saman, the most important of local deities. His main shrine is in the more upcountry Ratnapura. His second seat here, however, is also revered.               The other

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By: Time Out editors

Happy hour in Colombo

The city that "almost" never sleeps in Sri Lanka, unless on Public Holidays of course, Colombo hosts a great set of pubs and bars ranging from luxurious to rustic atmospheres. If you are in town or just want to grab a drink after a busy day we’ve narrowed down the times and places where you can maximise your socialising budget.

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By: Time Out editors
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Sri Lankan English: A dialect worth learning

Get with the local dialect  Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisers left a chunk of their culture behind, and the English language is one of them. However, our multi-cultural society has been adapted this language to create a local vernacular. So for the visitor, here’s a guide that will help you understand and communicate easily. One hundred thousand is a lakh Almirah is a wardrobe Aubergine and eggplant is brinjal Baila is an infectious dance music inherited from the Portuguese  Tooting the horn is a single word known as horning To let someone down is to give them a Dead-rope A group of friends, family or people is lovingly known as a jingbang  Rather than stressing something with of course, we would say otherwise To come at one’s leisure means to come quietly Plaint Tea is tea without milk in Sri Lanka A rice-puller is any dish that makes food tastier for consumption A palm civet is a polecat Tube light is a florescent light Frangipaniis temple flower  

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By: Time Out editors

Comments

3 comments
Robert C
Robert C

I visited Sri Lanka last year and I was moved by the service and hospitality provided to me by my Tour operators.

Just if any one planning holidays at Sri Lanka can keep this as a reference.

DJ travels - inquiry@visitsrilankaholidays.com

contact-  +94 77 650 7253, +94 66 205 6411