Daisy and Patrick took a cooking class in Kandy during their trip through Sri Lanka and learned a lot about Sri Lankan food.
Discover Sri Lankan food during a cooking class
With an authentic cooking workshop you’ll learn to prepare the most delicious curries so you can continue to enjoy the tastes and smells of your holiday once you’ve returned home.
- Head to the local market together
- Learn to prepare traditional curries
- Get to know the locals
Rukshana and her husband Kolitha are originally from Colombo. They used to be real city folk, until 20 years ago when they turned a new leaf: “We wanted to be surrounded by nature and have more contact with the people. That’s hard in a big city sometimes.” They traded in their city life for a piece of land in the mountains of Sri Lanka, built their own house and now give cooking classes and painting workshops to tourists.
Fresh vegetables from the local market
Rukshana meets her guests at the entrance of the Kandy Market. “Cooking begins with the gathering of the correct ingredients. I always try to be at the market as early as possible, so everything is still nice and fresh.” Paprika, garlic, onion and tomato – most of the vegetables will be familiar to you. But have you ever heard of breadfruit? It’s a soft fruit that reminds you of an aubergine. Rukshana loves to tell you about Sri Lankan food. From the market in Kandy it’s about a half-hour drive to the mountain village where Rukshana and her husband now live. At the entrance an older couple greets you. They’re aunty and uncle, the neighbours. “Aunty is the best cook I know, she teaches me something new every day. She loves to lend a hand with the cooking workshop.”
On the table there is a tray with brightly coloured herbs and spices. With her guests Rukshana will run through the most common herbs used to cook Sri Lankan food. If you’re into it, Rukshana can also tell you all about the healing powers of the herbs as well. “Did you know that kurkuma is a real painkiller and that fenugreek works well to lower cholesterol?” Don’t let the amount of garlic used to prepare Sri Lankan food scare you. Not only do Sri Lankans like this, it’s also very good for you. In Sri Lanka they say: more garlic means fewer medical bills.
Sri Lankan food – washing, cutting, grating
After a short introduction session everyone is put to work. The traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry consists of more than one dish and vegetables are rarely mixed. This means you’ll have to cut, wash and grate a lot. Here, you can’t find everything in pre-packaged bags. Even the coconut milk is poured from a freshly cut coconut. In the meantime aunty is getting a fire going in the kitchen. “Nowadays many Sri Lankans have a stove but we prefer to cook on wood. It improves the taste.” While the curries are cooking Rukshana sets the table. Two plates and two sets of cutlery. “In Sri Lanka it’s custom that the guests eat first and that the hosts eat the leftovers afterwards.” Even if you insist, Rukshana refuses to join you. “It’s just tradition, you can’t shake that easily.”
Meet the locals
After the meal it’s time to stretch your legs. Rukshana takes her guests on a stroll through the village. “Here the people live as if time has stood still. The locals love to meet tourists, as they usually do not come here. The people like to show how they live. Some of the locals make traditional souvenirs for their guests.”
After the cooking workshop Rukshana and her husband offer a painting workshop as well. Kolitha is an artist by profession and he loves to share his skills. Not only tourists follow the classes. Kolitha also teaches the children in the area how to draw and paint. “We want to give something back to the people here. This way we give the children an opportunity to develop themselves in a creative way. Something that barely happens in schools.”
Learn more about Sri Lankan food
There are more places in Sri Lanka where you can follow a cooking workshop. Karlijn followed a cooking workshop at Thotupola Residence in Kandy. You can also eat with local families through all of Sri Lanka. You can take a look at the kitchen of ‘ordinary’ Sri Lankans. Via ResiRest we have a reliable network of home chefs who would love to receive you. The food is prepared in front of you and you’ll have dinner with the whole family. In the comfortable, homey atmosphere the most interesting conversations arise. Cosy and tasty, and you’ll get to know the real Sri Lankan (dining) culture. Ask Shasheen about the possibilities during your trip!
Your own round-trip Sri Lanka
Looking for a unique travel experience in Sri Lanka? At Better Places Travel you plan your entire trip together with Shasheen, our local travel expert. You’ll design your trip completely according to your wishes, so it will always be unique. Take a look at our travel suggestions first or request a travel proposal directly with Shasheen.