A wonderful explosion of tastes and flavours

1043 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do

Date of travel

January, 2022

Product name

A culinary tour of Kandy

Product country

Sri Lanka

Product city


Travelled with


Reasons for trip


Whilst touring Sri Lanka, our itinerary included a culinary tour of Kandy and we met our guide, Ujith, at a Hela Bojun Hala on the city’s outskirts. These are food courts of open kitchens, serving a range of traditional dishes at prices subsidised by the Ministry of Agriculture, with the intention of both promoting local produce and empowering women. This was our first tasting place.

Ujith walked us past the counters, explaining the extensive range of freshly made vegetarian organic dishes, both sweet and savoury. Some were familiar, but others totally new to us. Having found a table in the shady garden, Ujith helpfully suggested choosing a selection for us. We started with a hopper and very hot chilli sauce, before moving onto a black gram dosa (the batter is fermented for 12 hours) which came with a pumpkin curry and green coconut sambal. Our third plate had four things to try: manioc krocket, sweet potato cutlet, rice flour pattis and a roti with a spicy sauce. We finally moved onto a sweet plate with sesame balls, peni/undu walalu (strings deep fried and dipped in kithul or treacle) and konda kavum whose shape resembles a hair top knot. We weren’t sure whether we should be just sampling a little of each or clearing the plates and opted for something in between.

Back in the city centre, our first stop was a vegetarian Indian restaurant specialising in dosa. We chose a cheese and onion one, which was like a folded filled pancake on a tray with three compartments filled with chickpea and vegetable curries and a coconut chutney. It was delicious, and although we did it justice, couldn’t finish it, and having been invited to try something else, we sadly declined.

Next, now on foot, was the YMCA for soya ice cream. The mix of chocolate and vanilla was smooth and creamy and a good antidote to the spices we’d had, although we did wonder how this mix would react in our stomachs.

Taking a break from eating, we walked down Colombo Street with Ujith explaining the various dried fishes, varieties of rice and pulses, and vegetables on sale. At the Ayruvedic shop we bought spices to take home.

We stopped for refreshment and watched as a king coconut was expertly prepared in front of us, and we drank the juice before heading into the Queen Hotel, for fresh fruit juice in what was an empty bar.

Our final stop was drinks at the Royal Bar and Hotel, a wonderful colonial building with rooms around an open courtyard. It resembled a museum with English clocks, pictures of the Queen, Union Jacks and an armoury with an amazing collection of historical photos. Having been given a choice of Lion beer or Arak we shared one of each, with Ujith suggesting soda and ice for the 32% proof Arak. A second round of Arak finished off both our tour and us, and we headed back to our hotel for an early night!

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.