FLAVORS OF Sri Lanka
The Food of Sri Lanka is rich in cultural and regional variation and has been influenced over the centuries by those who visited, colonized and traded introducing
unique ingredients and recipes and creating a mouthwatering blend of Dutch, Portuguese, English, Arab, Malay, Moor and Indian flavors.
Our menus at Nisala Arana have been inspired and motivated by these different cultures and a shared common love of food and celebration.
Get ready to learn more about Hoppers, Wattalappam and Lamprais.
The Portuguese arrived by accident to the Island of Serendib in 1505 landing at Galle.
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It was the first contact the Islanders had with Europeans and their influence over the years become an essential component in many aspects of life.
You will be surprised to learn that the Portuguese introduced chilies to the Island. They were also responsible for the establishment of bread making; the introduction of tomato and celebratory cakes, such as ‘Love cake’ made with semolina, ground cashews and honey, perfumed with nutmeg, cinnamon and rosewater. It's known around the country by its English name but stems from the Portuguese era, as does bolo fiado, a layer cake of pastry, dried fruit and syrup.
When the Dutch finally wrested the maritime provinces of Ceilão (Ceylon) from the Portuguese in 1658,
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The Dutch contribution to the Island's culinary fare is varied. The greatest legacy is lamprais -a name with its origins in the Dutch lomprijst. Lamprais is an enhanced version of the traditional rice and curry. The rice is boiled in stock and accompanied by sambols (hot relishes) and frikkadels (Dutch for meatballs). The whole is moistened with coconut milk, wrapped in a banana leaf, and baked or steamed to produce a meal for special occasions. Another Dutch specialty Breudher is a buttery yeast cake, studded with sultanas and traditionally made at Christmas from the Dutch broodie “Bread”.
British Ceylon, known contemporaneously as Ceylon, was a British Crown Colony between
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British Ceylon, known contemporaneously as Ceylon, was a British Crown Colony between 1802 and 1948 and with the introduction of rubber; coffee and tea plantations made Ceylon one of the richest countries in Asia.
The British are certainly famous for their love of tea and we celebrate this offering a daily high-tea experience serving a selection of Ceylon teas with homemade butter biscuits, ginger puddings, scones, pikelets, fresh strawberries, jams and clotted cream. We also offer a unique tea tasting experience to be booked in advance for small or larger groups of guests.
Food influences from other neighbouring populations are also seen and enjoyed throughout the Island.
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Indian flavors are well represented and Muslim visitors introduced flatbreads such as roti and paratha while the Arab Traders shared the samosa. Famous local fare includes the Sri Lankan hoppers, made with rice flour and ready to be filled with egg and chutneys. Rice and curry is the national dish of Sri Lanka and is often served with poppadum’s and sambols. With bountiful coastlines an array of amazing seafood also finds its way into local menus.
The delicious dessert of Wattalappam, made from jaggery, coconut milk, egg and cardamom, likely originated from Malay traders from the Spice Islands.