Few facets of society can become as truly an ambassador for the identity of a country as its cuisine. While art, architecture, and other aspects of a culture’s coat-of-arms seldom traverse the globe, food and the traditions associated with it permeate readily through the world, carried on the backs of travellers wishing to bring a piece of their homeland on long voyages to strange lands.
Sri Lanka’s cuisine too, with its distinctive underlying hint of coconut and aromatic spices reminiscent of the sunny tropics, has managed to carve a niche in the global culinary terrain, from the modest yet delicious hoppers taking London by storm to the Sri Lankan rice and curry stops in Melbourne and Sydney. In addition, with the world moving towards healthier, organic, and vegetarian dishes, Sri Lankan cuisine is actively sought after by those who are looking to incorporate wholesome meals into their diets. Humble, nutritious dishes that have for aeons bubbled away in clay pots over wood fires in Sri Lanka’s village homes have, fittingly, become the flag bearers for the nation.
Closer to home, however, our cuisine is a singularity which draws the myriad faiths of Sri Lanka to one table as brothers and sisters. Through the centuries, people from all corners of the world flocked to Sri Lanka, one of the premier trading ports in the ancient world, bringing with them festivities and flavours of their homeland to make the island a true melting pot of culture and cuisine and a celebration of diversity.
Everyone is invited to sit at the table to enjoy rich, creamy milk rice at the dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April, regardless of religion and ethnicity. We all look forward to the decadent watalappan and saffron-hued biriyani that herald Ramadan and the end of the fast and, of course, every Sri Lankan eagerly awaits the coming of December to indulge in the Christmas delicacies. Even in our choice of street food, we can recognize the influence of the island’s diversity with vadai vendors sharing the streets with burger stalls and ice-cream trucks.
At Jetwing, we take pride in the food and flavour that bring the island together as one and sing its praises on the global stage. With hotels and resorts across the island, we bring the heart and soul of the island to the dinnerplate – the freshest seafood from the seas of Negombo to traditional rice grown on our vast paddy fields of Wellawaya and the vegetables and spices of the country’s agricultural heartlands of Dambulla.
Jetwing has also embarked on a programme to reintroduce traditional dishes that have disappeared into obscurity, reviving a portion of Sri Lanka’s culture long since lost to the sands of time.
Our exploration of the island’s cuisine and its influence has taken us across the world and back to the traditional roots of Sri Lanka and we invite you to join us on our adventure as Jetwing gets on the trail of the country’s culinary autograph.