I had spent several days in the Maldives, and while I find the food at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa to be quite good there’s only a limited about that’s authentic regional cuisine.
I don’t have much desire to spend time in the Maldives capital for traditional Maldivian food (I admit, I miss the original Battutta’s at the Park Hyatt that has been replaced by the Island Grill) but especially now that I live in Austin I didn’t want to give the opportunity for at least Sri Lankan food a miss. A one night stop in Colombo on the way home made good sense to me. And I’d spend it trying local dishes.
- Introduction, overview, and costs
- Star Alliance first class and business class lounges, LAX
- Etihad First Class, Los Angles – Abu Dhabi.. the 3rd Longest Flight in the World!
- Premier Inn, Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Etihad’s new business class lounge, Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Business Class, Abu Dhabi – Male
- Male Domestic Lounge and Maldivian, Male – Kooddoo, plus boat transfer to the Park Hyatt
- Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives
- Park Hyatt Maldives Menus and Pricing
- Boat Transfer and Maldivian Domestic Flight from the Park Hyatt Maldives to Male
- Male Airport Lounge and (Alone In) Emirates First Class, Male – Colombo
- Hilton Colombo
Since I didn’t have much time, and I’m not an expert on either Sri Lankan food or getting around the capital, I decided to hire a guide for a few hours on my day in Colombo.
I started with someone I found at WithLocals.com who specializes in giving food tours. But after setting up the reservation with him, and even prepaying for the day, he unilaterally cancelled on me. Something about having to leave the country that day.
So I reached out to Blue Lanka Tours which was happy to customize exactly what I was looking for. For $75 they provided a car, driver, and a guide and the price included all the food we would eat as well. (Unquestionably we didn’t come close to eating our $75 worth, but having someone along familiar with the places and the food, whom we could talk to about it and who could suggest places to go, just helped us do things so much for efficiently on such a short visit.) They’re highly recommended.
We started off the late morning at the Pettah Floating Market that’s just minutes from the Hilton.
There you can buy any pirated DVD you wish for $1. Do people still have DVD players?
More importantly, there was food to try — simple ingredients, eaten as the locals do.
I think my absolute favorite way to eat fruits and vegetables, now, is covered in sugar and hot sauce.
We stopped for some amazing kottu, made of roti, vegetables, egg, meat, and spices.
We enjoyed it in the open air courtyard, with some falooda (which I’d previously only had at an Iranian cafe in Mumbai).
From there we left the floating market.
We didn’t stop at the restaurant promising there’d be no nearby desert (probably more of a marketing position in the mideast, perhaps).
I’m always intrigued by the adoption of Che Guevara symbols, and as we walked through a parking lot I found one juxtaposed with an a bald eagle in American red, white and blue. I do not think the driver understood the mixed messages here.
Sort of like the Argentine t-shirt that reads, “I have a Che Guevara t-shirt and I don’t know why”.
Time to stop for some deep fried street snacks!
Just like the bulk section at Whole Foods!
On to some desserts to try.
These were amazing although probably too sweet.
The round yellow balls were made of chick peas, the yellow squares had a short bread consistency. The orange cake was the sweetest, most honey dripping thing I think I’ve eaten.
Finally, a well-rounded Sri Lankan vegetarian meal in a proper sit down restaurant.
Content, we made our way back to the Hilton to pack up for the journey home.