Culinary Experience: Cooking with Pali



Introducing a gastronomic experience in Sri Lanka...More images of our last tour here

Travel to Sri Lanka with a rich culinary heritage. Cook in stunning locations. Learn authentic recipes from our local cooks. Stop off for lunches in great locations and lunch with families in their homes. Shop in local markets for vegetables and spices. Taste some of the best street food available. In between cooking, interact with our cook, unwind and explore your local surroundings. The trip includes cooking demonstrations by Pali with visiting some of the island’s most spectacular sites, and staying in stunning, pleasant small hotels. This is a great way to immerse yourself in a local way of life, taste, and gastronomy. 


Introducing in 2013, this gourmet food tour is led by a zealous Sri Lankan food expert and a dear friend of ours and who works with us, Pali. Experience the complete range of Sri Lankan and Southern Indian cuisine, from mouth-watering street food to the kitchens of the Raj’s. Pali will reveal fresh insight into how food is closely influenced by both the country’s religion and culture, and how each region’s character comes into its own in the kitchen.
In all its recorded history of over 4000 years, Sri Lankan cuisine has evolved from being a rustic, nomadic diet consisting of meat and grains to using indigenous and imported spices and fresh ingredients to create flavorful mouth-watering dishes. This journey has been a fascinating one – and the piecing together of the evolution of Sri Lankan cuisine even more so.

From archaeological evidences of tools, remnants of utensils, ancient cave paintings and language analysis to detailed accounts left behind by kings, traders and travellers – these all help us understand various influences that have resulted in the Sri Lankan and Indian food of today. What emerges out of the history of the food is more than just what people eat.

Religious attitudes, civilizations and rituals the historical influences of the invaders are all deeply linked to the food and the eating habits of the people. The fascinating interplay of all these factors have resulted in complexities in Sri Lankan cuisine that is taken without any notice by locals and often goes unnoticed by visitors.  You will still be able to see how Buddhist Sinhalese food is different from the east coast Hindu Tamil meals or from the Colombo/Negombo "Burgher" Catholic/Christian (the Dutch and Portuguese descendents and those living in the west coast of Sri Lanka), different from the Kandyan culinary taste, or even more different from the street food such as Kothu rotti with some chicken curry.

On this Experience, the culinary journey of just four cities, Negombo, Cultural triangle, Kandy (ancient kings' meals in traditional village house) with Nuwara Eliya (Tamil food) will bring to the front the diversity and difficulty of the cuisine but more importantly, you will experience a thorough insight on the culture of the people that is inseparable from the food they eat. On this twelve-day culinary experience, find out not just the food of Sri Lanka but the culture behind the food.



•    Food & Cooking lovers

•    Those who want to experience the real traditional Sri Lankan food and learn how to cook it


•    Local food and cooking
•    Traditional village lunches
•    Stay in unique boutique hotels or quiet cabanas on the beach
•    Cook with the local families
•    Discover village organic home gardens and spice production


Day 1: Negombo
Transfer from the airport to your hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, enjoy a Catamaran tour with the fishermen of Negombo. Rest at your hotel.

Day 2: Negombo
Visit the famous fish market in Negombo with Pali, our cook, to purchase our fish and vegetables on a local tuk tuk. Travel on a small boat through the Dutch Canals of Negombo and discover how the “toddy tapers” take the beverage from the coconut leaf, climbing on the tree. Lunch: Open Air Cooking Lesson with Pali. MENU: Fish curry (Negombo style), Prawns Curry, Dhal curry, aubergines. Green salad, papadam and fruits for dessert and curd. In the afternoon, back to your hotel, dinner and rest.

Day 3: Sigiriya / Dambulla
Explore the Cultural Triangle. Transfer from your hotel to your Boutique Hotel near Dambulla. On the way visit the Dambulla Cave Temple and climb the Sigiriya Rock right in time for the sunset, to enjoy a spectacular view of the landscape and surroundings. Back to your hotel, dinner and rest.

Day 4: Polonnaruwa
In the morning after breakfast travel to the Polonnaruwa Ruins and Museum. By lunchtime be ready for an Open Air cooking lesson with Pali near the Polonnaruwa lake. MENU, traditional Polonnaruwa Style: String Hoppers with fresh lake fried fish curry, Coconut Sambol and Potato Curry. Dessert: seasonal fruits or fruits salad.

Day 5: Dambulla to Kandy
Travel to Kandy from Dambulla, Via Matale. Be early (9 am) in Matale, to visit a real spice garden with local farmers and the cooperative cocoa factory where farmers process their products (organic and Fair Trade). See how they dry the Cocoa Seeds and other spices, growing in a traditional Kandyan Forest Garden and then visit the garden. Lunch with the local farmers. In the afternoon, proceed to Kandy and visit in the evening the Temple of the Tooth and Kandyan Dancers. Dinner and rest in your hotel.

Day 6: Kandy
Early morning, a unique VILLAGE EXPERIENCE in the hills of Kandy. Real local cuisine and simple but rich experiences: a small village near Kandy, a little spot dotted in the midst of nowhere, where paddies and beautiful local people carry out their livelihood in its simplicity is all that’s present is worth it. Take a dip in a natural pool and waterfall, hidden in the rocks in the jungle and trek through a stepped paddy, and eat the organic food prepared by the local farmers. Learn how local organic spices grow in their natural environment (pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves etc) and how local Jackfruit grows in the forest and is used for cooking curries. This is in our view absolute quality. Afternoon free to unwind in your hotel or to walk in Kandy or shop in the Central Market.

Day 7: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Enjoy an unforgettable journey with the local train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya (luxury coach), where the guide will come and pick you for a short visit at a Tea Factory, where you can learn how tea is picked and dried. Evening relax in your hotel or enjoy a walk near the Gregory Lake.

Day 8: Nuwara Eliya to Tissamaharama
In the morning for Breakfast, enjoy an Open Air cooking lesson with Pali. Learn the traditional Sri Lankan Tamil food. Nuwara Eliya’s population is mainly Tamil. BREAKFAST MENU: Thosai and Idly with sambaru, wet green sambol and vegetables. Dessert: local fruits, mainly strawberries. After breakfast, leave leisurely to Tissamaharama and rest in your hotel.

Day 9: Tissamaharama to Galle
In the early morning enjoy a Safari in Yala National Park to see elephants, leopards and other wildlife. Afterwards, proceed to Galle for a 3 nights stay on the beach.

Day 10 : Galle
Free beach day and free time to visit the Galle fort, its ancient ramparts, cafes and art galleries.

Day 11 : Galle to Negombo
Travel to Negombo, where you will meet our cook “Pali” again and enjoy an “Aperitivo” together. Complimentary special dinner on the beach for you at your hotel offered by Paragon Holidays.

Day 12: Negombo to Airport
For your flight back home.



From Euro 3500 Per person  on twin or double room shared, depending on the season.


If you are a Solo Traveller, then the price will be around Euro 6000.


Children above 12 at the time of travel will be considered as adults.

Please note that this tour accept a maximum number of 4 pax.

The final quote is prepared according to your personal budget and needs. To tailor make this itinerary, please fill this form.
NOTE: Before you book see our Terms & Conditions 


 Click on the links below to view in a new window your place of stay or similar standard accommodation.

•    Negombo | West Coast
•    Cultural Triangle
•    Kandy | Hill Country
•    Hill Country - Grand Hotel
•    National Parks - Chaaya Wild
•    Galle | South Coast

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