With our premier restaurants in Kandy, prepare to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure with exquisite Third Dimension Cuisine. Aitken Spence Hotels showcase a unique gastronomy. It is built on authentic Sri Lankan cuisine developed not only through generations of tradition but by using the latest scientific advancements and outstanding culinary skills of our internationally award winning chefs. Sri Lankan cuisine, which we have inherited, is based on local ingredients and enriched by the history of influences the island nation has faced over its long history.
The island is said to have been colonised by the Balangoda people about 34,000 years ago. Veddas (forest-dwellers) are believed to have inhabited Sri Lanka for at least 16,000 years.
Although originally believed to be hunter-gatherers, evidence suggests that they grew agricultural crops such as oats and barley. As Sri Lanka has a vast coastline, fish was also a major part of the diet of the islanders. In the 5th Century BCE, the migrants from North India (later to be called the Sinhalese) settled along rivers and introduced the cultivation of wet paddy. Subsequent elaborate irrigation systems allowed the development of a thriving hydraulic civilisation which utilised many tropical ingredients.
Sri Lanka’s location made it a popular stop-off point for foreign traders, especially as it produced many fine spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Cinnamon, a spice native to the island, was used in Ancient Egypt in about 1,500 BCE.
Sri Lanka was frequented by Arabs traders and also entertained explorers, emissaries and spiritual leaders from Europe to China. It also experienced the South Indian invasions in the 10th century CE. The island was partly or fully colonised consecutively by the Portuguese (from 1505), the Dutch (from 1658) and the British (from 1796) that also resulted in a rich variety of cuisine being introduced to Sri Lanka.
Examples of gastronomic influences include Arabs who introduced the use of saffron and rose water, Portuguese who not only introduced chilies to the island but also culinary terms such as ‘temper’ which is derived from the Portuguese word, temperado – to fry and season – and the Dutch who introduced recipes rich in eggs and butter such as Breudher, a Dutch Christmas cake, plus savoury recipes such as Frikkadels (meatballs). There are also Malay influences as can be seen in the dish watalappam, which is a steamed dessert, and the rice dishes pilau and biriyani.
The local cuisine built on indigenous ingredients was enriched by a diverse mix of culinary influences from around the world. The common Sri Lankan cuisine perhaps a generation earlier was not only a wonderful mix of colour, taste and aroma; it was also of high nutritional value.
Aitken Spence Hotels seek to revive Sri Lanka’s heritage in gastronomy in a way that uses modern knowledge to identify and sustain optimal nutritional value. In addition to taste and presentation, Aitken Spence Hotels have introduced nutritional value as the third dimension to cuisine.
We take extra care, from choosing just the right ingredients, to careful attention to cooking methods, to ensure that only the best of Sri Lankan cuisine is served at Aitken Spence Hotels. All this is delivered by an award-winning team of culinary experts who have set global benchmarks in culinary art.