CNNGo in Sri Lanka: Spicy crabs, blue whales and Ceylon tea

Fresh seafood mixed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites — CNNGo explores Sri Lanka

Editor’s note: This month CNNGo heads to the island nation of Sri Lanka. Previous episodes can be viewed on the CNNGo page.

Starting in Sri Lanka’s freshest seafood market and the renovated racecourse in Colombo, this month’s CNNGo episode then ventures beyond the capital city to the seaside city of Galle and the tranquil tea farm-filled countryside.

Ministry of Crab

CNNGo Sri Lanka spicy crabSorry, Singapore. Chili crabs are actually from Sri Lanka.

Singapore may be famous for its chili crab, but most of those clawed creatures come from Sri Lanka’s seas.

The mission of the Ministry of Crab is to reclaim the crab crown for Sri Lanka.

Here you can get chili crab (spicier than the Singapore version), garlic crab, curry crab and ginger crab.

Freshwater prawns almost as big as lobsters are also served.

Ministry of Crab, Old Dutch Hospital, Colombo; +94 11 234 2722; open daily 6-11 p.m., from noon onwards on weekends, closed on Poya Days

Colombo Racecourse

CNNGo Sri Lanka Formerly a racecourse and an airfield, Colombo Racecourse is now an international rugby ground.

From its original use as a horse racing track in 1893 to a temporary airfield in 1922, the Colombo Racecourse has been through several incarnations.

These days the newly-renovated Colombo Racecourse — though it’s held onto its original architectural integrity — functions as an international rugby ground and features new restaurants and shops.

Colombo Racecourse, Colombo


CNNGo Sri Lanka BarefootQuality souvenir shopping and a coffee break from the capital.

An oasis in the middle of the city, Barefoot offers a peaceful cafe setting enclosed by a gallery featuring local artists and a shop stocked with handmade and natural products.

It’s the perfect answer for anyone in need of quality souvenirs and a break from the Colombo noise.

Barefoot, 706 Galle Road, Colombo; +94 11 258 9305; open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday and Poya Days; more locations on Barefoot’s website

Galle Fort

CNNGo Sri Lanka Head back to 1500s at Galle Fort.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in the south of Sri Lanka, the Galle Fort still maintains a lot of its 16th century charm and is open to visitors.

There’s plenty of shopping within its walls, yet it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.

Galle Fort, 65a Lighthouse St, Galle, Sri Lanka; +94 91 223 2568/9

Borderlands whale watching

CNNGo Sri Lanka whale watchingWhale watchers have a 70% change of spotting one of the burly beauties.

Locals say you’ve got about a 70% chance of seeing a blue whale when you go whale watching in Mirissa.

Your best bet is to take a private whale watching tour.

There are a variety of options — the default seems to be large boats with crowded tours.

If you’re happy to splurge, it’s worth taking a private boat for $100 per person.

Borderlands‘ whale watching tour, Weligama; +94 11 441 0110/2504602; from $175

Ceylon Tea Trails

CNNGo Sri Lanka Ceylon Tea FarmThe Ceylon Tea Farm shows visitors how the popular drink is grown and harvested.

Dilmah offers an experience that fully immerses visitors in the world of tea.

From living like a tea plantation owner in a luxury bungalow to learning how the tea is harvested and processed, you’ll leave here with a whole new respect for your humble cuppa.

Ceylon Tea Trails, Castlereagh Bungalow, Hatton, Carolina, Norton, Wanarajah Road, Hatton; +94 51 738 8401; rates from $405 per night


Dharshan Munidasa, co-owner and chef, Ministry of Crab

Ishara, media personality

Dilshan Michaels, media personality, TNL Radio

Indi Samarajiva, founder, Yamu

Roz Freeman-Attwood, spa consultant

Thana Sritharan, chairman, City Construction Contractors Ltd

Dee de Silva, former director HR, MAS Holdings

Malik Fernando, director, Dilmah Tea

Merrill J. Fernando, founder, Dilmah Tea

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