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Going Dutch Thali-style

Going Dutch Thali-style

By Juliet Coombe

To match the opulence of Landesi by Jetwing situated on Middle Street, a magnificent banquet style breakfast is served in a range of dishes known as a Tropical Dutch Thali. Each item is served on a bamboo string hopper mould, which are turned upside down and used like mini trays for each delicacy to be placed in a lazy Susan circular pattern on a bamboo tray known as wattiya that is traditionally used for drying the rice in the surrounding paddy fields. Beautifully set off with freshly picked green beetlenut leaves from Prabath the villas head chefs village Gannegoda and lovingly placed under each item. Looking at this magnificent feast one already feels a treat is in stall from what is used symbolically for New Year and good luck blessings. Dutch in every sense of the word from sliced up Dutch Edam cheese, to lush home made fruity jams, and curd, Sri Lanka’s version of thick Greek like yoghurt, pitted green olives and a dozen home baked white rolls.

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Thali originated as a Tamil word from India, which means plate with a selection of various dishes constantly re-filled until you have had your fill, but today the dishes and style vary from region to region in South Asia and at Landesi by Jetwing this is no exception. The Thali is served on a round tray, often hand made woven from bamboo in the villages surrounding the old fort. Traditionally they were used to raise the rice to the wind as illustrated by a painting in the main dinning room by Janak and to get rid of all the chaff, keeping the best paddy to eat with the curries served three times a day. In Galle Fort one can see the influence of the South Indian cuisine through the fisherman who came from Kerala to fish off the reef and this can be found in everything from the parawa fish curry to the mango hand made chutneys (another tamil word meaning to lick). Go to Parawa Street a short walk from the Landesi and you will find this is the original home of the South Indian fisherman, just one of many different nationalities to have traded in these waters, once known as the Silk Route of The Sea.

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The villa staff love the concept of the thali with”bottomless” refills something a thali is famous for in India and one they embrace as they want all their guests to eat as much as they like until fully satisfied. This is truly Sri Lankan in spirit and yet tropical Dutch in style making it the perfect fusion meal to start a day tour of the 400 year old citadel either on an amazing Galle ride gliding through the back streets or merchants of the fort walk.

They say in Colombo they dress well, in Kandy they are great thinkers and in Galle they always eat well. Nowhere will you find this truer than at Landesi by Jetwing.

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