Chinese Dragon Cafe.

The mother of them all. Sri Lanka’s first Chinese restaurant opened its doors in 1942 and stands as one of the oldest continuously functioning restaurants in Colombo.

In its now slightly dark and faintly grubby dining rooms some of the classics of Sri Lankan Chinese food including (they claim) hot butter cuttlefish and devilled prawns first appeared on customer’s plates. They’ve been feeding people for generations and the tale of the original immigrant owners, whose descendents still run the place, is pretty gripping.

While it started as an innovator (there really was no other Chinese restaurant in Colombo in 1942)  Chinese Dragon has survived by offering Sri Lankan-Chinese classics at value prices. When Flower Drum, Flower Lounge, Orient Hong Kong, Peach Valley and other Chinese challengers emerged onto the scene Chinese Dragon stayed competitive with a sharp pricing policy. But times change and after years catering to the bargain segment of Colombo’s Chinese food loving populace the last few years has seen an attempt to go up market. The old colonial premise is now air-conditioned and their new China Doll Pan-Asian food delivery service has attracted a host of higher end consumers.

The problem with these upgrades is that the original good value premise has been eroded. A simple meal for three – hot butter cuttlefish (Rs. 750), Prawns in Thai Chilli Sauce (Rs. 700), Kankun (Rs. 400), Fried Rice (Rs. 450), and a few lime sodas (Rs. 250 each) now comes to over Rs. 3000 (remember the old ++). This may not be extortionate by Colombo standards but it’s no longer cheap, and at that level of pricing Chinese Dragon’s faded interior just doesn’t cut it. The food is also struggling to keep pace with the times. While the China Doll service is excellent, the offerings at the original Milagiriya Street restaurant aren’t particularly memorable. Chinese Dragon may have invented hot butter cuttlefish but if its current version of the classic is anything to go by the dish was clearly perfected elsewhere.

There are still some hits on the menu, belly pork (Rs. 500) is good value as is the garlic fish. Some of the rice dishes aren’t bad either but generally the food needs either an over haul or a revaluation.

Immortal it maybe but without a bit of a revamp people will begin to lose faith in even the god- father of Chinese food.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Marine Spice: Colombo’s Global Fusion Gem

Indulge in a culinary journey at Marine Spice, Colombo's latest Indian-inspired restaurant. Open daily from

Kamu Trending

Oktoberfest 2023 at Hilton Colombo

The oldest and by far, the most authentic of the Oktoberfest is back with a

Highlights Kamu Trending

“Delightful Vegan Feast: Savor the Flavors of Compassion and Health”

Indulge in an expertly crafted meal featuring an amazing array of fresh healthy and delicious

Highlights Kamu

Sri Lankan flavors with a Mexican Twist at Taco Shack

See here Tacos but make it Lankan? A legacy that began in the humble confines

Kamu Test

Keells : Your one-stop destination for quick meals and more

By Shamrina C In the fast-paced world we live in today, convenience is key, especially

Highlights Kamu

Exploring rich Italian Pasta and Pizza at Penne

By Sahasni Gamage Ambiance Penne Colombo offers a captivating aesthetic ambiance with soft, ambient lighting

Highlights Kamu


Courtyard by Marriott Colombo partners with Magzter to become Sri Lanka’s first Smart Reading Hotel

With sustainability increasingly taking centre stage in the hospitality industry, hotel chains worldwide are implementing


Mount Lavinia Hotel hosted the grand Christmas tree lighting ceremony

Mount Lavinia Hotel hosted the grand Christmas tree lighting ceremony on 26th November 2023. Dignitaries,


Gary Mehigan: Celebrity Chef and Former MasterChef Australia Judge is finally here in Sri Lanka

Internationally acclaimed Celebrity Chef and former MasterChef Australia judge, Gary Mehigan, has officially arrived in


Quick Chat with Celebrity Chef Gary Mehigan

Former MasterChef Australia Judge talks about the Culinary Extravaganza awaiting in Sri Lanka! Colombo, 21st


Unveil the Enchantment of the Tropics: Festive Luxury with Minor Hotels Sri Lanka

An unparalleled host of festive celebrations and getaways await you with Minor Hotels Sri Lanka,


The most inspired Christmas Tea Gifts from t-Lounge by Dilmah.

Embracing the festive season, and just in time for your Christmas shopping, t-Lounge by Dilmah's

Highlights Trending

Yamu Guide.

“Deck the Halls: Christmas Decor Roundup”

“Top 5 Destinations for Your Christmas Shopping Spree.” Unwrap the Magic is

Yamu Guide

11 Reasons not to miss Daraz’s 11.11 Mega Sale!

By Shamrina Carim Are you ready for a shopping extravaganza like no other? Daraz's 11.11

Highlights Yamu Guide

Yaal Virindu – Jaffna Food Festival: A Culinary Journey of Joy

In collaboration with My Sister’s Kitchen by Thushara & Danu Innasithamby By Shamrina C Sri

Highlights Yamu Guide

Where to buy the iPhone 15 in Colombo

By Shamrina Carim If you're on the hunt for the latest iPhone 15 in Colombo,

Highlights Yamu Guide

Spotting Blue Whales in Mirissa with Chaminda Whale Watching

The whale watching tour in Mirissa Start time: 6:30am Duration: 3-5 hours depending on sightings

Highlights Yamu Guide

The Rise of Plant-Based Diets: Benefits and Challenges

By Shamrina Carim In recent years, plant-based diets have surged in popularity, drawing attention for

Highlights Yamu Guide