Malayan Cafe (Jaffna).

If you love Jaffna, check out the new Wolvert Apartments in the city center.

The Malayan is a tasty, charming and picturesque vegetarian cafe in Jaffna. The location is timeless and laid-back, as is the all-veg food.

The Food

The paper dosa

Malayan food is all veg. Don’t come here looking for Jaffna crab, prawns, etc.

We went there for breakfast but they also do lunch and we think dinner. The basic structure of the meals is kinda the same – one carb (dosa, idli, string hoppers, rice), veg curry (sambar), chutney. There’s some variation but that’s basically it.

The onion dosa

If you’re going for breakfast, we can recommend the dosa, especially the onion dosa, pictured here. This is a novel dish for us, dosa folded over a bunch of soft, caramelized onions. It’s really good. Their ghee dosa and paper dosa are also good.

Their goat’s milk tea

They also do an interesting and tasty goat’s milk tea. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

The Malayan is basically our favorite place for breakfast in Jaffna. We ended up paying about Rs. 200 per person.

The Location

The Malayan exterior

The exterior of the Malayan says established in 1951 and, thankfully, it looks like it hasn’t changed much since. From the hand-lettered signage to wood cupboards around the shop, it’s a different sort of kade. Most street eateries are crassly modern – all advertising and aluminum and plastic. But not here.

The cupboards

There’s wood paneling, seating and – if you look back – a bunch of dudes in sarongs making industrial amounts of dosa and string hopper. It’s quite clean, especially compared to a lot of Jaffna places.

The Malayan interior


We cannot fault the service. It’s classic saiver kade, fast, efficient and friendly. They also have something novel, phone numbers posted on the wall if you have any service complaints.


Paper dosa viewed the other way

If you’re looking for a clean, charming and authentic meal in Jaffna, we highly recommend the vegetarian Malayan Cafe.

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