Ramada Colombo is thrilled to announce the much-awaited return of the “Yaal Virindu – Jaffna Food Festival” from October 12th to 15th, 7pm onwards. This year marks the event’s third consecutive year, promising an immersive experience into the rich culinary heritage of Jaffna, brought to you by My Sister’s Kitchen founders, Thushara Innasithamby & Danu Innasithamby, in collaboration with the hotel’s Director Culinary Chef Mangala Arunashantha.
Yaal Virindu, in the vibrant Tamil language, translates to the “Joy of Jaffna.” Jaffna cuisine is a tapestry of flavours, drawing from the region’s historical influences. Characterized by bold spices, fresh seafood, and a harmonious blend of ingredients, Jaffna dishes reflect the essence of the region’s cultural diversity.
Thushara Innasitthamby, the passionate founder of My Sister’s Kitchen, embarked on a culinary journey ten years ago, focusing on preserving and promoting Jaffna cuisine. Leaving her 9-5 banker’s job behind, Thushara dedicated herself to My Sister’s Kitchen, where she meticulously grinds spices and crafts authentic Jaffna dishes, connecting the diners with the true essence of Jaffna’s culinary legacy.
“What I try to bring here, is the complete authenticity of flavours and how we used to cook at home in Jaffna. There’s always a way, in how we cook and how we mix curries so that you get that actual flavour you are meant to get. When it comes to a buffet, people try everything at once and it’s hard to get the right combinations of flavours. At this upcoming Jaffna Food Festival, we want to give some tips by colour coding the tags and allowing the guests to pair various dishes and give them an idea of what goes well with one another”, My Sister’s Kitchen Co-Founder, Thushara Innasithamby stated at the press conference held to recently to announce the launch of Yaal Virindu – Jaffna Food Festival at Ramada Colombo.
And to support her through all this will be, Ramada Colombo’s Director Culinary, Chef Arunashantha Mangala (a first time experience involving Jaffna cuisine, as he was working abroad for the past 20 years) and his team, making sure that Thushara has a seamless time in prepping all the amazing dishes.
Adding to this, Thushara said that they are mostly known for the Red Rice Pittu which is called the Pol Pittu and the way they would combine it at their home would have three options. Option one, have it with a Crab curry and Gingerly OmeletteD, Option two is have it with Kiri Hodi that includes Eggs & Prawns along with a Pol Sambol which also has a lot of prawns ground into a thick paste. The third option, is just Pittu and a Gingerly Omelette (for this, you allow the Gingerly Oil to come to a smoking stage and you put your egg inside it, and then the Gingerly Oil creates so much bubbles in it and the outcome is something similar to a fluffy pancake). These are small things that have been forgotten along the way by the people. People also eat Pittu with Mango, Jack Fruit, Bananas, and also Jaggary.
“One thing we have understood is that Jaffna Food has history that is very old in terms of where it was originated from. Our family history ties very much to the food that we have. The family that we come from; history has recorded because of the fact that they were into Ayurvedic Medicine from 1752 (the time when they came to Sri Lanka from Kerala). So, the food that we have from Jaffna is very much attached to the Kerala type of cooking. Its less gravy based, it’s more pickle and it’s more flavourful. Meat is always cut small, so the flavours are infused into the meat. So, there are so many nitty-gritty details that we were also able to discover as we went on with time.”
“If we take something for example, one of the signature dishes that Jaffna is known for is the Kool dish. The Kool itself has so many stories to it and what is there is now is a fusion of all the stories put together. Kool was known to be the poor man’s meal at one time, which was full of all the nutrition and fibre one needed. Lot of people old school Jaffna will know what all these are. Unfortunately, this has become a dying culture as a lot of people are prone to the modern food there and you tend to not enjoy it as much”, Danu added.
“As always, I am very happy to collaborate with Thushara & Danu. It’s a beautiful event with a lot of teamwork from both sides. Every year this buffet is held, there’s so many different things to eat. And adding to what Thushara said, if you try to everything on the buffet on to a single plate, it won’t be the best experience. That’s why this time we are giving a wide variety of Jaffna delights and giving an SOP to how to approach the buffet with either a colour code method on the tags or a little instruction note on the tables, simply so that your experience with the dishes is even greater. I recommend going at least 3 or 4 rounds or occasions to the buffet to try everything in the right way”, General Manager Mr. Wasim Cader stated.
To complement these authentic flavours, our Food & Beverage Director Asange Amarasekera and his team have crafted an exquisite selection of beverages such as the refreshing Orrey Adi, Jaffna Lagoon, among other delightful options starting at just Rs.1800/- Nett.
Thushara also added that there are many clients she knows who have come down from Jaffna to settle down here and the older generation, always tell her that “this is how my mother used to cook” or “what my grandmother used to cook”, because they have lost their touch and getting their ingredients to recreate those flavours. And it is these same people who come to just events to relive their childhood. We also have a lot of people from abroad who contact her and going all the way to as much as know the specific dates of when the Yaal Virindu – Jaffna Food Festival will be held at Ramada Colombo, so they can book their plane tickets accordingly and not miss this event.
Launching the first ever Jaffna Food Festival in 2002, Ramada Colombo has been one of the first city hotels to benchmark Jaffna Cuisine in the heart of the city. Therefore, we ask you not to miss this opportunity to embark on a gastronomic adventure through the flavours of Jaffna. Join us at Ramada Colombo from October 12th to 15th and experience the essence of Jaffna’s culinary heritage for just Rs.5950/- Nett per person.
For reservations and more information, please contact +94-777-864-864.
From left, Ramada Colombo PR & Communications Manager Ms. Demi Hewamanna, General Manager Mr. Wasim Cader, My Sister’s Kitchen Co-Founders Ms. Thushara Innasithamby & Mr. Danu Innasithamby, and Director Culinary Chef Arunashantha Mangala.