Within half and hour of leaving Bandaranaike International Airport, we were already enjoying the tranquility and luxury that Jetwing Lagoon has to offer.
Not long after that, we were eating some seriously high quality and seriously delicious vegan Sri Lankan food.
The Vegan Food Quest (our journey to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world) clocked up quite a few Sri Lankan favourites by the time we left; all local foods and all 100% plant-based.
And in addition to all the wonderful vegan food, Jetwing Lagoon is a paradise for swimmers (they have an amazing 100m pool), those who love a bit of peace and quiet (it’s situated right on the peaceful Negombo Lagoon) and also those who love a bit of culture and history (it was the first resort to be built by Sri Lanka’s most famous architect, Geoffrey Bawa).
The Vegan Food:
Sri Lankan cuisine is perfect for vegans, offering us food made from pulses, vegetables, rice, and coconuts that is laced with native spices like cinnamon, pandan, turmeric, mustard seed and curry leaves.
The chefs at Jetwing Lagoon certainly know how to showcase the traditional food of their country in a vegan friendly way, that’s for sure.
For breakfast there was fresh local fruit (Jetwing have a policy of not serving imported fruits), coconut water and juices as well as a great selection of traditional Sri Lankan foods that were vegan.
The nutritious ‘Mukunuwenna Kola Kenda’ is a thin blended rice, coconut and mukunuwenna leaf porridge (with a mild, green pea flavour) said to have many benefits such as purifying the blood as well as increasing appetite (although we don’t need any help in this area!).
We also ate ‘string hoppers’ (steamed rice flour noodles) and ‘kiri jodi’, a mild coconut gravy flavoured with onions, turmeric, curry leaves, pandan, cinnamon and a little chilli.
String hoppers and kiri hodi, served with some fiery ‘pol sambal’ made from freshly grated coconuts, chili and shallots have to be one of the most moresish melas we’ve ever encountered.
And there was no shortage of Sri Lankan dosai, coconut roti (small coconut and wheat pancakes) and ‘Kiribath’ milk-rice made with coconut milk. Served with dahl and more delicious sambals, we had a vegan feast every morning.
At dinner time we opted for the traditional Sri Lankan ‘rice and curry’ which is basically a selection of vegetable curries served with rice and papadam.
Our favourite curries (from the huge selection we tried) included wonderful ‘tempered beetroot’, the most amazing cashew and garlic curry with plump cashews in a rich coconut milk curry, Sri lankan style vegetable noodles that were spicy with chilli, flavoured with toasty coconut oil and curry leaves and a delicious eggplant and chick pea curry.
Not to mention the dahl, which was spectacularly good – so rich, spicy and full of lentily deliciousness.
The Vegan Essentials:
Our pillows and duvet were made from synthetic fibres – top marks for a 100% vegan bed.
The spa products and room amenities were supplied by a local company and were in refillable containers which is great for the environment but we weren’t able to tell if they were vegan.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Make a reservation at Jetwing Lagoon for a peaceful stay in a luxury hotel that’s within easy reach of the airport and where you’ll get to eat delicious, vegan, traditional Sri Lankan foods.
Try the string hoppers at breakfast and the wonderful rice and curry selection at dinner time; you’ll be amazed at all the wonderful flavours.
Enjoy swimming in that huge pool too!
We were guests of Jetwing Lagoon but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.
Telephone: +94 31 2233777
Cost From: £110 / $165 per night (May 2015)