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Aliya Resort & Spa

A village feast, made to order
The Aliya Resort & Spa, near Sri Lanka's famed Sigiriya (Lion Rock) monument, is themed to provide guests with an appreciation of local wildlife and culture. One of the specialized services on offer is a meal prepared in a traditional kitchen by a local housewife, and eaten under the palm thatched veranda of the resort's Paddy Museum.

When my husband and I visited Aliya, we were invited to observe preparation of our meal, which involved traditional methods for grating coconuts, chopping leafy vegetables, grinding and cooking on a wood-fired stove and in clay pots. The result of all the bustle was a feast of many dishes, richly seasoned but not fiery hot: fish curry; fried lake fish; dhal; long beans in coconut milk; baby jackfruit curry; leafy, crispy mallum (a kind of vegetable salad); and pol sambol. The only true heat came from a vinegary pickle. For dessert, we had a local sweet, steamed in a banana leaf.

Perhaps most importantly, the food was served on a banana leaf--and eaten with our hands! I finally understood what Sri Lankans are on about, when they extol the virtues of experiencing the complexity of their dishes 'first-hand'. It was an extraordinary experience.

It was also one of the best meals I've had in this land of great food!
Extremely Dissappointing
We stayed at the Aliya Resort and it was the low point of our 2 week tour of Sri Lanka. We were treated rudely from the moment we checked in. The staff member that showed us to our room interrogated us about our relationship status. There were no smiles at all. We tried to be generous with staff but any gratuity was immediately counted in front of us and taken without acknowledgment. Staff is not trained and management does not respond to their guests concerns.

Audangawa, Sigiriya 21120, Sri Lanka
+94 662 040 400