Vegan in Sri Lanka Travel: 8 Amazing Places & What to Eat

In this article, I am going to share restaurants and places we stayed in Sri Lanka during several trips including our long road trip adventure by car to Jaffna and back to Colombo. Each time we were on a journey to discover amazing places, made lots of new friends, saw some magnificent scenery, ate extraordinary food and stayed in unique places. As you know being vegan in Sri Lanka is a challenge although being vegetarian is super easy. Sri Lanka loves milk (not as much as South Korea/Japan). It’s part of tradition and culture.

This article is all about our experiences, particularly about travelling as a vegan in Sri Lanka but outside of Colombo.

Some of the other related articles in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Guide with 16 Travel Tips – General travel guide for Sri Lanka

Vegan Restaurants in Colombo | 19 Best Places to Eat – Restaurants in Colombo for Vegans

25 Best Vegan-Friendly Cafes in Colombo with Drinks & Food – Cafes in Colombo – particularly for digital nomads

1. Kandy, Central Sri Lanka

Kandy is the largest city in central Sri Lanka. It’s surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and rainforests.

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Vito Wood Fired Pizza – Amazing stone-baked vegan pizzas in Kandy

This was an unexpected find. We were expecting to have just a salad and a drink and nothing more.

The veggie supreme can be made without any cheese and the staff confirmed that the dough was egg-free and dairy free.

We ended up with delicious pizzas.

Address: 56 Saranankara Rd, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 77 454 9000

They are also on UberEats for delivery

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Cool Corner Fried Ice Cream Parlor – Vegan ice cream in Kandy

Cool Corner Fried Ice Cream Parlor offers vegan ice creams and desserts that you could die for. Here you can find fancy vegan ice cream. There are plenty of options to choose from, the menu had a list of fried ice cream with fruity, chocolaty, coffee, herbs and spicy flavours.

Chocolate, chili & dates flavoured
Chocolate, chili & date flavoured

For vegan ice-creams, they use soy or coconut milk.

I decided to go for Chocolate Chili and Date flavour and it was delicious. I also tried other varieties with banana, coffee and ginger. They also have sugar-free options.

They fry ice cream in front of you and you can see what the ingredients are.

Coffee and ginger flavoured vegan ice cream
Coffee and ginger flavoured vegan ice cream

Ice-Cream: 5/5

Ambience: 4/5

Cost: Average ($15 for a couple)

Address: 114 Peradeniya Rd, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 812 205 218

Parking – Limited spaces available on the road

http://coolcornerfriedicecream.com/

Making friend ice cream in front of customers
Making vegan ice cream in front of customers

Hi-Pro Soy (Soya Centre) – More vegan ice cream in Kandy

Hi-Pro Soy (Soya Centre) is a popular location for unique soy Ice cream with different flavours. It has served Kandy and visitors for multiple generations. I would imagine that every vegan in Sri Lanka knows about this place, at least every vegan in Kandy would.

But a little unknown fact is that all the other food served here is also vegan. They are open every day except on poya day (full moon) offering soy ice cream, soy milk and soy savouries such as samosas and roti suitable for vegans.

Ambience: 2/5

Food: 4/5

Address: YMCA Building, E L Senanayake Veediya, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94 75 636 3219

https://www.facebook.com/TheSoyaCentre/

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Gannoruwa Agricultural Complex – Budget-friendly vegan options in Kandy

Gannoruwa Agricultural Complex is advertised as vegetarian but all the food items are vegan.

A large variety of Sri Lankan traditional food, as well as Indian food, is available during the day from multiple stalls. We can highly recommend sweet potato cutlets.

Excellent budget-friendly and authentic vegan food in Sri Lanka.

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Food: 5/5

Ambience: 2/5

Parking: Limited spaces available.

Address: A1, Peradeniya 20400, Sri Lanka

https://steemit.com/celestialchallenge/@udayakumarage/gannoruwa-agricultural-farm-in-kandy-sri-lanka

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2. Habarana – Close to Seegiriya, Dambulla, Minneriya

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First time in minneriya
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Seegiriya many years ago
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Ancient ruins

Habarana Village Tour – Vegan food options

Habarana Village Tour includes lunch at a village and often only one dish isn’t vegan (fish from the lake).

There are many providers of similar tours and all appear to be similarly priced and the experience feels the same. Some tours start with a ride in a bullock cart, we suggest that you skip this. (You can decline and walk the first part – that’s what we did or ask them at the start and get a jeep ride to the first point of interest)

Habarana village tour vegan food options
Habarana village tour - vegan food options
Habarana village tour – vegan food options
Vegan options habarana village tour
A full meal that’s vegan in sri lanka

A4 Villa Habarana – Place to stay with exceptional vegan food in Habarana

The owner of A4 Villa manages the hotel and the restaurant. He was quite happy to make changes to their regular menu to accommodate us. While most restaurants would have at least one vegan item, we were offered a variety of yummy vegan food.

The rooms were very comfortable, the internet was fast, and the food was delicious.

Food: 5/5

Ambience: 4/5

Cost: Not low budget, but not expensive either. Excellent value for money.

Address: Sri Lanka, Habarana, Town Const. Area, Habarana.

Parking: available at the hotel

Book: Via Agoda

A4 villa - places to stay with vegan options habarana
Dinner at a4 villa habarana
A4 villa - places to stay with vegan options habarana
Breakfast at a4 villa habarana

Cinnamon Lodge Habarana – Awesome place to stay, great food

All hotels by Cinnamon have been amazing (so far). They make it easy to travel as a vegan in Sri Lanka. We’ve stayed in several over many years. They also have great food and friendly staff. We are not fans of massages in Sri Lanka…. except at Cinnamon hotels as they have well-trained professional masseuses.

We’ve stayed at this place more than once.

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As you’d expect from any Cinnamon hotel, you can speak to one of many chefs in Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and get food prepared exactly how you’d want.

They have a buffet quite often with many vegan dishes however, It’s best to get a chef to show which items are safe to consume.

One of the perks of being vegan in Sri Lanka is that you are forced to interact with people a lot more.

Stay: 5/5

Food: 4/5

Address: 02 50150, Habarana Roundabout, Habarana, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 662 270 011

Book: Via Agoda via Booking.com

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Colombo to Jaffna Road Trip

3. Kalpitiya – Kite surfing capital – Close to Puttalam

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Ruwala Resort Kalpitiya – place to stay with vegan options

On the way to our next destination, we saw a hotel/restaurant called Ruwala Resort. We decided to pop in to see if they were still serving lunch at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The manager of the restaurant said that the time for lunch was over but they will cater to us anyway.

After finding out that we only eat plant-based food, he without hesitation said that they will take care of everything.

Our meal was ready within one hour and It was the most authentic and delicious food we had up to that point on our road trip.

The manager and the team went above and beyond our expectations making sure they had prepared the right food for us. I am still amazed by the variety of delicious vegan dishes that were made just for my husband and me.

Food: 5/5

Ambience: 5/5

Cost: Average ($10 for a couple)

Laptop Friendly – N/A

Address: 4P5P+V5Q, Kalpitiya Road,, Thihaliya, Eththale, Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka 61343, Sri Lanka

Phone: (+94) 32 3 299 299

Parking: plenty of parking at the resort

Book: Book via Agoda.

Ruwala resort - places to stay with vegan options in kalpitiya
Ruwala resort – places to stay with vegan options in kalpitiya
Ruwala resort - places to stay with vegan options in kalpitiya
Ruwala resort – places to stay with vegan options in kalpitiya

We have found many blogs recommending food that’s not vegan such as hoppers which almost always have eggs. If you ask Sri Lankans they will say it doesn’t have eggs because of a very similar item – egg hoppers which contain a full egg, and regular hoppers don’t.

However, the batter mix for all hoppers contains eggs which many Sri Lankans are unaware of.

Hoppers

4. Down South – Hikkaduwa, Galle, Matara

Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Along with Hikkaduwa and Matara, these areas have easy-to-access beaches that are popular with tourists. Hikkaduwa in particular has a lot of turtle conservation programs. Travelling as a vegan in Sri Lanka, you will find that Galle has vegan items on almost all menus.

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Aroma Restaurant – Vegan food in Hikkaduwa

We stopped in Hikkaduwa for lunch on the way back to Colombo. They have a few selections of vegan food and they were labelled on the menu.

Cafe aroma - vegan options on the menu in hikkaduwa sri lanka

We ordered a hathawariya – a vegetable soup for the main and dosas that looked like pizzas. The food tasted good but the vegan pancakes (made without eggs) for dessert were exceptionally good.

The owner of the Aroma Restaurant mentioned on the menu that some of their family members are vegan.

Overall, it’s a good restaurant with a few vegan options.

Cafe aroma - vegan options on the menu in hikkaduwa sri lanka
Cafe aroma - vegan options on the menu in hikkaduwa sri lanka
Cafe aroma - vegan options on the menu in hikkaduwa sri lanka
Cafe aroma - vegan options on the menu in hikkaduwa sri lanka

Food: 4.0/5  (Very good)

Ambience: 4.0/5 (Casual)

Cost: Average $12 for two

Loos: 3.5/5

Address: 285/A, Galle Rd, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

Parking – On the side of the road.

https://www.facebook.com/aromarestarb/

Cafe aroma - vegan options on the menu in hikkaduwa sri lanka

Canowin Arcade – a rest stop on a highway

In Sri Lanka, is not that difficult to find vegan food at rest stops. You can opt for plain rice and vegetable curries usually made with coconut milk or fried vegetables in coconut oil or pol sambol suitable for vegans. In the worst-case scenario, you can eat fruits sold in abundance on roadside stalls in Sri Lanka.

Being vegan in Sri Lanka has one major challenge: You need to ask if it has milk, then you need to ask again if it has butter, yoghurt, cheese, and cream. Same again with eggs. They may say they don’t have eggs (as a main ingredient) but it could be in the batter or the mayo.

In Sri Lanka you need to ask if it has milk, then you need to ask again if it has butter, yoghurt, cheese etc.

YOu have to confirm each time.

Whenever we go to Galle or Hikkaduwa we always stop at Canowin Arcade rest stop to enjoy a variety of vegan food they offer. It’s open 24/7 and ready to serve hungry travellers. The food court offers a large selection of local food and drinks at a very reasonable price.

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There are many outlets to choose your meal from and selecting vegan food is not a problem. We ended up ordering vegetable curry from one outlet and a vegetable kottu, a Sri Lankan dish made from godhamba roti (a thin pancake) and vegetables from another outlet. Both dishes were vegan and very tasty.

Address: Southern Express Way, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 342 241 077

http://www.exway.rda.gov.lk/

Canonwin arcade - rest stop vegan options on the southern expressway
Vegetable kottu – sri lankan dish made from godhamba roti

5. Jaffna – The capital of the north

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It’s not a popular tourist destination. People were friendly outside of the main city. Some of the famous vegetarian food in Sri Lanka comes from this region.

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The Thinnai Organic Farm – Place to stay with vegan options in Jaffna

We stayed one night at Thinnai Organic Farm and didn’t know that they had vegan options and planned to go to a restaurant nearby. They have a restaurant in the town and can deliver food to their hotel guests.

The farm was beautiful and It was interesting to see how bananas, pineapple, and papaya grow from newly planted fruits to magnificent trees.

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The farm also has animals which is unfortunate.

We stayed in a fully equipped modern tent with a separate shower room and had everything we needed. There wasn’t much going on, except roaming around the farm and admiring different fruit trees.

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Relaxing outside – fully equipped modern tent

Our dinner and breakfast were delivered from the Thinnai restaurant nearby.

Address: Puttur Rd, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 212 030 400

Book: Via Agoda Via Booking.com

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Banana flower growing in the organic farm

The Thinnai – Vegan food in Jaffna

The Thinnai restaurant gets its supply from Tinnai Organic Farm and the food is very good. The restaurant knew what vegan means as they had vegan customers before and they catered according to their needs. Everything was nicely packed and the food was hot.

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We ordered a curry each and didn’t realise that each curry was accompanied by many small curries. (pickles, vegetable dishes, papadam and grams) At first, we thought that the order was delivered by mistake to us but after going through the bill everything was right. So we ended up with a table full of delicious vegan food for the two of us.

The food was very tasty, freshly made with full of flavours. We set up a table by our tent and enjoyed our meal slowly while watching the stars.

The price for dinner was super cheap for the amount of food we had. The service was brilliant and we ended up with more than we asked for.

However, on the following day, we asked for a platter of fruits for breakfast which arrived on time. We thought it was a bit pricey for a bowl of fruits compared to the feast we had the day before which was the same price. (The real issue here was that they had used imported expensive fruits instead of the fruits from the farm we stayed in)

The thinnai - vegan food options in jaffna
The thinnai – vegan food options in jaffna

Not too impressed by the breakfast but won’t complain as overall we had a great stay and had an amazing dinner.

Food: 5/5 – Dinner

Address: 86, Palaly Road Thirunelveli, Jaffna 40000

Parking: Parking isn’t an issue.

The thinnai vegan food in jaffna

Nallur Holidays Inn – Budget-friendly place to stay with vegan options in Jaffna

We stayed there only one night and didn’t have any issues with the breakfast. People in the Northern part of Sri Lanka usually call vegan food vegetarian, you still need to confirm with them but 9 out of 10 times the food will be vegan.

We enjoyed our breakfast Pittu with Dhal (lentil curry). Pittu is a breakfast dish and it is made of steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut. It was good and quite fulfilling.

Address: 298 Arasadi Road, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Phone: +94 212 216 986

Book: Via Agoda Via Booking.com

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6. Negombo

Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions – A vegan-friendly luxury place to stay in Negombo

Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions is a purpose-built health resort that offers ancient healing traditions with modern Sri Lankan hospitality.

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. It was developed in India 300 years ago. It is mostly based on the belief that our health and wellness lie on a subtle balance between the mind, body and spirit.

The team of trained doctors in their Ayurveda Therapy Centers offer demonstrations and awareness programmes in order for customers to fully understand this traditional science. It’s fascinating once you get to know the purpose of this therapy and how they do it. There were swimming pools, yoga, meditation, and music therapy services available to ensure our experience was holistic.

You can experience Ayurveda therapy, and indulge yourself with special Ayurvedic meals and beverages for your wellbeing.

Herbs and Spice 100% vegetarian restaurant located in Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilion

Herbs and Spice restaurant is part of this hotel and it is vegetarian with delicious vegan options. The restaurant has two large dining rooms one is an airy dining room and the other one is indoors and air-conditioned.

There was an excellent range of vegan options on the menu and my husband and I ordered a few dishes.

I particularly liked the beet mango salad it was fresh and tasty with the right combination of flavours. Service was good and efficient.

Jetwing ayurveda pavilions - vegan friendly place to stay in negombo
Jetwing ayurveda pavilions – vegan-friendly place to stay in negombo

Be aware of taxes, the price doesn’t include the tax and seems reasonable at first.

Great place for a special occasion or to spend a relaxing evening.

Food: 4.5/5

Ambience: 4/5

Cost: $30 for dinner excluding wine for 2

Address: Porutota Road, Ethukale, Negombo 11500, Sri Lanka

Book: Via Agoda Via Booking.com

Herbs and spices 100% vegetarian with vegan options - negombo
Herbs and spice 100% vegetarian with vegan options – negombo
Herbs and spices 100% vegetarian with vegan options - negombo
Herbs and spices 100% vegetarian with vegan options - negombo

7. Trincomalee

Nina Restaurant – Budget-friendly vegan options in Trincomalee

Nina is family-owned and runs a restaurant offering homemade food. It’s not a vegan restaurant but they offer vegan options.

When we decided to have lunch we were told that it was a buffet and we can have 10 vegan curries and eat as much as we like.

Nina's restaurant with vegan options in trincomalee sri lanka
Nina restaurant with vegan options in trincomalee sri lanka

Nina is a must-visit if you are in Trincomalee to experience truly Sri Lankan vegan cuisine.

At the end of our meal, we were offered a speciality coconut tea on the house which was very tasty. We loved the place and the family we connected very well with.

The curries were delicious and freshly made coming straight from the hob. There were different clay pots with varieties of vegetables, rice, beans and potatoes.

We ended up trying every curry filling up our plates to the top and experiencing authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. We got to meet all the family and they were very kind, and attentive and kept offering us more food.

Nina - vegan food options in uppuveli, trincomalee
10 vegan dishes in clay pots offered by nina during lunchtime

Food: 4.5/5

Ambience: 4/5

Cost: Average $6 for a couple

Address: Sarvodaya Rd, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Phone: N/A

Parking: plenty

Nina - vegan food options in uppuveli, trincomalee
Nina restaurant – vegan food options in uppuveli, trincomalee

Orion Beach Way Resort – Budget-friendly stay with vegan food in Trincomalee

Orion Beach Way is a resort with cabanas where the restaurant can cater to vegans. The chef is happy to cut fruits brought in by staying guests for free. The chef is also very friendly and the staff are happy to cater to any food requirements.

Address: No,178/15 , Ales Garden, Nilaveli Road, Trincomalee., 310000, Sri Lanka

Book: Via Agoda Via Booking.com

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8. Eastern Province – Pasikuda – Batticaloa

This area is less popular with tourists due to its location on the Eastern coast. Ventured by serious surfers and tourists with more time to relax who will find some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka or perhaps the world.

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Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa

This is one of the best resorts we’ve stayed at. It’s a peaceful location with a private beach. Comfortable chalets and restaurant staff that are happy and willing to cater to any request.

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If you could only spend time at one resort in Sri Lanka (and love the sea) then this would be it.

It’s on the Eastern coast and it’s perfect for watching the sunrise in the morning and doing some guided meditation or yoga.

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Address: Coconut Boat, Pasikuda 30410, Sri Lanka

Book via Agoda via Booking .com

Negatives: This place is known for fresh fish.

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Other articles related to travelling as a Vegan in Sri Lanka

If you are a vegan in Sri Lanka or planning on travelling then the following articles may be of use.

Sri Lanka Travel Guide with 16 Travel Tips – General travel guide for Sri Lanka

Vegan Restaurants in Colombo | 19 Best Places to Eat – Restaurants in Colombo for Vegans

25 Best Vegan-Friendly Cafes in Colombo with Drinks & Food – Cafes in Colombo – particularly for digital nomads

7 Amazing Types of Bananas You Must Try in Sri Lanka – Go bananas while you are here.

Rambutan | Exotic Tropical Fruits You Must Try & 6 Benefits – Don’t miss the chance to eat this exotic fruit

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About the Author

<a href="https://strongwithplants.com/author/inga/" target="_self">Inga K</a>

Inga K

Inga became vegan in March 2018. After a series of documentaries that hit hard, she and her husband switched to a plant-based diet within a week and vegan soon after. Inga has a UK Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Diet and Nutrition.

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Strongwithplants.com is a blog for anyone who strives for a healthy and happy life. We share 100% plant-based (and often healthy and oil-free) recipes and give you the best tips on finding vegan local food whilst travelling and living a plant-based lifestyle focusing on good health and spiritual wellbeing.

We like to consume food, products and services that don’t harm our bodies, animals, or the planet. Use as little as possible and recycle everything.

Each individual’s dietary needs are unique. Please seek advice from a professional nutritionist or your doctor.

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