little bit of Sri Lanka in Thailand
Royalists are dar-ing. But classmates Ayub Muthalip, Manju Ariyaratna
and Chaminda Perera take the cake!
Otherwise would they dare to open a restaurant in the heart
of Bangkok where culinary delights of all sorts are simmering day and
And these three Royalists have taught the Thai gourmets that
there is much more to Sri Lankan cuisine than rice and spice. The
inside of Ayubowan, so appropriately titled is alive with the Sri
Lankan spirit — with scenes of tea pluckers and carvings of the
Sigiriya itself and masks and several other mural paintings that are
essentially Sri Lankan.
Pla Muk Yak of The Bangkok Post recommends the Kalu
Kukul Maluwa, spicy chicken with black curry and the Elu Mus
Wines and orders of Lamprais are all part of the magic at
Ayubowan which seems to be a hive of activity now. In this time of
good health and careful
diets, Muthalip, Ariyaratne and Perera boast of an exclusive bar — a
herbal tea bar.
Sri Lankans like Muthalip, Ariyaratna and Perera are a pride
to the country. Enterprising they are in a patriotic sense. Of all
projects at hand the trio seems to have chosen the most daring and the
most demanding. Spices and most other ingredients have to be sent from
Sri Lanka on a daily basis and even the stringhoppers and the appa and
the pol roti are all there for the benefit of Sri Lankans who
frequent Bangkok and for the Thais who wish to checkout what Sri Lanka
is like, without having to come here.
“We have kavum and kokis too. The officials
of the Sri Lankan embassy in Thailand have been very supportive and
this is a very challenging and a heartening venture,” said Muthalip
with a smile.
Ayub Muthalip of course has had the hospitality business as
his main course in life. With his immensely successful Rasa Sayang
Restaurant which began to sizzle in the 1980s, today Muthalip is also
responsible for the exotic Malay Restaurant at Hill Street in Dehiwala.
“I have taken four five star Sri Lankan chefs and musicians
who have worked at the Le Kandyan for five years,” said Muthalip.
The trio spoke of the similarities of Thai and Sri Lankan
cuisine, but said that the food is cooked in different ways.
Situated at Kukhumvit (8) Road, Ayubowan seems a classy
restaurant. It is said to be set in a spacious house with a décor of
beige set alive by the essentially Sri Lankan motifs. Buddhist
processions and elephants all seem to remind the diner that there are
essential similarities between the two countries.
we are in Sri Lanka we seldom seem to appreciate this beautiful
country, but live away from it and we will die for the pol sambols
and the katurumurunga, kos and del, the pittu and
the indiappa. We can only marvel at the wonder of having a
little bit of Sri Lanka in another country, but there will be others
who will hold sacred in their hearts,
places as Ayubowan in honour of one’s motherland.