Restaurant Review: Vegan Sri Lankan food by Qalaan

Almost a year ago I created a list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Amsterdam. I’m very excited to have discovered another vegan/vegetarian restaurant, that by the way delivers food right to your kitchen table: Qalaan! Order via Instagram or at their website.

1. Review of the food

The food simply tastes amazing, which might be due to the fact that it is prepared in clay pots. Each of the dishes is very tasty and mixed together it’s just a feast. I personally love it when there’s loads of different foods, so while eating you keep being surprised as each bite tastes different from the one before. Besides that it is very healthy because of all the veggies and rice. Its is satisfying and keeps you full. For me, food being healthy is a really important aspect of the food I consume. Also it’s friendly to our planet and animals, cause its vegetarian/vegan. On top of that Qalaan uses ‘weird’ vegetables like square tomatoes, mini egg plants and curved carrots. These vegetables usually get wasted. I could write a whole blogpost about how mind-blowing that is to me, but, let’s stick to the subject. The dishes are even delivered in biodegradable buckets. Qalaan opened recently, so they deliver in Rivierenbuurt, parts of Oud-Zuid, ZuidAs and parts of De Pijp. Update: as per request, on Sundays they also deliver in West, Nieuw-West, Oost and Zuidoost!

2. Buddhism and the Dharmic concept of Ahimsa

I had not eaten Sri Lankan food before, so I did some research. Sri Lanka partly follows Buddhist cuisine, which is vegetarian or vegan and is inspired by the Dharmic concept of Ahimsa. This is based on the proposition (1) that all living beings are connected meaning if you hurt another, you hurt yourself and (2) violence has karmic consequences. Ahimsa stands for non-violence or no injury, which applies not only to deeds, but also to words and even to thoughts. Back to Qalaan, this means they do not use meat, but rather loads of yummy healthy ingredients like lentils, egg plant, beets, beans and spices. These are very basic ingredients, but it’s all about the way they prepare the ingredients that makes the dishes taste amazing.

3. What I ate

Ordering at Qalaan, there is a choice between two main courses:

Serendip: this is a mouth-watering combination of seasoned aubergine curry, lentils in coconut milk and beet stew.

Sigiriya: a delicious mix of cabbage stew, zucchini in coconut milk and a traditional curry of green beans.

Both dishes are served with Basmati rice with saffron and a salad of grated carrot and onion. The Serendip is more savoury, while the Sigiriya has a lighter taste.

You can add three different vegetarian side dishes:
Boiled egg (Sri Lankan style)A boiled egg in traditional Sri Lankan gravy.

Pol sambol (spicy sambal)
A spicy mix of freshly grated coconut with red peper and union.

Sri Lankan Raita

A fresh, tasty dip of yogurt, red onion and green chili.

For now, these are the dishes you get to choose from, but Qalaan is working on more delicious dishes. I’m really curious about what else the Sri Lankan kitchen has to offer and I would definitely eat this again, even writing this makes me hungry!


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