There is no denying that Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations of vegans.
The local foods are almost all naturally vegan, and in recent years, a western vegan scene has begun to emerge too.
This vegan guide focuses on the town of Dickwella. However, we also wrote this vegan guide to Sri Lanka.
In 2020, we spent two months based in Dickwella (sometimes spelled Dikwella), Sri Lanka and fell in love with the little beach town.
The quiet coastal town is separated into two overlapping towns: Dickwella and Hiriketiya.
Dickwella is the main town. There is a lot of local businesses here alongside a long stretch of white sand beach. This is where we based ourselves for two months while in Sri Lanka.
Hiriketiya is a short walk from Dickwella and draws more tourists. Due to consistent waves, there is a thriving surf scene.
The two towns are so close that when someone says Dickwella, sometimes they referring to Hiri and vice versa.
Eating Vegan in Dickwella
Sri Lanka is a vegetarian-friendly country with the concept of meat-free food very well understood.
However, veganism is still a foreign concept to a lot of locals. On the bright side, most vegetarian dishes are naturally vegan (just watch out of ghee, a type of animal fat used in some curries).
When western vegan food is available you'll pay considerably higher prices for it. For example, we could eat a local meal for between $0.50-$2.00, but a western vegan meal would cost between $8.00-$10.00.
It's nice to have vegan options in Dickwella, but we found we stuck to local food most days and used "fancy" vegan meals as treats.
No Name Local Buffet (Anushka's Place)
Our favorite place to eat was a small little hut close to Verse Collective. The lovely family who lived there served up daily Sri Lankan buffet including daal, hoppers, string hoppers, coconut roti and potato curry. At lunch time they brought out Sri Lankan rice and curry.
We had breakfast here almost every morning and would usually spend around $0.30-$0.70 each per breakfast - yes, it really was that cheap. We'd fill up on delicious vegan food and wouldn't even break a buck.
The place doesn't appear to have a name, but it can be found on the corner of Tangalle road right as you turn off for Verse Collective. It is owned by a sweet Sri Lanka woman called Anushka and her family.
The place was never busy and we highly recommend this place, whether you're on a budget or just want a taste of real Sri Lankan culture.
Verse Collective is a real drawcard for many people to visit Dickwella. It's definitely ahead of its time in Sri Lankaand is attracting more and more travelers and remote workers to it.
In fact, we actually chose to base in Dickwella due to Verse's free coworking space, as we knew finding good places to work in Sri Lanka was tough. Verse didn't disappoint. We worked here most days and occasionally indulged in their vegan menu. That's right, they have a whole vegan section to their menu.
Verse Collective's vegan options are good and very tasty. Their vegan burger had me going back multiple times, but comparatively to eating local, it was a very expensive way to eat.
Whether you want to try their vegan food, grab a drink there, skate on their halfpipe, Verse Collective is a must-see place when in Dickwella.
Jayantha Restaurant Sri Lankan Buffet
You'll find a lot of local buffet restaurants throughout Dickwella town, but we frequented Jayantha a lot due to its proximity to our workspace and apartment.
You'll find good and filling local food here at a cheap rice.
They serve traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry everyday.
On the Hiriketiya side of town, Malu Poke serves up some incredible vegan poke bowls.
This 'make-your-own' restaurant has a really fresh vibe situated right across from the surf. And it's one of the only places we were able to find tofu while based here.
It's not the most affordable, but the quality is amazing. You can also find almond milk here for fresh vegan ice coffee.
Smoke and Bitters opened in 2020 while we were in Sri Lanka.
The place is a classy cocktail bar with a gorgeous layout overlooking Dickwella beach. While we only ordered drinks here, we did see they had a few vegan options including cauliflower steak and carrot and ginger hummus.
We can recommend their cocktails, which were fantastic.
If you try their vegan options here, give us a shout and let us know what you thought.
volunteer with rescue animals in midigama
Salt House is a hotel focused around yoga retreats.
However, there are a couple of vegan options on their menu including the only place we saw falafel in Dickwella.
The hotel restaurant had a quiet-peaceful vibe to it.
Mom and Dad's
Nested a little further away from Hiriketiya beach is a little local restaurant called Mom and Dad's.
While there is no specific vegan options here, the incredible owner will happily make everything vegan. We fell in love with the guacamole roti, which is basically avocado wrapped in paratha roti - but it works.
It's a simple restaurant, but make sure to stop by for a wholesome meal and the biggest smile in Sri Lanka.
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