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“Nice guy, BUT” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ella Spice Garden

Ella Spice Garden
Ranked #5 of 21 things to do in Ella
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Esslingen am Neckar, Germany
Level Contributor
137 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Nice guy, BUT”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 15, 2013 via mobile

Chandika, the host of the cooking class, has a very good command of english (studies to become an english teacher) and is really precise in what he does. We, (2 persons were present to do the cooking class)  prepared and cooked different curries and pappadam and ate them. Preparing and eating takes about 3 hours. We liked the idea of cooking in a real sri lankian kitchen and the dishes were tasty. So far so good.


Chandika is a bit shy and it is difficult to warm up with him. We had to do most of the chating (besides explaination of cooking steps) in order not to be standing around in silence.

It dawned to us that there is no real passion in what he does as he only cooks when he has cooking classes. All other cooking within the family is his mother's responsibility as he mentioned. It became too obvious that he does it for the money (2,000 rupee per person).

The garden is also looked after by his mother and not him as he explained.

Once all food was prepared for dinner we sat alone at the table although we invited him two times to join us (Remember: He is the host). His mother and sister were in the kitchen washing up our saucepans and preparing their own familiy dinner. Sometimes family members passed by without saying a word.

He also sells the spices but most of them are not from his mother' spice garden as the garden is still too little or does not contain the spice at all. Furthermore, we can only imagine why he sells citronella oil during a cooking class as this oil is against mosquitos and not used in the kitchen.

All of the above mentioned basically ruins the atmosphere and we found it weird and uncomfortable sitting "alone" at the table in a stranger's home.

Final words:
The ideal is great but the host of the cooking class was not "present" and there was no real passion.

7 Thank YaCop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Muscat, Oman
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Cooking in Ella”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2013

A Great way to spend an evening in Ella.
I signed up for Chandika's short course and spent a fantastic few hours learning to cook proper Sri Lankan cuisine - the (not so hard) work pays off when you sit down to eat the perfectly prepared food. I met another 3 travellers on the course and it was a great way to socialise, learn and eat!
Thoroughly recommended.

Visited November 2013
Thank 114Mike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great evening! ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2013 via mobile

My boyfriend & I had a great evening learning how to cook all the delicious Sri Lankan dishes we have been eating over the past few weeks. Chandika is a really good teacher, he explains everything clearly, answers all your questions and demonstrates well.

We made 6 dishes, covering most of the rice&curry essentials- Sri Lankan rice, sambal, dahl etc.

You take the class in Chandika's own kitchen in his lovely house, set back from the main road is some great gardens. There is a chance to buy spices& herbs as well.

Obviously getting to eat the dishes after preparing them is a huge bonus!! I would definitely recommend this class!

1 Thank abidbid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic Cooking School in Ella”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

We had to ask around and search for a good cooking school in Sri Lanka and our experiences at the Ella Spice Garden were terrific.
Walking up the drive way, we got to the house and booked in with Chandi's mother and sister - returning for our class later that evening. We happened to book a night where it was only 2 of us but we were told the classes took up to 8 people. The class started at 5pm and went for a couple of hours, including dinner.
Chandi is a lovely, unassuming, and considered young man investing his time in the things he loves best - his garden and cooking!
We talked through the ingredients and cooked 7 vegetarian dishes with him in the kitchen within the family home. We learnt to cook the food we'd loved in Sri Lanka, got to understand how it's prepared and the layout of a Sri Lankan family kitchen.
The family were wonderfully accommodating and were happy to talk with us and share details of other recipes for foods we'd eaten in Sri Lanka and wanted to know more about.
During our stay in Sri Lanka we also spent time with cooks in 2 of our guesthouses learning about the dishes and preparing Sri Lankan food.
Chandi's cooking and recipes were easy to follow (and replicate at home!) and had cleaner, more delicate and delicious tastes than any other cooking lessons we did - and certainly better food than many places we ate at in Sri Lanka.
Ella Spice Garden Cooking School is a real treat, is extremely well priced and a must for anyone staying in Ella or nearby.

Visited October 2013
Thank Rachel E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“Great fun”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2013

A lovely evening activity. Learn plenty about Sri Lankan cooking and get to taste some fantastic ingredients. Might be a cliché but true:do not miss if in Ella.

Visited August 2013
Thank Jeff L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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