Being a place that has long been celebrated for its archaeological values, Polonnaruwa has now become a tourist hotspot owing to the growing tour products and developing tour service providers. As part of our run through Polonnaruwa, we got a chance to visit a group of men and women who are also tourism sector service providers. Their role is to present the travelers with an experience of making authentic food of Sri Lanka. This list included three major sweets namely, Kokis, Kawum and Asmi.
Rice is the staple food in Sri lanka and as a result, Paddy cultivation is the country's main agricultural industry. Polonnaruwa is one key rice producing area and there are many rice mills in Polonnaruwa. Apart from making rice and curry, there are many other products based on rice, especially rice flour. Just outside the main cultural sites of Polonnaruwa, in the village of Gal thambarawa, there are some families involved in making Sri Lankan sweets for both local and foreign visitors. All these cooking places are just 700.00m due east of the Rankoth Vehera site and it is a matter of a five-minute drive from the exit gate at the world heritage sign.
Both local and foreign tourists can enjoy these three main types of sweets at these places where they are cooked and visitors can join in making them too. Kokis is a very crispy cookie made out of rice flour and fried in a pan of hot coconut oil. There are many different shapes and sizes of kokis moulds available in the market and we can select one depending on our requirements. No Sri lankan festival is completed if Kewun and Kokis are not there and it shows the cultural affiliation these two sweets have in Sri Lankan life.
Kewun is a lumpy mixture of rice flour and palm treacle that is fried in coconut oil, but once it is fried, kewun becomes porous and a very sweet oil cake.
Asmi is a traditional Sri Lankan sweet with a different shape, it has many strings like a folded string hopper and then a thin strip of sugar to make it sweet. People use some plant extract to make the tiny strings and only few people know the art of using the ingredients at the correct proportion to make the batter. Knowing this art, these groups of people are presenting it to travelers who would like to experience such making of authentic food of Sri Lanka.