The urge is to think of Sri Lankan cuisine as Indian. The tiny island sits at the southernmost foot of that country, but that’s only a fraction of the story.
It’s Indian, sort of, but it’s also a tropical place, with all the influences that climate implies — coconut, banana, fish. It was a focal point for colonizers such as the Portuguese — Portugal a melting pot unto itself — but also the Dutch and British, who came to pillage the verdant coasts. Here too are the influences of the coastal region of India, a major spice trading center, and an important agricultural hub for rice growers. Arab traders also started taking trips through there starting in the 7th century, some of them even sticking around for love and making babies with the locals, so there are some Muslims, though mostly Buddhists and Hindus.
Maybe within the context of all this cultural circuitousness it seems fitting that two former 7-11 managers have made their way to Minnesota, by way of California, but first from Sri Lanka, and put down roots in Rosemount, on advice from their best friend the Buddhist monk who told them how nice our people are.
Vini Dissanayake and his wife Aruni Mahagamade have a six-year-old daughter, and they wanted to raise her among Minnesotans. Smart folks. Talented folks. Mahagamade was a home cook with formidable skills, and their friends were always pestering the two of them to open a restaurant. So they thought: Why not here? Why not now?