‘Murder on the Orient Express’? Not quite, thankfully; but a mystery nonetheless, and one definitely more palatable – an experience equally memorable, perhaps even thrilling. It happens on a journey right back into the grand old era of steam. To the days when the huffing and puffing ‘iron devils’ or ‘Yakada Yakas’ as they were known, rode majestically along the tracks surrounded by clouds of smoke, like storming dragons on a mission. Today, the Viceroy Special is the last of its kind: the sole steam locomotive in action in Sri Lanka operated as a private train on call for occasions just as this.
The miles roll by as smoothly as the wheels of time; the scenery ever changing. Fine wine is poured, conversation flows and a little culinary surprise is about to be unveiled. A tempting treasure in the form of a banana leaf parcel, its spicy aroma so maddeningly appetizing one can hardly wait to unravel it. The Lamprias is one of the many legacies left by another ruling colonial power – the Dutch. Fondly known as ‘lump-rice’ it is the ultimate Sri Lankan Dutch-Burgher staple loved by both locals and visitors alike. Rich and bursting with flavour, the perfect Lamprais must be tasted first-hand to truly appreciate its magnificence. As the paddy fields turn to mountains and the train slows to traverse the ascents, there is no better time to unwrap this culinary mystery and savour it to the fullest.