Tale of Two Crabs in Sri Lanka

Christine Cunanan tells a tale of two crabs, at the famous Ministry of Crab restaurant in Colombo and its new sister restaurant in Galle, which led to the happy ending of a holiday in Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka last year, living a #Travelife, I enjoyed the good fortune of having two delicious crab meals, including one just by accident.

The casually chic Ministry of Crab restaurant in Colombo is famous for its crabs, especially as it’s been recommended by many international food guides and it was picked as one of the top 50 restaurants in Asia for several years running.


One Sunday night, my friends and I had dinner at the Ministry of Crab in Colombo and I’d been on the cautious side, ordering only a small crab for myself just to make sure my cholesterol levels didn’t shoot up. The crab was tasty as expected, but I had other things on my mind; so I’d eaten this with little real appreciation of the delicious treat on my plate.


Crab fried rice at the Ministry of Crab in Colombo

It was only afterwards that I realized my folly; and then I so regretted ordering just a small crab because it was really so good. I should have made full use of the opportunity, I reprimanded myself, especially since I didn’t know when I would visit the Ministry of Crab in Colombo again.

So I said to myself: “I really wish I could eat at the Ministry of Crab one more time.” We were at the tail-end of a wonderful trip and this was my one last wish for this Travelife to Sri Lanka.


And then I simply left things to Fate because the odds of success were so low. We left Colombo the next morning for the UNESCO World Heritage town of Galle, and we were proceeding to Colombo’s Bandanaraike International Airport directly from Galle. Our schedule was already packed with lunches and dinners elsewhere in Sri Lanka until the evening we were flying out – save for one lunch which we’d somewhat planned but not quite confirmed for the last day.

What do you know? The stars aligned for me in a most surprising way. There we were, walking along a picturesque alley lined with whitewashed shophouses in the lovely fortress town of Galle on the second to the last day of our trip, when one of the restaurants in a row of many caught my eye and I stopped to inspect the menu displayed on a signboard outside – and this restaurant just happened to offer crabs.


Yes, out of all the dozens and dozens of restaurants in Galle, we had to pass by this particular restaurant and I’d glanced this way; and in under a minute I’d been inspired to recommend it.

“This looks interesting,” I said to my friends. “Why don’t we have lunch here tomorrow?”

Fortunately, everyone quickly agreed with me so we shelved our original tentative plan and booked a table at this new restaurant in Galle none of us had ever heard of, for our last day.

Fortune on my side

What luck. This very new restaurant turned out to be the sister restaurant of the Ministry of Crab in Colombo and it had the exact same crabs on offer as in the famous restaurant in Colombo — and without the reservation difficulties as well.

What are the odds of randomly picking an unknown restaurant in a strange town, and finding the only thing you truly want to eat again in that entire country on the menu? Either this was a case of wishful thinking turning into reality just like magic, or I had a hotline to the angels in heaven.

I still don’t know the answer, but this is how I got my wish on my #Travelife to Sri Lanka. And this is how I get all my other wishes as well.