Ceylonese Restaurant: Naan do it better

Ceylonese Restaurant, Jalan Green Hill, Kuching.

A go-to gem for the springiest cheese naan, Ceylonese Restaurant can use up to 2,000 kilogrammes of mozzarella cheese a month. The owner, Damith Senanayake, says that their best-selling Triple Cheese Naan uses 700g of mozzarella cheese each, making it the ‘cheesiest’ Naan in Kuching.

Best cheese naan in town

Ceylonese Restaurant owner, Damith Senanayake.

Ceylonese Restaurant owner, Damith Senanayake, recently revealed that despite being away from his hometown in Sri Lanka to work on a business in Kuching, Sarawak, never once had he thought about giving up in his journey. His goal to support his foreign workers is what motivates him to push himself forward, braving through his fourth year in business.

“I know I have many families to feed. As an employer, I always think about my staffs and their families. They come from Sri Lanka and India to work with me. So, before I eat, I make sure they eat first. As they made me who I am today,” said the 28-year-old food operator.

Opening the joint in 2016, Damith also shared that he is expanding his business in Brunei.

“Altogether, I have a total of 40 employees and their respective families to care for.”

Before establishing the famous go-to place for cheese naan, the Sri Lankan was a certified mechanical engineer who graduated from a local university here in Kuching. Spending much of his time here since 2011, he enjoyed much of the local cuisine and the cultural diversity that Sarawak has. “I love Kolo Mee! And the people here are very welcoming, united and that is why I love it here.”

The force behind Ceylonese Restaurant.

Wanting to be more independent and not burdening his parents, he decided not to continue his masters in 2016, and ventures to introduce Sri Lankan food to the people of Kuching.

When asked what his parents thought of his decision, he replied, “Of course they are frustrated. But parents are always like that. They are worried because I live alone here. Nonetheless, they are supportive of my decisions.”

Damith Senanayake with the best-selling Triple Cheese Naan.

As a fresh graduate four years back, “I thought that everything was easy and free. But I have to work 18 hours a day to make sure that everything is alright, and my customers are happy.”

Starting from scratch in an unfamiliar territory, Damith admitted that he had gone through numerous challenges during the initial days. “One of the biggest challenges for me was trying to understand the local market. Apart from that, there’s also communications and the language barrier,” he recalled.

He is glad that Ceylonese Restaurant had grown and become well-known among locals. For that, he is thankful and hopes to be able to give back to the community, “Should anyone need any help or support, I am willing to offer mine.”

Recently, the restaurant organised the ‘Charity Lunch Love Boxes Distribution’ in conjunction with its fourth year anniversary. The charity event saw Ceylonese Restaurant distributing 410 boxes of cheese naan to four different charitable homes in Kuching.

During the recent ‘Charity Lunch Love Boxes Distribution’ organised by Ceylonese Restaurant, the eatery distributed 410 lunch boxes to four different charitable homes in Kuching.

The ever-popular cheese naan

The famous cheese naan from Ceylonese Restaurant.

Ask any locals about the best cheese naan in Kuching, and many would answer “Ceylonese Restaurant”. The first branch is located at Jalan Green Hill. Meanwhile, Ceylonese Restaurant also opened up express outlets at the Empire Food Court, Jalan Rock and at Best Corner, Stutong.

The cheesy delicacy, with its springy texture, easily became crowd favourites, especially cheese lovers. According to Damith, the Triple Cheese Naan contains around 700g of mozzarella cheese.

“On the other hand, our Double Cheese Naan uses around 400g and our regular naan uses an average of 120g mozzarella cheese. Therefore, we need around 2,000kg of Mozzarella cheese every month,” he revealed.

Another Ceylonese’s best-seller : Banana fritters topped with shredded mozzarella cheese.

According to Damith, his inspiration to introduce cheese naan to Kuching stemmed from his time as a child, “I remembered seeing it during my travels to Sharjah, Dubai in 2010. And I just loved the way they topped the naan.”

Introducing a similar concept, Damith recalled that the Ceylonese Restaurant introduced naan topped with raisins and peanut butter intially, but it did not go well, “Only the cheese naan became customers’ favourite. I suppose it suited the local taste more.”

Aside from cheese naan, Ceylonese’s other best-sellers are its lamb biryani, banana fritters topped with cheese, and the banana leaf biryani.

Not going back to Sri Lanka any time soon, Damith hopes to expand his business to other parts of Sarawak, “and I want to explore more of Malaysia and even Indonesia.”