As Sri Lanka woos the Middle East, Arab delicacy hummus proves a big hit in Weligama tourist paradise


With the Sri Lanka government wooing tourists from the Gulf and Middle East, now is a good time to introduce one of the region’s favourite delicacies—hummus.

Which is why a Lebanese former worker for the Danish Refugee Council opened what is now the hugely popular Hummus Bar in Weligama, a south-coast magnet for surfers and tropical beach lovers.

Writes Alexandra Talty in The National, Abu Dhabi’s premier English-language daily newspaper: “Mo Jo Hammoud’s plan for his Sri Lankan business venture was based on a simple truth. Everyone loves hummus.”


“Decorated with fairy lights and featuring original artwork by guests and friends alongside its namesake dish, the restaurant serves vegan Lebanese delicacies such as falafel, tabbouleh, batata harra or spicy potatoes, and baba ghanoush.

Fresh bread is made daily, and each evening a surfing documentary is screened outside – a nod to the owner’s years spent in California.

“‘Follow your bliss’ is one of the first signs I see, taking pride of place in the work space, and tells me that he found this quote while making his way to Sri Lanka.”


Which was perfect for Jenene Price, a 28-year-old New Zealander. “Finding a Lebanese restaurant as good as the Hummus Bar would be amazing anywhere in the world, but finding it in a small surf village was even better,” she says.

“The Hummus Bar is not just about feeding people hummus,” Hammoud says.

Some travellers have never been to Lebanon, much less met a person from there, so in more ways than one, he says, the restaurant is also about dipping into “a discussion of culture”.

Read more here.

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