Vidya Balachander


Hi! I am Vidya, a food and travel journalist and editor. My special interests are food, culture and travel — and how the three intersect. I was the Features Editor of BBC Good Food's India edition, before moving to Colombo in July 2014. In the last five years, my writing has appeared in a number of international outlets, including, CNN's Parts Unknown, Roads & Kingdoms, The Juggernaut and National Public Radio's The Salt, among others.

In addition, I am also a seasoned editor. Most recently, I served as the Editor-in-chief of Roar Media, a Sri Lankan digital media house. In that role, I helped shape and formalise the editorial policy of Roar Media, oversaw the expansion of the editorial teams and sharpened the company's focus on journalism. For editorial and content consultations, click here.

My other interests include academic research with an anthropology focus. In December 2018, I presented a paper on the Ammachi canteens in Sri Lanka at City Food Labs, a symposium organised by New York University's food studies department. You can watch a brief video interview about the subject matter of my research here. In July 2019, I was selected to present a paper on the Ammachi canteens at the Oxford Food Symposium, held at St Catherine's College, Oxford. You can find more information about the Symposium here.


Nov 04, 2017 · City & Features

Anthony Bourdain: It’s not bad to be the idiot abroad, if you’ve got an open mind


Anthony Bourdain discusses Sri Lanka, spicy crab curry and the highs and lows of a life with no fixed address. Read the full story →

October 27, 2017 · Travel

The Man Behind India’s Favorite Snack Foods


Three years ago, I packed my suitcases to move to Colombo, Sri Lanka as an Indian expatriate. In addition to the glossy silk saris and the gold jewelry I had been given for my wedding, I packed several small, sealed packets that carried their own significant emotional heft.

October 25, 2017 · Food

Your guide to Sri Lankan cuisine


It was a humid July afternoon in Colombo, only a couple of weeks after I arrived in the city as a bewildered expatriate from Mumbai. Still finding my sea legs and longing for home, I found comfort unexpectedly in a bowl of brick-red curry.

October 9, 2016 · City & Features

Cookbook Tells The Story Of Sri Lanka’s Civil War Through Food


Even if you knew nothing about Vijaya, her haunting portrait would likely give you pause. She peers out of the page, unsmiling, her silver hair pulled back and her eyes conveying an unspoken anguish.

July 5, 2016 · Travel

Ticking Japan Off the Bucket List, One Meal at a Time


A few months ago, shortly before my husband Vishnu and I embarked on our first trip to Japan, I woke up one morning, checked my email and felt my heart skip a few beats. A day earlier, I had written to the travel writer Pico Iyer, who has made Japan his home for nearly three […]

December 16, 2014 · Food

History Baked in Banana Leaf


ith the lamprais in the backseat, I could barely focus on anything else. The modest parcel of food wrapped in a banana leaf, freshly baked and still warm to the touch, was demanding my complete sensory attention.