From South Korea to Sri Lanka: Madushan’s Culinary Odyssey

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –  Each year, approximately a thousand aspiring Sri Lankan youths are granted the remarkable opportunity of securing work permits from the government of South Korea. This invaluable chance serves as a pivotal stepping stone for these ambitious young individuals, enabling them to turn their dreams into tangible realities and establish a solid foundation for their future endeavors.

Amongst these fortunate few, was Madushan, whose fate aligned with the stars when he successfully conquered the TOPIC exam and flew to South Korea in 2012. Embarking on a five-year journey in the heart of South Korea’s bustling production sector, he returned to his homeland, Sri Lanka, in 2017. However, he brought back more than just memories; he carried with him a unique vision of introducing the authentic flavors of Korean cuisine to the people of Sri Lanka.

This culinary dream materialized into reality when Madushan founded the Salt Bee Korean Kitchen. Nestled within the serene confines of his private residence, far removed from the clamor of Makola town, this establishment became a sanctuary where the essence of Korean gastronomy found its home in Sri Lanka.

In Korea, Madushan initiated his professional journey by joining a fabric production factory, followed by employment at a company specializing in manufacturing vehicle spare parts. During this time, he used to work in a restaurant on a part-time basis, especially on weekends. His exposure to this culinary environment ignited the idea of establishing his own restaurant once he returned to Sri Lanka. He closely studied and gained knowledge of Korean recipes, ingredients, and authentic Korean cooking methods, cultivating his culinary dream into a well-developed brainchild.

Madushan, contemplating his journey says, “It was in Korea itself that I determined to start up my own business in Sri Lanka with the knowledge I gained from Korea. Therefore, I sent all the utensils necessary to my restaurant to Sri Lanka while I was in Korea. Sri Lankan people are constantly enjoying fried rice and Kottu. I really wanted to add a twist to that eating style and create a place for anyone arriving from Korea to enjoy food with its original Korean taste. That is how I started my Salt Bee Korean Kitchen.

Last Year, Human Resources Department (HRD) services in Korea along withthe EPS Center in Sri Lanka evaluated the performance of the individuals who have returned to Sri Lanka after successfully completing their contracts in Korea. Thereby Madushan was also selected as one of the top 10 individuals who have grown up into successful entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka making maximum use of their strenuous time away from the motherland. Madushan’s restaurant was visited by the HRD delegates prior to their selection.

With the country’s current economic crisis, there is a surge of migration among youths. Among the countries of their choice, South Korea tops the list as a youth can have a good opportunity to migrate to Korea and secure a lucrative career opportunity in production or Fisheries sectors just with the Korean Language proficiency alone. South Korea is a country with buzzing technology in the current world. Thus, for youth with a thirst for knowledge, South Korea is an ideal destination to get their skills harnessed and gain knowledge in addition to aiming for financial prosperity. That is why Madushan is figured out as a role model who sets an example for others leaving the country seeking financial goals alone.

Madushan says “Upon returning from Korea, the most crucial action one can take is to launch their own business in Sri Lanka, placing it ahead of building a house or acquiring a vehicle. Madushan is now hoping to franchise his restaurant thus creating more career opportunities for others. This may kindle the hope among the youth of this country to make this country a better place to live without leaving it.

Youth represents the lifeblood of a nation. In this context, the prevalence of frustration among young people bodes ill for a country’s progress and development. Thus, Madushan emerges as a beacon of hope for the beleaguered youth of this nation. Youth is a phase characterized by boundless passion and unfettered creativity, making it a reservoir of untapped potential. Madushan’s journey stands as a testament to what can be achieved when this potential is unleashed, and it serves as an inspiration to Sri Lankan youth who venture abroad in pursuit of solutions to their immediate challenges. The sky’s the limit when their aspirations align with determination and opportunity.


By T.K. Nirasha Udyani


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