Sri Lanka’s most renowned chef-restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa is the mastermind behind some of the best restaurants in the country including Nihonbashi and Ministry of Crab; the only restaurants from Sri Lanka to have ever been ranked on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List. Born in Tokyo, to a Japanese mother and Sri Lankan father, Dharshan unearthed his passion for cooking during his time at Johns Hopkins University, USA. Nihonbashi, Dharshan’s first venture founded in 1995, serves inspired fine Japanese cuisine and uses Sri Lankan ingredients, to create unique masterpieces stemming from Japanese culinary philosophies. It was the first restaurant in Sri Lanka to be listed on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List in 2013 and ranking successively on the list until 2018. He followed this up with Ministry of Crab in 2011, partnering with Sri Lankan cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara. The restaurant has been consecutively listed as one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants from 2015 to 2022; and has expanded to Shanghai, Chengdu, Maldives, and Bangkok. While expanding Nihonbashi to the Maldives, he also created Carne Diem Grill an avant-garde steakhouse with a unique charcoal grill engineered by Munidasa himself, that operates at a temperature of 750 ̊C, cooking premium cuts of Australian Wagyu in a matter of minutes.
For staying true to the roots of Washoku, Dharshan was the first non-Japanese chef to be featured on the Japanese TV series Nippon Shokudo for TV Tokyo in 2011, which was filmed in Sri Lanka at Nihonbashi Restaurant. He has also been featured on episodes of Rick Stein’s Far East Odyssey on BBC, UK and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. He has also been invited to prepare degustation menus in various establishments in multiple cities around the world including Tokyo, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney and Dubai.
Being of Japanese-Sri Lankan descent, Dharshan’s contribution to Japanese Culture was recognized by the Japanese government, when he was presented with The Minister’s Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food for the year 2014. He is also an ambassador for ‘Cool Japan’, appointed by the Japanese government for spreading Japanese culture overseas and in 2021 he was appointed as a “Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador'' by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan, for his continuous effort toward the dissemination of Japanese food and dietary culture overseas. In 2023 Dharshan was awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” by the Government of Japan in recognition of his distinguished contributions to promoting Japanese Food Culture in Sri Lanka as well as to the bilateral relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.