Sri Lanka is not just the land of pristine beaches and unorthodox tea, but also the land of palatable curries and rice. Sri Lankan cuisine is similar to South Indian food, yet it has its own distinctive taste and flavours that can’t be ignored. The impact of years of colonization and strong influence from different countries can be seen in the blend of different dishes, curry concoctions, and unique types of breads: Theti Paan and Roast Paan served in Sri Lanka.
You may wonder how is it possible for such a small country to have so many varieties of food. It’s not just the diverse flora and fauna, but also their ethnic diversity that made Sri Lankan cuisine so unique. Long, long ago in the 15th and 16th centuries, traders from India, Europe, Arabia, Africa, and the Malay World came to Sri Lanka and brought their native cuisines, different cooking styles, and techniques. For instance, Lamprais is a Dutch-influenced dish, most of the sweets are Portuguese-influenced, while British influences are roasted beef and roasted chicken
- Asmi – Magic Of Milk And Cinnamon
- Gotu Kola Mallum Sambola – Shredded Greens With Coconut
- Polos – A Spicy Dish Of Jackfruit
- Parippu – Spicy Lentil
- Wambatu Moju – An Eggplant Pickle
- Fish Ambul Thiyal – A Saporous Fish Dish
- Kottu – Sri Lanka’s Hamburger
- Kukul Mas Curry – A Flavoursome Curry
- Lamprais – Meat Marinated In Sambal Chili Sauce
- Sri Lankan Egg Hoppers – Pancakes For Breakfast
- Kiribath – Tasty Combo Of Rice And Coconut Milk
- Wood Apple– A South Asian Fruit
Best Vegetarian Sri Lankan Cuisine
Here is a specially created list of some mouth-watering vegetarian Sri Lankan delicacies that are too good to miss. Keep scrolling down and read along!
1. Asmi – Magic Of Milk And Cinnamon
Milk is added to rice flour, which is continuously kneaded. Later, cinnamon leaves are squeezed into a cup of coconut milk, which is used to make the batter. Its then deep fried in oil and garnished with treacle syrup. Enjoy this yummy snacky dish with your family and friends over a chat in the evening.
Ingredients used: rice flour, cinnamon leaves, treacle, and coconut milk.
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2. Gotu Kola Mallum Sambola – Shredded Greens With Coconut
This Sri Lankan cuisine is like a healthy green salad prepared by mixing shredded green vegetables, basic spices available, coconut, chilli, onion, and Umbalakada fish. Enjoy this green leafy and spicey vegetable dish with some steaming hot white rice in an afternoon meal.
Ingredients used: green vegetables, green chilli, onion, coconut, and Umbalakada fish
Eaten with: rice & curry dishes
3. Polos – A Spicy Dish Of Jackfruit
Spices are dry roasted, small pieces of jackfruit are mixed with the roasted spices. Mustard seed oil is heated in a pan, and garlic, onion, curry leaves, lemongrass and cinnamon are added. Then jackfruit pieces are mixed with the gravy and coconut mix is poured. Its then cooked for an hour.
Ingredients used: Jackfruit, cinnamon, curry leaves, spices, garlic, lemongrass, onion, mustard seeds, and coconut milk.
Eaten with: Rice and Parippu
Suggested Read: Honeymoon In Sri Lanka And Maldives: Tropical Fun Doubled!
4. Parippu – Spicy Lentil
Are you ready for a flavorsome Sri Lankan curry- This delicious Sri Lankan cuisine is prepared using boiled red lentils. Curry leaves, onion, spices, and garlic are added to hot oil, and the curry is cooked until it turns yellow. This flavorsome and creamy daal or parippu curry will make your simple steamed rice taste heavenly.
Ingredients used: red and yellow lentils, spices, onion, curry leaves, coconut milk, and garlic.
Eaten with: rice and wambatu moju
5. Wambatu Moju – An Eggplant Pickle
Sri lankan cuisine is a highly flavoured side dish prepared by cutting eggplant in wedges and deep-frying them to give crispy texture. Then its caramelized with sugar, vinegar, green chillies, red onions, and mustard seeds.
Ingredients used: eggplant, spices, oil, vinegar, onion, green chillies, and sugar.
Eaten with: plain rice and roasted paan
Best Non-Vegetarian Sri Lankan Cuisine
Now it’s time for some delectable Non-Vegetarian Sri Lankan delicacies. Here are some of the most popular non-vegetarien food dishes of Sri Lanka:
6. Fish Ambul Thiyal – A Saporous Fish Dish
This is one of the easiest Sri Lankan cuisine recipes when it comes to preparation. Fishes are cut into cubes and then sauteed in an aromatic blend of spices. It is then cooked until the little water is reduced. Savor this tasty Fish Thiyal for a burst of flavours inside your mouth.
Ingredients used: pandan leaves, curry leaves, oil, spices, a large & firm fish, and dried goraka.
Eaten with: roasted paan or theti paan
7. Kottu – Sri Lankas Hamburger
A popular Sri Lankan cuisine, Kottu is prepared using a flat crispy bread called godamba roti. The roti is deep fried and chopped, and then vegetables and spices are added to the mix. The preparation is served with spicy curry sauce. Does this remind of pasta- Make sure you taste it to know whether it also tastes like pasta.
Ingredients used: godamba roti, spices, and vegetables.
Eaten with: spicy curry sauce
8. Kukul Mas Curry – A Flavoursome Curry
Spices are fried in oil, coconut milk and tomato puree are added. Chicken pieces are then added to the thick gravy and stewed for a while. It tastes best with rice and bread. This is a popular Sri Lankan cuisine in Colombo. Enjoy this yummy chicken curry with plain rice for the best taste.
Ingredients used: spices, curry leaves, lemongrass, pandan leaves, oil, coconut milk, and chicken.
Eaten with: plain rice or theti paan
Suggested Read: 10 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Should be Your Next Holiday Destination
9. Lamprais – Meat Marinated In Sambal Chili Sauce
This Sri Lankan cuisine is a flavourful dish eaten with rice. Meat, rice, and sambal chili sauce are wrapped in a banana leaf packet to steam. This process adds a special flavor of the banana leaf to it which increases the taste of the dish. The rice is cooked with meat stock and then served with the meat curry on a banana leaf.
Ingredients used: Oil, spices, meat, beef/pork/lamb stock, and rice.
Eaten with: Rice
10. Sri Lankan Egg Hoppers – Pancakes For Breakfast
A fermented concoction of rice flour, coconut milk, and a hint of sugar is used to make the batter. The batter is cooked in a small wok and swirled around to even it out. An egg is cracked into the bowl-shaped pancake and garnished with chilies, lunu miris, onions, lemon juice, and salt.
Ingredients used: egg, chillies, lemon juice, lunumiris, oil, flour and coconut milk for batter.
Eaten with: spicy chile sauce, dhaal curry, and chutney
11. Kiribath – Tasty Combo Of Rice And Coconut Milk
Kiribath is a dish which is prepared during the special occasions in Sri Lanka. The dish is prepared by boiling the rice and cooking it with coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Once the consistency of the mix becomes sticky, it is left to set. Then the mixture is cut into slices. Kiribath is popularly garnished with lunu miris, a kind of traditional chili sauce.
Ingredients used: Rice, Coconut milk, salt
Eaten with: lunu miris
12. Wood Apple – A South Asian Fruit
The delicious Southeast Asian fruit called wood apple is a popular food in Sri Lanka. The fruit is of the size of a coconut with a hard shell. The shell contains a brown paste which can be directly eaten out of the shell. Another interesting and popular way to consume it is as a thick smoothie, known as wood apple juice. It is made by blending the fruit with jaggery or sugar and water. The sweet and sour flavor of this smoothie is amazing.
Ingredients used: Wood apple, sugar/jaggery, water
Do these fiery curries, sweet caramelized onion, rice, delicious sweets, and deep-fried dishes make you want to visit Sri Lanka right away? plan a trip to Sri Lanka and set out on a mouth-watering food tour. This is your chance to experience this amazing island nation like never before.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sri Lankan Cuisine
A. Sri Lankan cuisine generally features steamed rice which is served with a vegetable, curry or meat curry. The dishes are accompanied by pickles, sambols, and chutneys.
A. Sri Lankan food recipes involve the use of many different kinds of masalas and spices. A lot of popular traditional Sri Lankan dishes are spicy.
A. Food in Sri Lanka is not very expensive. The average cost of a meal at a decent restaurant is between INR 200 to INR 400.
A. Dahl curry (orange lentils) and roti (bread) is the staple breakfast in Sri Lanka.
A. Yes, you can drink alcohol in Sri Lanka. However, do make sure that you’re not drinking alcohol in public areas as the locals may not agree with that. You must also try the local alcoholic beverage of Lankan Arrack.
A. A pint of domestic beer costs somewhere around INR 100 to INR 200 in Sri Lanka. Imported beer, on the other hand, costs somewhere between INR 160 to INR 350.
A. Rice and curry are mainly the staple diet of Sri Lanka, where the curry could be made up of a variety of things like meat, seafood, lentils, vegetables, sambols, mallums, to achcharus.
A. Some of the most famous dishes for you to try in Sri Lanka include:
1. Fish Ambul Thiyal
3. Kukul Mas Curry
5. Sri Lankan Egg Hoppers