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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Sri Lankan Food to Try – Taste the Exotic Flavours
Joanna James Joanna James
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Sri Lankan Food to Try – Taste the Exotic Flavours

Sri Lanka food is steeped in tradition; spices are carefully ground, chopped and sautéed to make curries taste and smell absolutely exotic. When in the island, here are some delicious options to try.


Kottu Rotti

Kottu Rotti is an art form; the clanking of the metal cleavers to a specific rhythm tells all in the vicinity one of the country's favourite night foods are in the works. A kottu rotti is made with chopped up bits of godammaba roti – flat bread made with oil and flour. The rotti is chopped on an iron skillet to which vegetables, onions, an egg and meat or fish of your choice are added. The result is a delicious, spicy and flavoursome mix. As you would have guessed the dish originated as a means of using up leftovers but soon evolved into one the islands most popular street foods.



This is a dish originating from Sri Lanka's colonial past. The Dutch dish Lamprais literally translates to 'a packet of food'. Famous amongst the Dutch Burgher community of Sri Lanka, Lamprais is made by cooking rice in a chicken broth to which servings of boiled egg, Dutch style meatballs, onion sambol and meat are added. The food is cooked with the aid of cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves before being wrapped in a banana leaf. The result is a fragrant rice which is so popular as a lunchtime staple, that unless you pre-order, chances of acquiring a good lamprais after 12 noon are pretty slim.


Dhall Curry

Dhaal or 'parippu' as the locals call it is a staple. You can eat the delicious yellow curry with bread, rice or string hoppers. It's almost always present in a decent plate of rice and curry. Dhaal seeds are cooked in a thick coconut milk to which a well-tempered mix of onions, curry leaves, spices and condiments are added. The result is a very delicious savoury curry loved by all. Plus its high in protein and very nutritious.


Prawn Thel Dala and Other Seafood Delights

Thel Dala – in local terms refers to a well-tempered curry that includes lots of onions, chilli flakes and green chillies. Prawns are part of the islands delicious range of seafood and a must try when in Sri Lanka. Coastal hotels such as a good Kalutara resort will specialise in seafood dishes. Prawns are offered cooked in a variety of ways. You will love the buffet spreads at the good beach hotels of Sri Lanka, specialising in serving all manner of seafood. Mind you choose a reputed resort in order to enjoy other splendours of the ocean such as lobster and crab. For instance offering healthy bites by the beach AVANI Kalutara Resort is just one of the many seaside resorts that Sri Lanka is home to; look around and choose one that offers speciality restaurants.


Egg Hoppers with Onion Relish

Now this is quite a treat. A hopper is a kind of crispy pancake cooked in a miniature wok. The batter is made by fermenting coconut milk and rice flour. The result is a bowl shaped hopper with crispy sides and soft centre. The egg hopper version is one that an egg is dropped into the centre of a half cooked hopper and allowed to poach, leaving a runny yolk to which pepper and salt are added. This is then eaten with katta sambol, a type of onion relish that's made by grinding shallots, chilli flakes, Maldive fish, salt and lime.