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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Most Popular Dishes in Sri Lanka - When in Sri Lanka, Here's What to Eat

Sri Lanka, the island of curry, spice, and everything nice. Sri Lankan food is a true reflection of the country and the people itself, bold, vivacious and warm. So here's some of the popular of dishes;


Rice & Curry

Rice and curry are so loved by Sri Lankan people that if they miss it even just for one day, they feel like the sun don't shine no more. It's the staple food of the country and there are so many different varieties to choose from. If you're trying to be healthy you can have red rice as it has a higher nutritional value, due to the proven fact that the germ of the rice is left intact. Then there are the processed, white rice varieties such as basmati, nadu, samba and suwandel, a most coveted type of rice as it has a heavenly, fragrant smell. The first step of preparing the rice is to wash it 2 to 3 times. Then boil it until it becomes soft yet firm. Sri Lankans have a unique way of measuring the right amount of water to boil the rice and that is until the first ridge of your middle finger.

The rice is eaten with all types of curries. When it comes to curries Sri Lankans can make a curry out of anything! From average ones like fish, chicken, and potato to unique variations such as garlic, pineapple and cucumber.



What's crispy on the outside, gooey in the inside and has the power to topple a government? Hoppers! This beloved Sri Lankan dish has since recent times, become a part of the local political lore. Made out of rice flour, appa as its locally called is a round pancake or gridle cake that's shaped like a bowl. There are variations of the hopper consisting of egg hoppers- with an egg in the middle, pani appa- literally translated as honey hoppers and wandu appa- a cake-like creation.

Hoppers, just like rice, are eaten with accompaniments such as curry and a feisty paste called Katta Sambol, made from grinding together onions, garlic, tomato, salt, Maldives fish and lots and lots of chili flakes- it's not for the faint hearted.


String Hopper

String Hoppers or Idiyappa; are exactly what it sounds like. Rice flour mixed with water is put into a idiyappa press (something like a large nozzle with multiple small fissures) and pressed through into a net-like round frame which are then placed in a steamer. They are taken out when firm and eaten alongside pol sambol-a spicy coconut chutney and kiri hodhi- a curry that for once has nothing in it except curry!



The ultimate Sri Lankan street food! This flavoursome dish is so popular that it's available everywhere from the saivar kad├ęs (street side eateries) to delivery chains and even some of the best restaurants in Sri Lanka like the ones at five-star resorts such as The Blue Water Wadduwa. There's even a song titled Koththu!

So, your holiday in Sri Lanka is not complete without sampling this heavenly creation. What is it you ask? It consists of strips of roti that're tossed into a flat stove with vegetables and meats of your choice and then chopped up in such a loud fashion it's like listening to a DJ playing a mix of house music/ rock!



Let's move on to the sweeter side. Curd is a popular dessert in Sri Lanka and is eaten with a generous helping of kithul treacle that's made from liquid jaggery. Mee Kiri as it is known in Sinhalese, is made out of buffalo milk which is filtered, boiled, scum removed and cooled to room temperature. Then a few spoonfuls of the previous batch are added, mixed well and poured into clay pots which are sealed with paper. After letting it set for 12 hours, the curd is good to go.

If you ever visit the down south of Sri Lanka, visit Tissamaharama a town famous for its thriving curd industry. Those who are visiting the Katharagama temple will always stop at one of the many curd shops by the streets in Tissamaharama, and cool off with a delightful bowl of this creamy concoction that just melts in your mouth...

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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