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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must Try Sri Lankan Dishes – The Best in Sri Lankan Cuisine
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Must Try Sri Lankan Dishes – The Best in Sri Lankan Cuisine

Sri Lankan cuisine is beautifully diverse and is the amalgamation of an assortment of influences emanating from the Far East, India, and even Europe thanks to the island's colonial history.


Rice and Curry

This is definitely the quintessential Sri Lankan food that is an absolutely essential to indulge in if you find yourself on this island. It is one of the most celebrated and cultural foods in the country, with millions of these consumed every day. It consists of either white or red rice and two to three vegetable curry dishes, with dhal being a common staple. You will also have a choice of meat, with chicken and fish being the most common ones. In certain places you can find beef or pork options too.


Milk Rice

Sri Lankans love their rice, and this unique concoction is one of the island's top dishes. Although it is consumed regularly as a breakfast dish, it is also very used for certain ceremonial functions such as celebrating the Sinhala/Tamil New Year. The delicacy consists of rice cooked in rich coconut milk, resulting in a paste-like substance which is then formed into a flat mound and cut into diamond shapes. When served, it is accompanied with lunu miris which is basically chilli flakes, onions and salt.


Hoppers (Appa)

These can be enjoyed at any point during the day, both as a snack or part of a larger meal. They are crispy crepe-like creations that contain a more pronounced softer middle. In restaurants they are generally served in the evening, but at places such as 5 star hotels in Colombo you will most likely find them as a breakfast option. There are various kinds of hoppers and the most popular one is the egg-hopper where an egg is placed at the centre. Galle face is one of the best places to try out street food, and you will find many places opposite the upcoming One Galle Face.


Pol Roti

These are usually very small flat-breads that have been fused with shredded coconut, which can be consumed with a variety of curries or accompaniments. The most common method is enjoying with some butter and lunu miris. Some places serve them as a sandwich consisting of two pol rotis with some salted chilli in between them.


Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

Given that rice is the staple in Sri Lankan, there's a wide assortment of curries that are available for you to indulge in on a visit. The chicken curry however is definitely the most popular, and no two places will deliver the same taste. What they do have in common is an unforgettable flavour that is the result of the amalgamation of a variety of traditional spices. The chicken is also generally cooked for a considerable amount of time to ensure that the meat is soft.


Kotthu Roti

A visit to Sri Lanka would be in vain if one doesn't sample their most iconic street food. This dish of flatbread that has been thinly cut to create strips which are then stir-fried along with vegetables, eggs and your choice of meat. The most indulgent incarnation of this is the cheese/chicken kotthu where generous amounts of cheese and either fried or roasted chicken is incorporated into the dish.