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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Try Food In Sri Lanka - Local Delicacies To Tempt The Hungry Traveller

If you're travelling to Sri Lanka, you must try some of the tasty local cuisine. From savoury to sweet, here are few you should definitely dig into.


Rice and Curry

Let's get the obvious out of the way first. You can't go to Sri Lanka and not have an authentic Sri Lankan rice and curry. Unlike Indian curries, Sri Lankan curries are more heavily spiced, and coconut milk and flesh is used in abundance. A typical plate of rice and curry will include a generous serving of rice, a minimum of four vegetable curries, a type of protein - usually fish, chicken or even soya meat, and a mallung (finely chopped salad). Accompaniments will include deep fried red chilles, pappadams, and various sambals.


Various forms of Rotis

A flat bread made from wheat flour, there are several forms of roti all over Asia, and there are two in Sri Lanka. Dining options include - Gothamba roti, a thin, velvety flat bread which is folded several times over as it is being cooked. Gothamba is either prepared plain or served with gravies, or an egg is added to the middle before folding the edges, to make it an egg gothamba roti. The second roti is Coconut roti or 'Pol roti' as it's known locally. Made with scraped coconut flesh and flour, with added ingredients like diced onions and green chilies. The thick, flat bread has a mild coconut flavour which goes well with just about anything - whether savoury or sweet.



Every Sri Lankan's favourite pre/after party meal is Kottu - a dish that is as recognisable by the sound created when it's being made, as it is by it's delicious medley of flavours. Expert kottu makers throw a couple of gothamba rotis on a hot griddle with gravy, vegetables, eggs, meat and even chunks of cheese - and then precede to chop it up like mad. The rhythmic clanging sound alerts everyone around that fresh kottu is on the menu. Kottu is so popular among locals that even big hotels chains like Jetwing Hotels, for example, serve it in their buffets.


String Hoppers

Often eaten for breakfast or dinner, these delicate rounds resemble interlaced noodles. Made from steamed rice flour, the string hoppers are light and often served with a variety of curries on the side. Sweet versions are made by filling individual string hoppers with a coconut and sugar syrup paste.



Not to be confused with string hoppers - the hopper is best described as a thin, crispy pancake with a springy middle. Made from a fermented rice flour batter, it is pan-fried in a special bowl-shaped pan. Alternative versions include egg hoppers, where an egg is added to the centre, and milk hoppers, which has a sweeter, creamier taste.


Milk Rice

A traditional meal usually eaten for breakfast or specially made to mark an occasion. A creamy rice made with coconut milk, which has a deliciously delicate flavour that goes well with a number of savoury curries and sambals, or even with a piece of jaggery or plantain. It is often compared to rice pudding, but the flavours are nowhere near as sweet, since no sugar is added.

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