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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 12, 2018
Headline for Must try food in Sri Lanka -A feast for the senses in Sri Lanka
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Must try food in Sri Lanka -A feast for the senses in Sri Lanka

A trip to Sri Lanka is an escapade for the taste buds. With liberal use made of exotic local produce and a bevvy of local herbs and spices, Sri Lankan cooking is a culinary force to be reckoned with.

1

Kottu roti

If any dish were deserving of being considered the Sri Lankan equivalent of the quintessential hamburger, kottu would be it. Adored by legions of fans both local and otherwise, kottu roti has become a fast food staple for those desiring something tasty and greasy. Prepared with a type of roti called "godamba", the roti is fried and chopped expertly with a spatula and knives on a metal surface. A selection of vegetables, spices and meat are thrown into the mix resulting in a scrumptious preparation of salty fried dough chunks, succulent meat and flavourful, diced vegetables. Kottu can be found at many street stalls and food vendors towards the evening. The rhythmic clank of the kottu maker on the streets is impossible to miss.

2

Hoppers

Hoppers are Sri Lanka's sourdough pancake equivalent and are often sold by the same street stalls and local fast food vendors found selling the aforesaid kottu roti. Hopper batter is prepared from a lightly fermented mixture of rice flour, coconut milk and eggs that are then ladled into a small wok and swirled around to even it out. Whether your preference is for a sweet or savoury dish, hoppers can be tweaked to suit your palate. Jaggery is added to the batter in the case of sweet hoppers while an egg is fried in the centre of the hopper for a savoury option. Titillate your taste buds further by opting for Sri Lankan condiments such as lunu miris or onion sambal and a dhal or potato curry to accompany your stack of savoury hoppers for an added kick.

3

Lamprais

Lamprais is a unique delicacy comprising of boiled eggs, eggplant, frikkadels (Dutch-style beef balls), meat (often chicken) and sambal infused with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked at low temperature for many hours. The ingredients packed into the banana leaf meld beautifully, complementing and contrasting their individual flavours with a certain gastronomic eloquence that induce an aromatic escapade of the taste buds upon opening.

4

Fish ambul thiyal

Some of the busiest fish markets in the sub-Asian continent can be found in Sri Lanka, namely the Negombo Fishing Village near Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions. Seafood, therefore, has an integral role to play in the preparation of traditional food. Sri Lanka boasts of more than a plethora of fish that can be prepared in myriad ways but none stands out to the extent that fish ambul thiyal does. A large firm fish, usually, tuna, is dissected into cubes and sautéed in an arsenal of spices that include black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, curry leaves and most importantly, dried goraka; the very fruit that gives the dish its distinctly sour flavour. As it is a dry curry dish, the ingredients are combined with a little water and reduced to a thick spice mixture that evenly coats each cube of fish. Accompanied with a serving of rice, this unique Southern Sri Lankan delight is sure to appease the taste buds of even the pickiest of travellers!

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