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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Best Sri Lankan Dishes – Island Favourites
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Sri Lankan Dishes – Island Favourites

Sri Lankan food is packed with spices and flavours that will make you crave for more. Embark on a culinary journey as you taste some of the best local dishes!



Kottu is a delicious street food that's usually served at night from a number of street vendors and restaurants such as those found at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort. Kottu is a combination of chopped up rotti and a mix of vegetables including carrot, leeks and onions that are lightly fried before being mixed with a good dose of spicy curry; and meat which could either be chicken or seafood. Variations of this dish include cheese kottu, egg kottu and vegetarian kottu. The cheese kottu is as delicious as it sounds – plenty of cheese mixed well to give you a perfect spice free dish.



Hoppers are the Sri Lankan version of a slightly more upright pancake. Made with the same batter as you would for a pancake with the addition of the island's best coconut milk, the batter is poured and spread across a small wok shaped pan, with a little bit left at the base of the pan. Once the edges look light brown and crispy, your hopper is ready to eat! The hopper can be eaten as it is or with the addition of an egg to the base of it. Hoppers are generally served with a handful of spicy onion salad, locally known as lunu miris and some curry. In Tangalle, resorts generally have a live cooking station at their buffets which serve up fresh hoppers to diners.


Rice and Curry

This traditional meal includes a healthy serving of rice accompanied with an assortment of vegetables and a meat dish. Vegetables can include anything from dhal to green salads to pickles. Rice and curry ought to be mixed well by hand and then eaten to get the maximum flavour out of each dish!


Coconut Roti

Coconut roti is a household favourite. It's made from flour, grated coconut, salt and water and resembles a thicker version of your regular roti. The dough is flattened into a circular shape and cooked over a slow fire until it becomes slight brown. Roti should be ideally eaten with lunu miris (as mentioned before) and with a spicy curry which should ideally be used to soak the roti.


Fried Rice

Although fried rice is mainly a Chinese based dish, the fried rice served at many local restaurants is something you must try! This mixed fried rice dish is packed with flavour and spice and is usually served with chop suey, chicken and some chilli paste; all of which have greatly influenced by local spices and styles.



Seafood dishes in Sri Lanka should definitely be tried when you're on the island. Jaffna, the north, is known to have the best version of a crab curry, while Negombo is known to have the best version of a prawn curry; thanks to the nearby lagoon where it gets it fresh prawns from. Seafood dishes in Sri Lanka are quite common and if you're a pescatarian, you will not be disappointed by the variety available here.