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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must Try Food in Sri Lanka – Exotic Flavours to Enjoy
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Try Food in Sri Lanka – Exotic Flavours to Enjoy

Sri Lankan cuisine is a beautiful amalgamation of flavours. Exotic spices blended with traditional herbs bring out rich flavours in the simplest of local vegetables, fresh seafood & succulent meats.



Hoppers or aappa, are divine bowl shaped pancakes made from a batter of fermented rice flour. Cooked in a miniature wok like pan, a good hopper will have a crispy rim and soft fluffy centre. There are many variants to the hopper, the most favourite being the egg hopper, which consists of an egg being poached in the middle of a hopper. These together with plain hoppers, can be enjoyed with beef, pork or chicken curry, onion relish or hot-hot with butter. At tea time, roadside kiosks will offer brown coloured honey hoppers, peni aappa which sweet to the taste, and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Ceylon tea.


Rice and Curry

A must try when in Sri Lanka, rice and curry is a lunchtime staple in the country. Although many a Sri Lankan would not disagree to a delicious plate of rice and curry for dinner too. The meal consists of a mound of rice, either white or the red country version, being bordered by at least two seasonal vegetables and a fish, meat, egg or dry fish curry. Sigiriya restaurants, for instance, offer a lovely fiery version of local vegetables, and meat or fried river fish, which brings out the tastes of the dry zone; guests at local hotels such as Water Garden Sigiriya can look to order such Sri Lankan specialities as well as explore the rustic little food kiosks in town. Other eateries in various parts of the country offer rice and curry, in accordance with the region's traditions; do explore and treat your taste-buds.


Chicken Curry

Like the rice and curry, chicken curry too has many versions depending on which region of the island you taste the dish. The only thing in common though, is the lovely spicy flavours, the tempered and cooked chicken offers. The gravy is always a thick cream, infused with a number of spices, condiments and herbs. Chicken curry is the perfect accompaniment to rice, hoppers, milk rice or a nice thick chunk of local wood fire cooked bread.


Jackfruit Curry

Jackfruit curry or polos as it is known locally is the traditional ambula, or curry which accompanies rice. Polos is the tender jackfruit which is cooked in local spices until it renders a dark reddish curry packed with loads of flavour. Almost meaty in consistency, the Polos Curry is a very traditional dish in Sri Lanka, most often cooked in a clay pot.


Fried Salted Fish

Dry fish or karawala bedum as it is known in Sinhalese, is a favoured side dish for rice. Small cubes of dried fish are soaked in water and deep fried, before being tempered with onions, red chilli flakes, green chillies and other spices, to offer a fiery and delicious bite, which offers a burst of flavour to a mouthful of plain rice. Fried salted fish is often kept as a side accompaniment with crispy papadam, at most Sri Lankan rice and curry buffets.

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