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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 5 Most Popular Sri Lankan Food Dishes - Savour Sri Lankan Cuisine
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Most Popular Sri Lankan Food Dishes - Savour Sri Lankan Cuisine

Kalutara is famed for its beach but no visit to Sri Lanka would be complete without savouring its cuisine. Here is a list of some of the most popular dishes.


Milk Rice

Also known as Kiribath, this is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made with rice and coconut milk. It is generally served on special occasions but as it is also a traditional breakfast item, it can also be found on the menus of restaurants in Kalutara. It may also be found at breakfast buffets of hotels such as the Anantara Kalutara Resort. There are several variations of the milk rice dish including one mixed with green gram which is known as Mung Kiribath in the local language. There is also a sweet version where the centre is filled with coconut and jaggery. The savoury version of milk rice is generally accompanied with a spicy onion sambal called Lunu Miris, which wonderfully complements the mild coconut flavour of the milk rice.



If you hear a repetitive clanking while you strolling through the streets of Kalutara, it is very likely that you are hearing the sounds of a man making kottu. Kottu is a popular street food throughout the country and involves strips of paratha bread stir fried with spices, vegetables and meat of various kinds. The kottu cook puts all the ingredients on the griddle and starts to rhythmically cut and mix them with two metal spatulas which makes the preparation of your meal fun to watch. Some places even offer to add cheese slices to make this dish even more sinfully delicious.


Kola Mallum

The word 'mallum' means 'mix up and this is the Sri Lankan version of a salad. It is prepared by using raw shredded green leaves, tiny pieces of Maldive fish, onions and grated coconut. The type of green leaf used varies but the most common leaves are Gotukola, Mukunuwenna and Kangkung. It is generally eaten along with a rice and curry meal.


Dhal Curry

Yet another vegetarian-friendly dish, dhal curry will be found almost every meal table in the country. This dish is made by stewing yellow lentils in coconut milk and tempering it with chillies, garlic, mustard seeds and curry leaves. This versatile dish can be enjoyed with rice, coconut roti, paratha or simply buttered bread.



Small shops and restaurants selling hoppers, also known as appa kade, can be found within walking distance of almost any hotel in Kalutara. They are a form of crispy pancake which is made from a fermented batter. It is often served with spicy onion sambol or a sweet and spicy onion relish. It can be enjoyed with a meat or seafood curry but it is also delicious by itself. Hoppers have several different varieties. Plain hoppers and egg hoppers with a golden egg yolk cooked in the centre are the most common forms. Another variety is Kiri Appa, which is a slightly sweet hopper covered in a liberal dose of coconut milk.