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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 05 Dishes Everyone Should Try in Sri Lanka – Land of Many Temptations
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 05 Dishes Everyone Should Try in Sri Lanka – Land of Many Temptations

If you are an ardent foodie, Sri Lanka is going to be very kind. Food is simply exotic and smells as good as it tastes. Many curries are still prepared to traditional recipes which require the correct balance of spices and flavours while street food packs quite a punch as well.


Chicken Curry

Fiery chicken curry is the best in Sri Lanka; you can pair it with a simple slice of bread, a plate of rice, some string hoppers or even an egg hopper, and it will taste divine. The best curry will have a red hot look in appearance, emanating a delicious fragrance of spices. Tastes and textures will vary depending on the region you are in. Restaurants in Sigiriya for instance, will offer a very traditional version of the chicken curry; spicy, hot and bursting with flavour, the thick gravy is only enhanced by the succulent meat. If you are staying at hotels in the area such as Water Garden Sigiriya, make sure to check the onsite restaurant for local dishes such as chicken curry.



Hoppers or appa are the quintessential Sri Lankan food, favoured at breakfast and dinner. Hot hot hoppers are all time favourites and come in various forms. Made from a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk, hoppers are cooked in miniature woks, once done they are bowl-shaped with crispy sides and a pillowy soft centre. An egg hopper is created by poaching an egg in the centre of a half-cooked hopper, sprinkled with pepper and salt. An egg hopper can be eaten on its own or dipped in a thick gravy. Come tea time and many tea kiosks, close to your hotel in Sigiriya will proffer pani appa or honey hoppers, golden brown in colour these sweet sticky hoppers are perfect with a glass of black tea.


Rice and Curry

To visit Sri Lanka and not try a plate of rice and curry is a crime; a staple and much hankered for lunchtime meal, rice and curry can be bought from just about any local restaurant. Yes, even the likes of McDonalds and KFC are offering this very Sri Lankan meal. Rice and curry consists of a mound of rice, around which, generally, two vegetable curries and a meat, fish or chicken curry is served. Additions will include, dry fish, fried red chillies, papapdam a crispy savoury wafer, chutney and a leafy relish called a mallung. The chosen vegetables depend on the season, and province you are in, a Sigiriya hotel, for instance, will offer vegetables akin to that region.


Milk Rice

Milk rice or kiribath symbolises good luck, and is always cooked to mark a special occasion, such as the Sinhala New Year, a birthday, the 1st of a month etc. It is often eaten for breakfast and is a kind of rice pudding, made with coconut milk and a red or white rice variety. The rice once cooked in the coconut milk is left to thicken, before being spread on a platter, and cut into diamond shaped portions. Once cooled and hardened, these portions are then served, to the accompaniment of an onion relish, curry or even sugar, for those who crave something sweet.


Kotthu Roti

If you are a party animal, and love exploring the city at night, do stop over at one of the night food stalls and order yourself a kotthu. This is an all in one meal, where an oily roti is diced together with vegetables, egg and a meat of your choice. Well mashed and blended together, by a 'master cutter' making quite a din with two silvery blades, the kotthu is packed steaming hot for you to enjoy. A pretty good comfort food, there are many versions of the kotthu to choose from.