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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 10 Foods to Try Out in Sri Lanka - Ten Must Sample Dishes on a Tour of Sri Lanka
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 10 Foods to Try Out in Sri Lanka - Ten Must Sample Dishes on a Tour of Sri Lanka

Regarded as a food lover's haven, Sri Lanka offers travelers a plethora of delectable delights of various origins. Here are 10 must-try food items on a tour of the island nation.


Rice and Curry

As the staple meal sometimes consumed for all three meals of the day, rice and curry barely covers the sheer variety this popular meal item encompasses. Steamed rice is served with a plethora of vegetable and meat dishes that are either cooked in coconut milk or fried in coconut oil with the use of spices and a host of herbs to give each curry its unique flavour and aroma.


Coconut Sambol

Comparable to chilli paste in terms of its many uses, coconut sambol is made using scraped coconut shavings, chilli, salt, Maldive fish and lime which are infused together and mixed by hand or pounded using a mortar and pestle. Eaten with rice, roti and string hoppers, the many uses of this spicy dish are too varied to narrow down.


String Hoppers

As a staple meal option in hotel buffets in venues the likes of Taprobana Wadduwa or similar accommodation hubs, string hoppers are a firm favourite in most restaurants in Wadduwa and elsewhere in Sri Lanka. Resembling noodles in appearance and texture the rice flour pancake is steamed and typically consumed with a sambol and dhal curry.



Another hot favourite among visitors and locals alike, Kottu is a popular dinner dish that features shredded pieces of "Godamba" roti which are the tossed and fried in vegetables, eggs, meat items and even cheese. Kottu comes in a variety of flavours and is unmistakably spicy.


Coconut Roti

Comparable to a chapatti but thicker and more wholesome in texture, coconut rotis are the preferred breakfast dish of many Sri Lankans. Made using coconut shavings, plain flour, oil, water and salt, the rotis are fried on a skillet and served with a chutney or a dhal curry. Certain types of coconut roti also feature shredded vegetables, onions as well as diced pieces of chilli.


Buffalo Curd

Buffalo curd is a dessert most locals consume during the hot and humid days of the year for its cooling properties that also aid digestion. Although the texture is similar to yoghurt the sourness is stronger in this popular dessert option which is consumed with treacle, honey or sugar. Greek yoghurt is the closest one can come to describing the taste of Sri Lankan buffalo curd although the taste is slightly different from the European yoghurt staple.



Eaten as a breakfast dish as well as an afternoon snack, pancakes in Sri Lanka use not only wheat flour and water but also coconut milk. A filling made of coconut and honey caramelised to perfection completes this dish which is served in bite-size rolls similar to spring rolls.


Devilled Dishes

Devilled fare in Sri Lankan cuisine not only includes seafood and meat items but also vegetables as well. Using staple ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, chillies and peppers, fish or meat or vegetables are fried in vegetable oil or coconut oil and then topped off with sweet and sour sauce.


Chocolate Biscuit Pudding

A dessert that is never missing from Sri Lankan dinner tables, chocolate biscuit pudding is a fusion dish that combines local flavour elements with that of the nation's colonizers. Made using biscuits and chocolate cream, the dessert is also infused with brandy or rum for an added kick.



A leftover from the island's colonial past, lamprais is a rice and curry meal that is wrapped in banana leaf and then baked in the oven. Available in most local restaurants, the lamprais features a set number of curries including fried aubergines and a fish cutlet with a meat item, onion sambol and a fried egg rounding up the curries.

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