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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 8 Foods & Dishes You Must Try in Sri Lanka - Explore the Diverse Flavours of the Islands
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 8 Foods & Dishes You Must Try in Sri Lanka - Explore the Diverse Flavours of the Islands

Explore the depth of flavour and the blends of spices that make Sri Lankan cuisine what it is. Sample some of the most well known dishes in Sri Lanka to gain an insight into the local flavours.


String Hoppers

String Hoppers are an essential component of the local diet. Make sure to pair string hoppers with some form of curry and coconut sambal. You can choose from a number of different curries such as potato curry or chicken curry, while others also like to have string hoppers with dhal curry.


Local Street Food

While local street food does not constitute one dish, per say, it is a dining experience that really must be had when in Sri Lanka. One of the most popular dishes you will find on the streets is prawn wade – this is frequently available at Galle Face Green. Those who are sampling the street food in Negombo will come across kottu which is another popular street food item. While you will also undoubtedly be able to sample this delicious dish at most restaurants in Negombo, there is a certain flavour it takes when sampled outside.



Hoppers are another popular dish and can be consumed with no accompaniment. There are variations of hoppers such as egg hoppers and milk hoppers and the latter is quite popular, and best had, in Jaffna. Hoppers can also be had with curries and an onion and chili sambal.



Being geographically located close to India has meant that the Indian cuisine has influenced the Sri Lankan cuisine and Paratha is a dish that the Sri Lankan cuisine has adopted from its neighbour. Paratha is best had with a spicy chicken curry.


Crab Curry

Being an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, seafood is an integral component of the diet of the locals. However, some seafood dishes are undoubtedly superior than others and one of the most iconic seafood dishes is crab curry. In Sri Lanka, the Jaffna Crab Curry holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. However, since there are a number of restaurants in Colombo that specialise in this dish, you don't need to visit Jaffna to sample it. Similarly, tourists visiting Negombo instead of Colombo can sample this delicious dish at a number of establishments including the Crab Claw Bar and Seafood Restaurant at Arie Lagoon.


Fish Ambul Thiyal

Fish Ambul Thiyal refers to a sour fish dish which is popularly consumed with rice, milk rice and even hoppers. It is prepared by marinating the fish, most often tuna, in a blend of spices such as cinnamon, garlic, turmeric etc.


Milk Rice

Milk Rice, locally known as Kiri Bath, is one of the most popular dishes in Sri Lanka. It also symbolizes prosperity and is therefore prepared for all kinds of special events. As a result, milk rice is a must have during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, and is often also prepared on birthdays and other special events.


Dhal Curry

Dhal curry is undoubtedly one of the most versatile curries in the Sri Lankan cuisine. Consumed with practically everything, this particular pulse features in almost every single Sri Lankan meal.