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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Sri Lanka's Iconic Food Dishes - For the food lovers!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Sri Lanka's Iconic Food Dishes - For the food lovers!

Sri Lanka, may be known for its immaculate beaches, wildlife, rich history and culture, but it's local cuisine is known for its abundant flavours and deserves your attention. Here's a list of the iconic dishes of Sir Lanka that you must try this vacation.


The Kottu Roti

This is an iconic dish that should be tried, no matter what. In the late evenings in the Lankan Land, you may hear a clanky noise, metal hitting on metal. If you hear, then you should know a delicious plate of Kottu Roti is close by. Follow the noise! So, what are the origins of this dish? Well, there may not be a fancy story there, and the dish came to be as a result of leftovers. Leftover food like roti was shredded into pieces and stir-fried with vegetables, meat, spices, ginger, garlic and soya sauce on an iron skillet. Having said that, this dish is no 'leftover dish' anymore and is a signature dish in town. Besides, if you're looking for restaurants in Kalutara to try local food after a busy day sightseeing, there are properties the likes of Anantara Kalutara Resort that offer a good dining experience.



The Lamprais is another favourite local rice dish, and the dish gets its name from the Dutch which actually means 'a packet of food'. True to this meaning you get exactly that, as the food is packed in a banana leaf. The aroma is to die for! The dish itself is made out of eggplants, boiled eggs, beef balls, the meat of your liking, and sambol. The rice is cooked with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Packed in a banana leaf, this packet of food is allowed to bake in an oven. The aroma is just heavenly, and the taste even more so!


Dhal curry

Many main meals in Sri Lanka, be it rice, chapati, roti, string hoppers or any other local dishes, have a bowl of the famous Dhal curry. This curry is prepared with red lentils that are cooked in fresh coconut milk. Tomatoes, green chillies and onions are stir fried and then mixed with spices like turmeric, fenugreek, cumin seeds, curry leaves and mustard seeds. On top of that, the dish is sometimes made in clay pots which adds more flavour!


Gotu kola mallung

Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its nutritional content. Most meals combine a healthy amount of carbs, protein and other minerals and vitamins in the form of salads. The Gotu Kola is a famous green leafy vegetable that is finely chopped first. For flavour, the green leaves are seasoned with lemon juice, salt, pepper, ginger, green chillies, shallots and some freshly grated coconut. If you order a lunch meal, don't be surprised to see the lunch set with Gotu kola mallung. Sri Lankans do love their greens, especially gotu kola. You'll understand why after you have a taste of it.


Egg Hoppers

Another local favourite is the egg hoppers. So, what exactly are hoppers? It might be considered as the Sri Lankan edition of pancakes that has very crisp edges. Shaped liked a bowl, the hoppers are prepared with rice flour, water, coconut milk and a dash of sugar. The egg is cracked right at the centre, and once cooked the hoppers are served with sambol. The flavours will tantalise your senses!