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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 15, 2019
Headline for Best Food to Eat in Sri Lanka - Top Sri Lankan Culinary Treats to Sample on Holiday
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Food to Eat in Sri Lanka - Top Sri Lankan Culinary Treats to Sample on Holiday

Home to the world's most underrated culinary style according to Lonely Planet; Sri Lanka is a foodie haven like no other. Here are some must -sample dishes during a getaway on the island.


Kottu Roti

Often considered street food, Kottu is one of the island's best kept culinary secrets. Prepared using shredded Godamba roti, the spicy and flavourful Kottu is synonymous with the sound of steel blades moving rhythmically over the roti and other ingredients to create a delectable mix. Fried and infused with vegetables and meat items of one's choice, the popular dinner meal comes in a plethora of variations including Cheese Kottu. Prepared in minutes and served piping hot, visitors should wash down a plate of Kottu Roti with a bottle of ginger beer.


Devilled Sweet and Sour Fish Curry

The abundance of seafood sourced from the waters surrounding the island nation has influenced the local cuisine in a host of ways. The large number of seafood dishes and curries, therefore, is a direct result of the ready availability of fish and other seafood varieties including crab, shrimp and cuttlefish. Devilled dishes are a firm favourite among locals and expats alike as the spicy dishes incorporate fried meat and vegetables. Sweet and sour fish curries in Sri Lanka not only go well with a bowl of steamed rice but any type of flatbread. The bite-sized version of this dish is served in hotel bars in Colombo, whether it's at the Berjaya Hotel Colombo or any other similar venue.


Dhal Curry or Parippu

As a staple curry that is included in nearly every lunch meal in Sri Lanka, dhal curry is a must sample vegetarian dish for the masses. Wholesome and filling, Mysore dhal is first boiled with garlic and spices before being simmered in coconut milk to create this national dish of sorts. The rich broth is not only perfect for a simple breakfast with bread and fried eggs but can also serve as a side dish for rice, roti and paratha.


Young Jackfruit Curry

Also known as Polos Curry, young jackfruit curry is a scrumptious and uniquely Sri Lankan dish which is only made during the choice times of the year when young jackfruit is freely available. Unripe jack fruits are first shredded and blended with a mix of spices and left to marinate. Boiled for long periods of time, coconut milk is added later in the cooking stages. Tender and succulent, the curry is the perfect accompaniment to rice, roti and even bread. Local households prepare the dish only several times a year and the curry is also considered comfort food by Sri Lankan expats living abroad.


Milk Rice

Made during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April and on auspicious occasions such as birthdays and celebrations, milk rice is a creamy and rich rice dish which is eaten with onion Sambal or fish curry. Long grained rice varieties are used to create this dish which is smooth and soft in texture.


Gotukola Sambol

Also known as Pennywort Salad, a bowl of Gotukola Sambol is a common and nutritious addition at Sri Lankan lunch tables. The vegetarian dish is prepared by shredding the leaves to a fine length before mixing the same with chopped red onions, coconut shavings, pepper, salt and a dash of lime. This dish is consumed fresh and is not cooked and therefore, cannot be kept for long periods of time without refrigeration. Crisp and crunchy, the salad is best consumed with a cup of rice.