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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 11, 2020
Headline for 6 Foods You Should Try in Sri Lanka – Delectable Local Culinary Highlights
Joanna James Joanna James
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6 Foods You Should Try in Sri Lanka – Delectable Local Culinary Highlights

Sri Lanka is renowned for its unique and delicious cuisine. If you visit Sri Lanka, make it a point to savour foods such as fish ambul thiyal, kottu, kukul mas curry, kiri bath, parippu, hoppers and so on.


Fish Ambul Thiyal

Being an island nation it is not surprising that seafood is prominently featured in the cuisine of Sri Lanka. A popular dish here is fish ambul thiyal, which is a sour fish curry that ranks amongst the most popular and loved fish dishes often served in this country. In this dish, the fish, typically a firm and large variety like tuna, is diced into cubes and then sautéed with a zesty combination of spices. A key ingredient would be the goraka, which is a dried fruit that gives this dish its distinctive sour taste.



Kottu is a very popular and commonly consumed food that can be found at innumerable restaurants around Sri Lanka. You will immediately know where kottu is available due to the distinctive metallic clanking sound that is made when it is being prepared. When a kottu is ordered, the chef will chop and fry pieces of roti along with a number of other ingredients of your choice such as vegetables, meat or fish. The end result will be a delicious combination of flavours that will delight the diner. Typically, kottu is accompanied by a spicy curried sauce.


Kukul Mas Curry

Chicken curry which is locally known as kukul mas curry is very often found in Sri Lankan households and restaurants. It is relatively simple to prepare and you will find different variations of this dish so as to cater to differing preferences. To make this curry you must temper spices such as cardamom, fennel seeds, cinnamon and cloves in heated oil and then add the pieces of chicken along with more spices; this includes curry powder, chilli powder, turmeric and so on along with coconut milk which is a key ingredient that gives the curry its rich taste.


Kiri Bath

The milk rice or kiri bath is a festive food that is often prepared on ceremonial and joyful occasions. Kiri bath is made from either red or white rice along with a rich addition of coconut milk. It can be enjoyed with a number of accompaniments including lunu miris which is made from chopped onion, flakes of chilli, grated dry fish and a dash of lime. When seeking top restaurants in Colombo where you will be able to enjoy kiri bath, rare Bar + Kitchen is amongst the options to consider.



This dhal curry which is undoubtedly one of the most frequently prepared curries in Sri Lanka is exceedingly popular in the island nation. When preparing this dish you must first rinse the dhal and then boil it until it becomes soft. Separately you should combine and sauté ingredients like tomatoes, onions and green chillies; these are then blended with spices such as turmeric, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves and fenugreek. After being cooked with coconut milk, this curry can be served with a variety of foods like paratha, roti or rice.



Hoppers may be described as the local version of a pancake. When preparing this food a portion of batter made with rice flour and coconut milk is cooked in a special bowl. Hoppers may be savoury or sweet, with egg hoppers being a local favourite. To make this variety you must crack an egg into the hopper as it is being cooked. Hoppers are a popular food for breakfast as well as dinner and may be enjoyed with a variety of garnishes.

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