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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 26, 2020
Headline for 7 Must Try Foods found Anywhere in Sri Lanka - 7 Dishes Every Tourist Should Try in Sri Lanka
Joanna James Joanna James
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7 Must Try Foods found Anywhere in Sri Lanka - 7 Dishes Every Tourist Should Try in Sri Lanka

Regarded as one of Asia's premier culinary hotspots, a trip to Sri Lanka is the perfect opportunity to dig into local treats. Here are 7 food items every traveller must sample during a trip to the island.


Pol Sambol

This spicy accompaniment to rice is made using grated coconut, red chilli powder, onions, salt, lemon and Maldives fish. As a breakfast staple, this coconut sambol is served in households around the country almost daily. Although the dish is relatively easy to make and hassle free, the flavour is unmistakably Sri Lankan as the blend of spiciness and sourness creates the perfect combination.



Kottu stands across Sri Lanka are difficult to ignore due to the raucous sound the creation of this meal creates as metal plates make short work of Godamba roti slices. Spicy and usually made using a plethora of vegetable and meat leftovers, Kottu is a dish of Tamil origin that has evolved over the decades to become a truly local delicacy. Served in a plethora of flavours, egg, chicken and fish kottu are sold in nearly every restaurant in the country. Cheese kottu is one of the newest variations of this highly popular dinner time staple.



Also known as Hoppers, the crispy pancake is a favourite breakfast and dinner meal option for locals. Rice flour, salt, yeast and coconut milk are mixed together to create the batter for this dish which is like an inflated crepe. Egg hoppers are a variant of regular hoppers when a bull's eye egg is dropped into the middle of the skillet while the pancake is cooking. The Water Garden Sigiriya Hotel restaurant and countless other Sigiriya restaurants also feature hoppers on their buffet menus.



As a colonial fusion dish that's part of the country's Dutch-burger heritage, this lunch time staple is cooked and served in a banana leaf which is baked to perfection with the contents of the rice dish still inside. Yellow rice and a host of classic Lamprais side dishes including a fish cutlet, onion sambol, friend boiled eggs and fried ash plantains make up this delectable dish which is cooked twice over. Colombo is home to several Lamprais hubs which vie for the favour of local diners but the best version of this dish is found at the VOC Cafe.


Malu Ambul Thiyal

This sour fish curry dish is one of the most delicious local curries available in Sri Lanka. The unique taste of this dark hued tuna curry is attributed to the Gamboge heavy spice mixture that the fish is soaked in prior to being cooked. The tangy flavour is so prominent that some diners may find it is difficult to consume the dish with rice without a dhal curry providing the right balance of flavours.


Wambatu Moju

Eggplant pickle has never tasted quite as delicious as this Sri Lankan salad which throws fried eggplants together with onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic, vinegar and sugar. With a flavour that's sweet, sour and spicy all at once, Wambatu Moju is the best accompaniment to rice in the local cuisine.


String Hoppers

Resembling small circular shaped noodles, string hoppers are made using rice flour and remain one of the most popular dishes in Sri Lanka. Usually served with dhal or potato curry, a fish curry or a chicken curry also go well with this light meal.

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