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Updated by Joanna James on May 17, 2020
Headline for The Best Dishes to Eat in Sri Lanka – Treat Your Taste Buds!
Joanna James Joanna James
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The Best Dishes to Eat in Sri Lanka – Treat Your Taste Buds!

For the complete Sri Lankan experience, definitely look to savour its flavour-filled cuisine too. Here are just some of the many dishes you should try on your culinary adventures in the island.


Kottu Roti

An all-time street food favourite, kottu roti is something Sri Lankans love. Part of the experience is getting to see (and hear!) this meal being prepared. It involves godamba roti (a kind of flatbread) being rhythmically chopped up on a metal frying surface and mixed with a variety of ingredients; these include various meats, veggies and spices that combine to offer a heavenly dish.



Consisting of ingredients like coconut milk and rice flour, hoppers are likened somewhat to pancakes. However, while the base of the hopper is similar, it also has a unique element of being shaped like a bowl with the sides being crispy! A version of this called the egg hopper has a fried egg in the middle, while you also get a sweet version too.



Kiribath or milk rice is part of the traditional cuisine in Sri Lanka and is a popular dish served at homes as well as local hotels such as Earl's Regency. Symbolising new beginnings, it is often made on special occasions especially during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April. For its preparation, coconut milk and rice are used and it is generally eaten with a spicy chilli paste called lunumiris and with curries too.


Curries (with Meats)

When it comes to perfect pairings, rice is ideally matched with some spicy Sri Lankan curry! Be it at eateries in Colombo or the best restaurants in Kandy, flavour-filled curries are made in various ways. Typically, meats like chicken, fish, pork, beef and mutton are used for curries but so too are prawns, crabs and cuttlefish. The traditional curry features chillies and various spices and the thick gravy is part of its allure.


Dhal Curry

While rice and chicken curry are a divine combo, not to be forgotten is dhal curry which makes a meal even better; in this instance, three is not a crowd! "Parippu" is the local term given for the dhal or red lentils used and Sri Lankans love this dish which has a rich stew-like consistency; it goes well with not only rice but bread and wheat flour-based dishes too.


Gotukola Sambol

For those who love salads, this dish if a fresh and nutritious treat. Asiatic pennywort is what locals refer to as "gotukola" and this green leafy vegetable is the star of this dish. It is eaten raw but not before it is chopped up finely and mixed with ingredients like red onions, grated coconut and some other spices along with a dash of lime.


Pol Sambol

Last but by no means least, is the humble pol sambal which is a simple dish but which can take the experience of eating Sri Lankan food to new heights! This sambol is made using coconut or "pol" which is grated and mixed with red onions, chilli powder, lime and salt; it's easy to make and adds a spicy "kick" to a meal.

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