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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 24, 2020
Headline for Top 5 Must-Try Dishes in Sri Lanka – The Flavours of Ceylon
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Must-Try Dishes in Sri Lanka – The Flavours of Ceylon

Sri Lankan cuisine is renowned for its inimitable flavour combinations and sheer variety. Whether its unique twists on classic recipes, mouth-watering delicacies or tantalizing street-food – Sri Lanka has it all. Here're 5 Sri Lankan dishes you need to try out while you're there.


Rice and Curry

If you've been around Sri Lanka enough, you'll start to notice that the people here really love their rice and curry. In essence, it is the national dish here in Sri Lanka, you can walk into any café in Colombo, a resort in Galle or the best restaurant in Nuwara Eliya, and it's safe that they have rice and curry on their menu. The key to this dish's popularity is its versatility. Rice and curry, with the curry in question almost always being dhal, is a decent enough meal in itself. However, add some meat curry or a fish sauce, some spices or a helping of chutney. Simply put, you can try out a whole array of combinations with the default rice and curry dish. If you want to experience rice and curry like a Sri Lankan does, set aside your knife and fork and dig in using your right hand!



Lamprais is a perfect example of how Sri Lankan cuisine has been influenced by the myriad of cultures that inhabit the island. This dish is a hallmark of the Sri Lankan Burgher community. The name lamprais are a combination of the two Dutch words for "lump" and "rice". In essence, this is a combination of meat, rice and sambal that is wrapped up in a banana leaf and steamed. A variety of different spices are used to enhance the flavour of the dish and to give it a delectable aroma. These include Sri Lankan favourites like cinnamon, clove and cardamom. Be sure to order this delectable treat if you're having lunch at one of the prominent restaurants found in Sri Lanka, for example, the Galway Heights.



If you're pining to have an authentic Sri Lankan breakfast, be sure to order yourself some hoppers. These are essentially Sri Lanka's take on the pancake – they are a bowl-shaped mix of rice flour and coconut milk. Hopper is best enjoyed with spicy sambal or classic dhal curry. You can even up your hopper game by ordering some hearty egg hoppers.


Milk Rice

Milk rice is essentially rice that's cooked with coconut milk. The thick milk gives the rice a creamy consistency as well as a soft and chewy texture. Milk rice is often served up during auspicious times and celebrations – from weddings to birthdays. It is often served alongside spicy sambal or with some trusty dhal.



Kottu is the premier of Sri Lankan street food. Kottu is made up of chopped flatbread that's mixed in with a variety of meat and vegetables. Often it is served lathered is different sauces and gooey cheese. As evening falls, all along Sri Lanka's streets, you'll find vendors endlessly chopping up and mixing kottu – be sure to taste some of it!

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