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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Top 07 Must-Try Foods in Sri Lanka – A True Culinary Treat
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 07 Must-Try Foods in Sri Lanka – A True Culinary Treat

If you are a foodie looking to introduce your taste buds to divine new flavours, then Sri Lankan cuisine is for you! Of course, the best place to enjoy the authentic taste of these dishes is in the country itself which is why you should go on holiday there soon. Here are some of the top dishes to try.


Kottu Roti

Arguably the king of street food in Sri Lanka, kottu roti is a flavour-laden dish that is not to be missed. Those who haven't tried it before should visit street stalls to see how it's made too; the process involves rhythmically chopping up godamba roti with two metal blades on a flat grill while mixing in meat, veggies and various spices. Tip: ask for the addition of cheese which makes it yummier!



Most food guides tend to refer to hoppers as a kind of pancake, but that is only half the story. Yes, the base of this dish is like a pancake, but it is in fact, shaped like a bowl with the sides being thin and crispy. It is made with rice flour and popular variations include the egg hopper which has a golden yolk fried egg in the centre.


Rice & Curry

No culinary tour is complete without sampling rice and curry be it at roadside eateries or Negombo hotels. Rice is a staple and there is a huge range of curries to choose from be it meat or veggie dishes. Look to stay at properties the likes of Amagi Aria which serve a variety of options including chicken, black pork, tempered prawn, mutton and white fish curry.


Polos Curry

The versatile jackfruit is used to make this dish which is another local favourite. "Polos" is the name given to the young jackfruit that is used to make this curry which when cooked, has a remarkably meaty texture to it. It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans to add to their meals and is typically eaten with rice and other curries.


Ambul Thiyal

The word "ambul" translates to "sour" which is a signature part of this dish that is made with fish be it from the ocean or a lake. The characteristic sour taste comes from the use of a black sticky paste called "goraka" (brindleberry) which helps to preserve the fish. Generally, this dish is a bit dry and is best eaten with rice and curries which have more gravy.


Pol Sambol

Made from grated coconut, the humble "pol sambol" is a great addition to any meal and is relatively simple to make. The grated coconut is mixed with ingredients like onions, chilli powder and lime juice; variations include the addition of Maldive fish. You can enjoy it with rice, bread and just about any main dish!


Buffalo Curd

A much-loved Sri Lankan dessert, fresh curd made from buffalo milk is not to be missed either. It is similar to yoghurt though is a bit sourer; this sourness is perfectly balanced with sweet kithul palm treacle that is generously poured on top. When trying it, look to buy buffalo curd sold in traditional clay pots which add to the flavour.

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