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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for The Best Street Food Dishes to Try in Colombo - Here’s what you should look out for!
Joanna James Joanna James
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The Best Street Food Dishes to Try in Colombo - Here’s what you should look out for!

The streets of Colombo have some very interesting food options. As the night begins to descend, these tasty treats will be available in most streetside shops, roadside vendors and food carts. Don't forgo these dishes if you want a real glimpse of Lankan street food!



Hoppers, locally called 'appa', are bowl-like crispy crepes with a soft centre. It is made from a fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk and salt. It is a hot favourite at breakfast and dinner, and a popular feature in street food joints. An egg hopper is where an egg is cooked inside the batter. There is also a dessert variety, called pani appa, where melted kithul jaggery (palm sugar) is added to the batter. This results in a lovely brown shade and a rich caramelly aftertaste. Hoppers are accompanied by condiments and curries, like pol sambol, lunu miris (spicy onion sambol), seeni sambol (spicy caramelised fried onions), and a curry like chicken, fish, or potato. This widespread dish can be enjoyed at the best restaurants in Colombo offered by the likes of Mandarina Colombo.


Kottu roti

When out and about at night and wondering what to eat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, look no further than the tasty kottu roti! When nighttime rolls in, the sound of the kottu chefs at work reverberates along Colombo's busy streets. Shredded roti gets mixed with vegetables, eggs, curry sauce and a protein like chicken. The ingredients get a thorough mix with the help of two metal shards. Kottu gets served with an additional helping of a spicy curry, which should be drenched in the kottu before eating it. Don't forget to pair it with an ice-cold Elephant House Ginger Beer to wash it all down!



Vadai is a popular deep-fried snack made from orid flour and takes on the appearance of a doughnut. The crispy and savoury vadai is eaten with a coconut chutney made from fresh coconut and green chillies. Other popular variants include parippu vadai, made from lentils and isso vadai, where the fried lentil patty gets topped off with a prawn. Isso vadai is a famous snack for those who frequent the Galle Face Green, where food carts sell this tasty snack in abundance.


Godamba roti

There are several types of roti to be found in Colombo food carts and shops. One is the godamba plain roti, made from wheat flour and oil. It is stretched to resemble flat bread and eaten with curries. Egg roti, is where the stretched roti gets cooked with an egg in the middle. There is also the stuffed roti, the most famous being the vegetable variety. The same flatbread gets stuffed with a spicy potato mixture, shaped into a triangle and cooked on a hot girdle.


Fried Manioc chips/achcharu

Cassava chips, also known as manioc, make for a great snack when out and about in the streets of Colombo. Cassava chips are freshly grated and deep fried and sold in little bags with a sprinkling of chilli powder and salt. Vendors will also feature other snacks, like, boiled and fried chickpeas and achcharu (fruits like mango, wood apple and pineapple mixed with vinegar, salt and pepper).

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