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Updated by Fritzjames Stephen on Apr 10, 2015
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Sri Lanka's best Street Food - Sri Lanka's Finest Street Bites

As one of Asia's true blue food havens Sri Lankan cuisine is best enjoyed when served by street side vendors. From crispy hoppers to spicy kottu the choices are endless in this culinary heartland.



In the culinary quagmire of Sri Lankan street food there's no food quite as ubiquitous as the humble Roti. Different from the Indian version of this staple breakfast meal food stalls across Sri Lanka (especially in capital Colombo and seaside hubs the likes of Hikkaduwa) lay claim to their own variety of Roti. Resembling a pancake in every aspect except taste and texture the roti is both a dessert as well as a breakfast dish. A flat bread made with coconut shavings a Roti is typically consumed with a spicy sambol made of chilli flakes, onions and lime juice but the Roti can also serve as a scrumptious dessert when consumed with chocolate sauce or fruits such as bananas. Affordable and omnipresent this cross between a pizza and a pancake is a must-try when touring Sri Lanka.



Synonymous with the rhythmic clatter of steel plates the preparation of this beloved dish creates, a plate of Kottu is a must-enjoy culinary experience in Sri Lanka. Made of shredded Godamba Rotis that are infused with every conceivable variety of meat and vegetables available what gives this delectable street food its flavour is the special mix of spices tossed in to the hot pan during the frying process. Available through street stalls and small cafes across the island this favourite dinner dish is best consumed with a bottle of Ginger Beer. Popular Kottu varieties include Egg Kottu, Chicken Kottu and String Hopper Biriyani Kottu while new additions to local menus include Cheese Kottu as well.



Crispy and delectable hoppers are another hot favourite among Sri Lankan street food lovers. Round shaped and made from a wheat or rice flour batter that is poured in to a hot round shaped skillet hoppers come in several varieties. The egg hopper is a tried and true icon in the local food scene as a bull's eye egg is incorporated in to this popular breakfast dish. Honey hoppers and milk hoppers make for a delicious snack any time of the day. Consumed with coconut sambol or a spicy curry of one's choice hoppers can alternatively be consumed on their own or with a dollop of butter or sprinkling of sugar depending on one's preference. Whether one is staying in one of the plush business hotels Colombo has on offer such as Cinnamon Red Colombo or vacationing on a budget in a small guest house in the capital one is never too far away from a hopper stand.


Short Eats

Confusing many a tourist with its curious name, short eats are a Sri Lankan specialty. Used to describe fried foods of every imaginable variety the term "short eats" broadly refers to a plethora of baked or fried bakery items. From crispy batter fried fish rolls to piping hot patties, the "short eats" sold in most Sri Lankan bakeries make ideal breakfast or snack options for commuters and travellers. The humble fish bun and Seeni Sambol buns (a spicy bun with a onions and a Maldives fish sauté filling) are local favourites along with sweeter alternatives such as the Kimbula Bun (which literally translates to Crocodile Bun, a simple sweet flavoured croissant like bun topped with sugar made in the shape of a crock) are also popular among locals as tea time accompaniments.


Spicy Fruit

The tropical climate of the island means fresh fruit is available all year round and Sri Lankans like to consume their favourite fruits in the manner they consume most of their meals, with a good helping of spices. Spicy fruits are a sold in make-shift stalls and mobile kiosks near tourist hotspots across the capital and the country at large. Dubbed "Achcharu" in the local tongue must-try spicy fruit items include Mango Achcharu, Pineapple Achcharu and Amberella Achcharu. Made by slicing the fruits thinly and sprinkling a concoction made of salt, chilli powder, pepper and toddy vinegar these mouth-watering treats are available at all hours of the day and prepared fresh.