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A Guide to Sri Lankan Cuisine & Restaurants

6 mins. read

Sri Lanka is one of those countries in the world that has magnificent views backed by an enthralling history. Every now and then, travel guides in Sri Lanka speak about the plethora of places that the country houses. Right from adventurous activities to romantic outings, there are a lot of things to do in Sri Lanka. However, no trip is ever completed without getting a taste of the local food, and in the case of Sri Lanka, the variety of lip-smacking and diverse.

Sri Lankan cuisine is inspired by many historical and cultural factors. With foreign traders setting down in the country, a lot of new food recipes have been inculcated in its cuisine. That being said, the country’s ethnic groups have also helped in shaping the cuisine of Sri Lanka to a great extent. This is especially true for the South Indian dishes have widely found its base in the country’s cuisine. These are Indian restaurants as well in Sri Lanka that have an indigenous take on many popular delicacies.

Without further ado, here are the top 6 dishes from the Sri Lankan cuisine that you must definitely try if you are visiting the country:

1. Lamprais

A dish influenced by the Dutch Burgher community, Lamprais is a famous food in Sri Lanka that is made out of meat, rice, and sambol chilli sauce. The combination of these three ingredients is then wrapped into a banana leaf packet and steamed. Along with these, two frikkadels (Dutch-style beef balls), belachan (shrimp paste), and vegetables like ash plantain (raw bananas) or brinjals are also steamed in the packet.

The rice is pre-cooked with meat broth and infused with spices like cardamom, clove, and cinnamon. The meat usually depends upon your choice and can be either pork, lamb, or beef. Apart from these, you can also find chicken and egg Lamprais packet. Many popular Sri Lankan restaurants that offer a delicious plate of the lip-smacking Lamprais so don’t worry as there won’t be any dearth of options!

2. Polos

The fragrance of jackfruit can be enticing. The green (young) jackfruit doesn’t lag either. Often touted as the vegetarian’s chicken, green jackfruit curry is a supreme delicacy in Sri Lanka. First, the jackfruit is cut into a bite-size chunk of pieces and boiled until it is soft. After this, it is cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, and other spices like mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder, and so on. The dish is seasoned with curry and pandan leaves and coconut milk is added at the final step; this intensifies the flavour of jackfruit even more. Polos is, no doubt, one of the best Sri Lankan foods that you must try.

3. Gotu Kola Sambol

Yet another famous food in Sri Lanka is Gotu Kola Sambol. Also known as the Pennywort Salad, it is one of those instant green dishes available in Sri Lanka. Gotu Kola in English is known as Asiatic Pennywort which is a medicinal herb in Asia. Shredded into slivers and combines with shallots, tomatoes, freshly grated coconut, chilli, and is seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice dressing. It is an amazing herbaceous flavour and is usually served as a side dish with curry and rice. This dish is one of the most popular dishes in all the Sri Lankan restaurants.

4. Hoppers

Sri Lanka is also one the front foot when it comes to street food. ‘Hoppers’, the Sri Lankan version of a pancake is one of the most famous street foods of Sri Lanka. It is made from a slightly fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk along with a little bit of sugar. Once the batter is ready and fermented, a ladle of it is fried and swirled around to make it even. That being said, even salted hoppers are made and one of the local favourites is the egg hoppers, which is garnished with some onion, chillies, lemon juice, and salt. Hoppers are a must-have if you are in Sri Lanka.

5. Kukul Mas Curry

Sounds fancy, right? Well, it is chicken curry with a dash of Sri Lankan taste. Though the Kukul Mas Curry has a few variations depending upon the region and taste preferences, it is one of the best Sri Lankan foods that one must try. Well, you must be wondering what’s so special about this chicken curry, isn’t it? Here, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom are first sautéed in hot oil and then mixed with the chicken. Apart from the normal spices, curry powder, lemongrass, curry and pandan leaves are also used to season the gravy. Here, instead of water, coconut milk is used to make a rich gravy base. The Kukul Mas Curry is one of the best dishes that restaurants in Sri Lanka.

6. Aasmi

Now, every country has a special sweet dish and so does Sri Lanka. One of the finger-licking sweet dishes that Sri Lankan restaurants serve is Aasmi. Made with a batter of rice flour and coconut milk along with a little bit of cinnamon leaf juice, it is a sweet that easily melts in your mouth. The batter is poured on hot oil with the help of a coconut shell which has holes all over to make a web-like design. The sweet is served with thick sugary syrup, and the taste is just rasavat! (Delicious in Sinhala)

Apart from these six recommendations, don’t forget to try the Kottu, Konde Kavum, and Saravita and Coconuts, to name a few. With such mouth-watering dishes on the list, you have a lot more to look forward to on your Sri Lanka tour package – explore the country to feed your wanderlust and gorge on the delicious food to satiate the gastronome in you!

February 24, 2020


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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