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Our Pick of Best Sri Lankan Food

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Sri Lankan food packs in a lot of oomph for a country of its size! The food reflects the richness of the land and the sea and the availability of fresh ingredients. Fish, sea food, vegetables, lentils, rice, bread make for a wholesome and delicious meal. Use of fresh coconut is widespread and adds the tropical vibe to the dishes. And like most tropical countries, Sri-Lanka has its own love affair with street food, and boasts of a good selection of golden and crispy goodies!!

Here are the top 12 dishes we have tried and loved during our trip to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Rice and Curry

1. Sri Lankan Rice and Curry:

Undoubtedly the national dish of Sri Lanka and widely consumed across the length and breadth of the country, the Sri Lankan rice and curry dish is is nutritious and wholesome. White plain rice takes centre-stage, with an array of vegetable, chicken, fish curries surrounding it. Some poppadum and sambal add the necessary crunch and punch!

Sri Lankan Egg Rolls

2. Egg Roll:

This popular and spicy street food of Sri Lanka is made with fish flakes (tuna mainly), mashed potatoes and a quarter of a boiled egg. All of the ingredients are wrapped in a thin pancake, rolled in bread-crumbs and deep fried till crispy and golden. We tried this at quite a few places in Sri Lanka, but the one from the restaurant ‘A Minute by Tuktuk’ in Galle fort area won hands down.

Mutton Rolls

3. Mutton Roll:

Similar to egg roll, this is also a very famous street food of Sri Lanka. Made with minced mutton (goat meat) in a spicy potato mash, then wrapped in a thin pancake, rolled in bread -crumbs and deep fried till crispy and golden. Best enjoyed when served hot.

Sri Lankan Fish Patties

4. Fish Patties:

These deep fried parcels are popular street food favourites. The spicy filling of mashed potato and fish wrapped in a flaky outer crust is best enjoyed when served hot. Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon are commonly used in fish patties.

Sea Food Platter

5. Sea Food Platter:

Being surrounded by ocean also means bountiful sea food! A good selection of fish is available-in addition to lobsters, prawns, squids, mussels crabs etc. A typical platter is a combination of a selection of these either grilled or deep fried in a batter. Fresh ingredients and simple cooking always keeps the taste of the sea alive and goes a long way in creating a delectable platter.

Sri Lankan Shrimp Curry

6. Sri Lankan Shrimp Curry:

Shrimps are cooked in a curry made from ingredients like chopped onions, chilli, ginger, garlic, tomato and a mixture of spices including turmeric, cumin, curry powder and coconut milk. The richness and the depth of flavour in the curry comes from the shrimp heads which are first cooked along with the spices before the other ingredients are added in. Usually served with rice, but the version we ate was accompanied with Paan - Sri Lankan bread. 

Egg Kottu

7. Egg Kottu:

Kottu or Kottu roti is a popular street food in Sri Lanka which is eaten throughout the day. The main ingredient of this dish is Sri Lankan godamba roti (fried flat bread made from thin dough). The godamba roti is shredded or chopped into small pieces and fried with spices and vegetables like spring onions, onions, carrot, green beans, cabbage. Egg or small pieces of chicken can be added to make egg kottu or chicken kottu.

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry (Kukul Mas Curry)

8. Sri Lankan Chicken Curry (kukul mas curry):

This is a traditional coconut milk based chicken curry part of Sinhalese cuisine. The chicken is slow cooked in clay pot which gives the earthy flavour to the dish and adding depth to the flavour. Served hot with plain rice.

Sri Lankan Daal Curry (Parippu) and Yellow Rice (Kaha Bath)

9. Sri Lankan Daal (Parippu):

This is the staple dish in Sri Lankan cuisine and eaten with rice, roti or paratha. The red lentils are cooked with a mix of spices like turmeric, cumin, chilli powder and a splash of coconut milk and pandan leaves. The level of spiciness varies from place to place.

10. Yellow Rice (Kaha Bath):

Yellow rice or Kaha Bath is widely consumed throughout Sri Lanka. The speciality of this rice dish is the rich aroma and flavour that comes from the use of whole spices like cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom and the use of pandan leaves. Kaha bath is eaten with parippu and all types of vegetarian, fish and chicken curry.

Coconut Roti (Pol Roti) and Parippu

11. Coconut Roti (Pol Roti):

Pol roti is a popular street food and breakfast dish which is eaten with Parippu (daal/lentils) and onion/chilli sambal. These rustic yet soft and fluffy flat breads are made flour grated coconut, onion and green chilli.

Egg Hoppers (Appa) and Sambol

12. Egg Hoppers (Appa):

Appa is a popular and iconic breakfast dish from Sri Lanka. The hopper a thin pancake made from a thin batter of rice flower and coconut milk and cooked in a special small but deep round bottom pan. Once poured, the pan is rotated to spread batter into a uniform thin layer. An egg is then cracked inside the hopper. The resulting dish is basket shaped pancake with crispy edges but soft inside and lightly cooked egg yolk resting inside. The egg hoppers and best enjoyed with chilli and onion sambal.

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