Sri Lanka’s food culture was born after years of colonisation and influence from other countries. The cuisine may seem similar to South Indian cuisines but it has created a presence of its own. Much preferred by those who thoroughly enjoy a lot of spice in food, every bite of Sri Lankan food causes explosion of flavours in the mouth.
Do note that the best eats in this country are deep-fried or tempered with a lot of oil and condiments. The street eats in particular are crisp and dangerously addictive. The curries are made in coconut milk making rice its perfect partner on the plate.
My favourite treats on this beautiful island nation include:
- Cassava Chips
Keeping up with the love for street food, lighter-than-air cassava chips are a great snack to munch on while strolling down the road. I had the best variety near the famous snacking paradise, Galle Face Green in Colombo. Sprinkled with just the right amount of salt, you will find yourself buying one packet after the other. No one can eat just one.
- Vegetarian Kothu
Roti or flatbread chopped up with the curry of your choice in vegetable, chicken, fish, prawn, and beef is a sumptuous treat. Vegetarian was my favourite due to its crunch factor. It is hypnotising to watch the street vendors prepping up your meal, working as seamlessly as at a live teppanyaki bar! If you are staying at any of the hotels in Rajagiriya, I recommend heading down to Chop Chop Kottu in Cinnamon Gardens. The service was amiable and they also customised the spiciness of the Kothu mix as per my preference.
- Hoppers with Eggs/Sambol
A breakfast item that was an absolute delight, hoppers were refreshing and flavourful. A take on the steamed appams from Tamil Nadu, hopper is a pancake served with eggs in the middle and crisp edges. Hoppers are served in the evening with pol sambol and chutneys. I had the best hoppers at Green Cabin in Nuwala, Colombo. Don’t miss out on this place if you’re in the capital city.
- Dhal Curry and Rice
Among the spicy curries and its preparations, the simplicity of the dhal curry and rice struck me in a pleasant way. It was the perfect break from the fiery fried snacks and treats. When staying in any of the Habarana hotels, order in this dish with some wambatu moju (brinjal based pickle) for lunch. There are fewer eating out options in and Habarana so sit back and relax indoors with this delicacy.
One should always end their meals with a dessert. Watalappam is a perfect way to end your Sri Lankan meal. Made with coconut milk, eggs, jaggery, and spiked with cardamom and nutmeg, the dessert is the perfect way to end your meal with, soothing your tongue with its creamy sweetness after having all that spicy food. Blue Water Hotel in Wadduwa should be your pit stop for this indulgence – their buffet spread is a must try for the same.