Sri Lanka has a distinct cuisine, which reflects the country’s rich cultural and culinary heritage. Sri Lankan food is heavily influenced by Indonesian and Indian culinary elements, along with highlights from Portuguese, Dutch, Malayan, Arabian and British cuisines. Local ingredients of rice, coconut, spices, and herbs form the base of a typical Sri Lankan food platter. Sri Lankan cuisine is generally spicy, aromatic, and unbelievably flavoursome.
Any visit to Sri Lanka is incomplete without tasting the delicious culinary specialities of this amazing Indian Ocean island. Holidayme presents 10 delicious and must-try foods of Sri Lanka!
Fish Ambul Thiyal
The classic sour fish curry of Sri Lanka is a fiery combo of fish cut into cubes, sautéed in a blend of spices (black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic and curry leaves) and infused with dried goraka, a small fruit that adds the sour flavour. Fish lovers must try this delicious Sri Lankan food.
Sri Lanka’s favourite fast food, Kottu, is a delightful dish comprising of shredded roti cooked with finely chopped vegetables, egg and/or meat, and spices, served with curry sauce. One of the best dishes of Sri Lankan cuisine, Kottu is widely available across the length and breadth of the country.
Kukul Mas Curry
Kukul Mas Curry is the good old Sri Lankan chicken curry, prepared using coconut milk as the base of the curry. The chicken is cooked with fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks and infused with spices like chilli powder, curry powder, turmeric, pandan leaves, lemongrass and curry leaves. The delicious tomato and coconut gravy are added and stewed for an hour to settle the flavours. Sri Lankan food experience is incomplete with tasting Kukul Mas Curry.
Parippu is also known as dal curry and is commonly available across the length and breadth of the country. This dish can be cooked using Masoor dal (red lentils), split chana dal or Toor dal, which is boiled and later sautéed with onions, tomatoes, chillies, cumin seeds, turmeric, fenugreek, mustard seeds, chilli powder, and curry leaves. Coconut milk is added to increase the creaminess and thickness of the dal. Parippu is an all-time classic Sri Lankan food meal.
Lamprais is a Dutch culinary legacy that combines meat, rice and sambol chilli sauce, wrapped in a banana leaf parcel, and steamed till fully cooked. The rice can be cooked with different meats like beef, lamb, chicken and eggs, infused with plenty of spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. One of the cultural heritage of Sri Lankan food, Lamprais is a delightful culinary speciality.
Hoppers are the Sri Lankan version of pancakes. The batter is made of fermented rice flour, coconut milk and sugar, fired in a small wok, and served with lunu miris (a sambol of onion), chillies, lemon juice and salt.
Polos is Sri Lankan curry prepared with green jackfruit. The fruit is sliced into small chunks and boiled till it becomes soft. It is then cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, turmeric, chilli powder, curry powder, pandan leaves and curry leaves. Coconut milk is added and simmered well before serving.
Wambatu Moju is a delightful eggplant pickle mostly served with rice. Eggplants are cut into small sizes and deep fried, further caramelised with sugar, vinegar, red onions, green chillies, mustard seeds, chilli powder and turmeric powder. The pickle is soft, juicy, and sweet in taste.
Pol Sambol is a Sri Lankan side dish made of fresh coconut grated with red onions, dried whole chillies, lime juice, and salt. The ingredients are diced or grounded and served as accompaniments to rice, roti and other gravies. Pol Sambol is one of the most popular side dishes of Sri Lankan food.
Gotu Kola Sambol
Gotu Kola, also known as ‘Asiatic pennywort’, a medicinal herb which is finely shredded and combined with shallots, tomatoes, onions, grated coconut and chili. This mixture is then seasoned with a dressing of salt, pepper, and lemon juice, to create a delightful sambol, which is best savoured with rice, roti and curries.