Sri Lankan Food: 40 of the Island’s Best Dishes

Platter of Sri Lankan Food

Platter of Sri Lankan Food

Though Sri Lankan food has parallels to South Indian food, yet it remains distinctly its own form of cuisine.

Throughout years of colonization and influence from other countries, Sri Lanka has adapted its food culture into a blend of different curry concoctions and tasty dishes.

A few things about Sri Lankan food can be said with certainty: Sri Lankans thoroughly love spices, they love food that explodes with flavor, and many enjoy deep fried, and very tasty, snacks. Whatever you choose to eat in Sri Lanka, your mouth is going to rejoice with happiness.

Sri Lanka, being an island with a tropical climate, coconuts and fish are two of the most influential components of Sri Lankan cuisine. Fish is made into curries, and coconut in some form or another, is a dominant ingredient in cooking.

Rice and curry is the Sri Lankan staple, though various kinds of bread, both roti style flatbreads and even loaves of bread, are very common.

Go ahead and grab yourself a paratha and sit back to check out these 40 foods you can’t miss when you’re in Sri Lanka!

Sri Lankan Fish Curry and Rice

Fish Curry and Mixed Rice

1. Fish Curry and Mixed Rice

There’s nothing more common to eat as Sri Lankan food than a nutritious plate of rice and curry. You normally get a plate of rice piled with a few of the daily vegetable curries and a choice of fish curry as well.

A plate like the one above cost me 120 LKR ($1.09), but without fish it would have even been less.

Sri Lankan Fish Curry

Deviled Sweet and Sour Fish Curry

2. Deviled Sweet and Sour Fish Curry

There are a lot of different deviled dishes in Sri Lanka. This fish was deep fried and smothered in a lovely sweet and sour sauce and lightly fried again with red onions and banana peppers. It was excellent with fried rice and a flatbread paratha on the side.

Fish Curry - Sri Lanka

Chili Fish Curry

3. Chili Fish Curry

This particular fish curry in Sri Lanka reminded me of the Burmese food curry that I also highly enjoyed, except it was often a bit heavier on the spice blend, which I loved.

The fish curry in Sri Lanka was extremely fragrant, oily, and the sauce was marvelous with a giant plate of rice.

Daal Curry - Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Daal Curry

4. Sri Lankan Dhal Curry (Parippu)

Dhal curry is one of the most commonly consumed staple dishes in Sri Lankan cuisine.

The dhal, usually masoor dhal which are red lentils, are often cooked in a beautiful blend of spices, and then a few spoons of coconut milk are added to create a rich stew.

Dhal curry is omnipresent in Sri Lanka, and it’s consumed with all forms of rice and bread.

Jackfruit Curry - Sri Lanka

Jackfruit Curry

5. Young Jackfruit Curry (Polos)

Sri Lankan food is famous for its curries – and “polos“, or young jackfruit curry, is one of my personal favorites.

Jackfruit is eaten in a number of different ripeness stages in Sri Lanka, but for preparing polos, the young, unripe jackfruit is used. The fruit is cut into chunks and simmered in a blend of rich spices.

This particular version (brown dish above) was so delicious, I couldn’t stop eating it. The pieces of jackfruit were tender, and tasted almost like a juicier version of a potato, and they were filled with the beautiful flavor spices.

Polos is so good, it could almost pass for chunks of tender beef!

Sri Lankan food

Gotukola Sambol

6. Gotukola Sambol (Pennywort Salad)

Green leafy vegetables aren’t the most common thing to eat in Sri Lanka, though the cooking does call for many tuberous vegetables. But anyway, since I love green veggies, I ate a dish known as Gotukola Sambol, frequently during my visit.

Gotukola is the word for Asiatic pennywort, a small leafy green vegetable that’s common throughout southeast Asia. Sambol is the word used to describe a dish or garnish that prepared and eaten using raw ingredients. So gotukola sambol is a basically Sri Lankan salad garnish.

The gotukola is first sliced very finely, then mixed with grated coconut meat, red onions, and a few extra spices for seasoning. Asiatic pennywort has a very green flavor, I think it can be compared to the green flavor of kale, and it’s refreshing and crisp.

I think I could call it the Middle Eastern tabbouleh of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Food

Sri Lankan Beetroot Curry

7. Beetroot Curry

A plate of Sri Lankan curry and rice is complete only when a nice helping of beetroot curry is included! No that’s not really true, you can have a plate of curry without beetroot. However, when I was traveling in Sri Lanka, I came to love the beetroot curry – it’s such a wonderful dish.

The beets are diced up before being cooked to death with a number of spices including cinnamon and curry leaves. The beets are nice and soft, and rich in flavor.

Throughout the duration of my stay, I just couldn’t get enough of this blood red vegetable, that tastes so good with other curries.

Vegetable Kottu - Sri Lanka

Vegetarian Kottu

8. Vegetarian Kottu

An extremely popular Sri Lankan street food dish is known as kottu or kottu roti.

Essentially it is composed of shredded pieces of Sri Lankan godamba roti, which is sort of like a giant sized paratha (an oily fried piece of thin dough), that is stir fried with an assortment of spices and a choice of other meaty (or vegetarian) ingredients.

Kottu roti is sort of like the “hamburger” of Sri Lanka, something that’s so tasty, available as a fast meal, and it’s basically nearly impossible to resist.

To take things even to the next level, kottu is usually served with a separate bowl of curry sauce, used to moisten and add extra flavor to the stir fried flatbread.

Egg Kottu in Sri Lanka

Egg Kottu

9. Egg Kottu

Another variation of kottu is with vegetables and egg – a very good combo, one of my particular favorite variations of the dish.

The vegetables include a few meager sprigs of leek, onions, and cabbage, and the sizzling godamba roti is lathered with egg to make it even richer…and more delicious.

The egg adds some extra protein, which is always a good thing.

Cheese Kottu - Sri Lanka

Cheese Kottu

10. Cheese Kottu

If vegetarian kottu is the hamburger of Sri Lanka, cheese kottu is the quadruple bacon cheeseburger.

Yellow curry powder flavor is bumped up a few notches with cheese kottu and it’s a Sri Lankan food that you just can’t miss. The cheese is not traditional yellow cheese, but rather more like cottage milk cheese.

Check out this VIDEO of Kottu being cooked!

(If you can’t see the video, watch it here:

Pretty cool song…yah?

Sri Lankan Rice and Curry

Fried Salted Fish

11. Fried Salted Fish

Little fried and salted fish are a lovely addition to Sri Lankan food. Unlike saucy curry, little fish are heavily salted and deep fried so they are crunchy. Their texture and flavor goes well with a plate of vegetarian curry and rice.

Also, Maldive fish are a popular ingredient for Sri Lankan dishes. The little salted fish are included in a range of different sambol chili sauces and they are often included in lunu miris, an onion chili sauce that goest with all sorts of Sri Lankan dishes.

Sri Lankan Deep Fried Chicken Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Fried Rice

12. Deep Fried Chicken Fried Rice

If only more countries in the world knew about fried chicken fried rice, it would be integrated into cuisines around the world…guaranteed.

I don’t think there’s much need for explanation; Take fried chicken and make fried rice with it.

Sri Lankan Vegetable Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice

13. Egg Fried Rice

Though it’s made in a wok and looks like an item off a Chinese or Thai street food menu, Sri Lankan fried rice still tastes like Sri Lankan food.

It could be the assortment of ingredients or the hint of cumin that accompanies the rice. Nevertheless, a number of Chinese influenced dishes remain popular as Sri Lakan food staples.

Sri Lankan Rice and Curry

Brinjal Eggplant

14. Brinjal Eggplant (Wambatu Moju)

Though I ate many Sri Lankan dishes, the candied brinjal eggplant (black stuff towards the right) was one that I couldn’t get enough of. Though I ate it like a curry when I was in Sri Lanka, it’s actually referred to more as a pickle.

The eggplant is cooked to death with salt, oil, soy sauce, and sugar until it becomes fall apart tender and the sugar begins to caramelize. Though I’m not the biggest fan of sweet things, this eggplant was to die for, and I tried to eat it with every plate of rice and curry that I had.

Chicken Curry - Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

15. Sri Lankan Chicken Curry (kukul mas curry)

I have read that Sri Lankan food is difficult to master, simply because everyone has their own variation of each dish, and previously no recipes were written; Basically no chicken curry will taste exactly the same throughout the country, everyone has their own recipe and ratio of spices and ingredients.

When I was in Pusselawa, I had the privilege to stay at a grandmother’s home in the rolling tea fields. Everyday I’d go to the market and buy some meat and she’d cook it up, tempering the spices, squeezing fresh coconut milk, and creating some of the best curries I’ve ever had in my life.

This clay pot of Grandmother’s home-made chicken curry goes down as one of the top 10 flavors that has ever entered my mouth .

Rice and Mallung - Sri Lanka

Cobra Chilies

16. Cobra Chilies

It’s not exactly a Sri Lankan food, but those innocent looking chili peppers on the plate above are far from kind.

Known as the “Cobra Chili,” these little guys were so delicious, but they nearly burnt a hole in my tongue.

Jaffna Food

Northern Sri Lankan Tamil Food

17. Sri Lankan Tamil Food (Jaffna)

Some of my favorite Sri Lankan meals were from the northern Tamil tip of Jaffna.

This outrageously tasty meal included yellow rice, an assortment of vegetable and seafood curries, a few parathas, and a number of heaping spoons full of tomato onion garnish.

If you’re ever in Jaffna, you should have a meal at Hotel Rolex – they serve some pretty tasty dishes, and the staff when I ate there were all friendly and helpful.

Sri Lankan Rice and Curry

Ela Batu Thai Eggplant Curry

18. Ela Batu (Thai Eggplant Curry)

Believe it or not, Sri Lankan food includes a dish that is quite similar to Thai green curry, known as ela batu. Along with eating as much wambatu moju as I could, I also enjoyed quite a few servings of ela batu during my visit.

Thai eggplant, which are the small golf ball sized eggplants, are used in the dish, plus a similar, but uniquely Sri Lankan tasting green curry sauce is what holds the dish together. It was less sweet and more spice filled than a typical Thai green curry.

Jaffna Squid Curry

Squid Curry

19. Squid Curry (Cuttlefish)

This Jaffna squid was chopped into small pieces before being fried with peppers, onions, and a spice filled tomato based sauce.

In Sri Lanka they normally call squid as cuttlefish, so when you order, usually

Candied Shrimp Curry

Candied Shrimp Curry

20. Candied Shrimp Curry

When I spotted these little blacked shrimps in the glass cabinet in Jaffna, I couldn’t pass them up. Luckily they were just as tasty as they looked, a marvelous blend of curry spices coating each and every part of the shrimp bodies.

Egg Hoppers

Egg Hoppers (Appa)

21. Egg Hoppers (Appa)

Hoppers which are also known as appa, are an iconic food of Sri Lanka.

It begins with a simple pancake batter that’s spruced up with coconut milk and a splash of toddy (Sri Lankan palm wine). The unique part is that hoppers are cooked in small “wok” like rounded pans so the dough cooks thick and soft on the bottom, and thin and crunchy around the edges.

The texture and even taste is quite similar to Ethiopian injera bread. Hoppers can be ordered plain, or even better with a fried egg in the middle.

There’s also string hoppers, which are made from a thicker rice flour based batter, squeezed into thin noodles, and then steamed. String hoppers are normally eaten for breakfast or dinner, along with a variety of different curry.

Sri Lankan Pol Sambol

Pol Sambola – Spicy Coconut Garnish

22. Pol Sambola (Spicy Coconut Relish)

This Sri Lankan food may be one of the simplest things to make, yet one of the most amazing bowls of deliciousness that Sri Lanka has contributed to the world, known as pol sambol.

It highlights the almighty coconut, a fruit that’s integral in Sri Lankan cooking. Pol salmbol is merely a mixture of shredded coconut, chili powder or dried chilies, lime juice, red onions, and salt – and believe me, every bite is like a miracle come true.

I could graze on pol sambola for hours at a time. Pol sambola is perfect to eat with bread, roti, or on top of rice, or with curry. Actually is delicious to eat with anything, or even plain by itself.

I was craving pol sambol so badly that I had to make it myself… Enjoy the video…

(If you can’t see the video, watch it on YouTube here)

Onion Sambola

Onion Sambola

23. Lunu Miris (Onion Sambol)

Along with coconut relish (pol sambol), Sri Lanka’s pounded onion and chili sauce known as lunu miris is nearly as delicious.

Luni miris is the combination of chilies, onions, salt, and occasionally a few bits of Maldive fish for extra flavor. The ingredients are ground into a chunky paste using a Sri Lankan mortar and pestle (more like a flat stone and rolling pin, as opposed to a Thai style mortar and pestle).

The result is a superb sambol chili sauce that goes well with just about everything. I loved it so much, when I was eating meals in Sri Lanka, I would normally ask for a side of lunu miris and a side of pol sambol.

Roti Protein in Sri Lanka

Roti Protein (aka Sri Lankan Chorizo)

24. Roti Protein (aka Sri Lankan Chorizo!)

This is not a common Sri Lankan food, but after devouring this burrito looking roti in Kandy I couldn’t help from including it on this list.

It was phenomenal…and though it was all soy protein, it tasted nearly identical to Mexican pork chorizo and eggs (more details on this to come).

Pittu - Sri Lankan Funnel Cake

Pittu – Flour and Coconut Funnel Cakes

25. Pittu (Flour and Coconut Funnel Cakes)

Sri Lankan pittu funnel cakes are a combination of flour (either rice of karukan), fresh shredded coconut, and a handful of desiccated coconut. The precious little cakes are traditionally steamed in bamboo, but now are sometimes steamed in circular metal tubes.

After being cooked, the crumbly textured pittu cakes are served with fresh sweetened coconut milk.

Coconut Roti and Curry - Sri Lanka

Pol Roti and Potato Curry

26. Pol Roti and Potato Curry

Roti in Sri Lanka is less greasy and more of a thick tortilla like flatbread (paratha are the greasy flat-breads).

In Sri Lanka, roti are made with freshly grated coconut, flour, water and salt. They are made into balls of dough, flattened, and then cooked on a hot griddle.

Any form of spicy curry sauce handles the task of being the dip for a delicious pol roti. I especially enjoyed eating pol roti for breakfast along with a big fresh bowl of pol sambol (coconut relish sambol).

Paratha Bread

Paratha Flatbread

27. Paratha Flatbread

What’s known as paratha in Sri Lanka is similar to a roti in Malaysian food, or an African chapati.

The greasy flaky flat-bread is melt in your mouth delicious, especially when dipped in coconut milk curry sauce. YUM.

Sri Lankan Omelet

Sri Lankan Omelet

28. Sri Lankan Omelet

Sri Lankan omelets are loaded up with local spices like cumin and curry powder and then simmered in a layer of oil coconut oil so it turns golden brown. Over a plate of rice and alongside some shredded coconut garnish, a Sri Lankan omelet is heavenly.

Uludhu Vadai

Ulundhu Vadai

29. Ulundhu Vadai

These marvelously tasty little fritters are made from daal, combined with incredible spices, and deep fried to crunchy perfection.

Cassava Chips - Sri Lanka

Cassava Chips

30. Cassava Chips

I was excited to see a giant street food cart filled with my favorite kind of junk food: cassava chips. I had enjoyed countless handfuls of cassava chips while growing up in Kenya.

50 LKR ($0.45) will get you a small paper bag of salty chips at Galle Face beach in Colombo.

Deep Fried Jackfruit Seeds - Sri Lanka

Deep Fried Jackfruit Seeds

31. Deep Fried Jackfruit Seeds

Another popular snack in Sri Lanka are deep fried jackfruit seeds. They are salted and served in small paper bags made from scrap paper.

Some of the Sri Lankan street food carts and snacks even reminded me of Egyptian street food.

Deep Fried Sri Lankan Snacks

Deep Fried Morsels

32. Deep Fried Morsels

As you may have noticed by now, though there are many vegetarian dishes, Sri Lankan food is not all that healthy.

On top of that, Sri Lanka is a country that loves their deep fried snacks. These snacky morsels of batter were heavily salty and seasoned with fried curry leaves.

Coconut Roti and Chili Flakes

Coconut Roti and Chili Salt

33. Coconut Roti and Chili Salt

This little gem of a snack was purchased on the train from Colombo to Kandy. It’s basically a little piece of coconut infused solid flat-bread topped with a marvelous flaky salty chili sauce.

It almost tasted like a Sri Lankan mini pizza.

Sri Lankan Samosas

Sri Lankan Samosas

34. Sri Lankan Samosas

From Indian food to Kenyan dishes, samosas have become a popular snack from coast to coast. Some are filled with meat, while others are vegetarian.

Fish and Vegetable Roti

Fish and Vegetable Roti

35. Fish and Vegetable Roti

The triangular looking pockets are a form of roti filled with a range of different ingredients. Fish was my preferred filling, but there were also some nice vegetarian versions available. Instead of being deep fried like samosas, triangle roti’s are just skillet fried.

Sri Lankan Short Eats

Sri Lanka Fish Cutlet Balls and Chinese Egg Rolls

36. Sri Lanka Fish Cutlet Balls and Chinese Egg Rolls

The Chinese egg rolls in Sri Lanka were so-so, but the fish cutlet balls (pictured above) were absolutely wonderful. It’s like a little grenade of fish packed into a breaded ball and deep fried.

When it comes to short eats in Sri Lanka, there’s no need to go any further than the fish cutlets – they are delicious.

Sri Lanka Curd and Syrup

Full Cream Curd and Sweet Syrup

37. Full Cream Curd and Sweet Syrup

In India, curd is often eaten with rice or mixed with something; In Sri Lanka curd is devoured drizzled with kithul treacle – syrup made from liquid jaggery.

At first this “curd” sounded a little bizarre to me, but when I tried it, I was amazed and wanted to eat more for every consecutive breakfast.

Sri Lankan curd tastes very similar to what I know as plain yoghurt. It’s creamy, slightly sour, and the sweet syrup on top makes it absolutely fantastic.

Woodapple Juice

Woodapple Juice

38. Woodapple Juice

Yup, the outer shell smells a bit like rotting blue cheese mixed with dirty socks. The inside of the fruit looks a bit like diarrhea, but tastes similar to a tamarind. But hey, as a religious fan of durian, I’m not one to judge a fruit by its shell.

Despite the looks of this wonder fruit, woodapple juice in Sri Lanka is wildly popular – and I’ll be first to admit that it tastes pretty good when it’s blended up with some sugar!

There’s nothing better to wash down Sri Lankan food with, than a big cup of woodapple juice!

King Coconut - Sri Lanka

King Coconut

39. King Coconut

No component of Sri Lankan food is more vital than that holy coconut. In Sri Lanka there are many varieties of this special fruit, including the orange colored king coconut.

These coconuts line the streets around the country and are sold just for their sweet water. Each coconut costs from 30 – 40 LKR ($0.27 – $0.36).

Milk Tea - Sri Lanka

Ceylon Milk Tea

40. Ceylon Milk Tea

Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) is one of the world’s leading producers of tea – no trip to the country would be the same without multiple cups a day.

Milk tea as well as ginger tea and plain tea are all popular and widely available choices.

Sri Lankan Food

Sri Lankan food is full of spices and exciting to the taste buds. At just an average of $1 – $2 for a giant meal, Sri Lanka is a culinary playground for sampling amazing dishes!

Have you had Sri Lankan food?

Colombo Travel Video

If you have a few minutes check out this video!

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          • Madushanka says

            Hello Mark,

            I am a software engineering student in sri lanka. I checked your web site and really happy about your sri lankan tour. I can give you some details about our traditional foods if you like to test next time. There are lot of traditional and very sweet foods and sweets in sri lanka. Reply me, if you want further details. I can mail you the details and places.

          • says

            Hey Madushanka!
            Thanks for the great comment and for checking out my site. If it’s easier, you could definitely just share the information on this article in the comments right here. I’m not sure when I’ll be traveling back to Sri Lanka again, and if you share information here, it can help everyone! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my site. Feel free to e-mail me as well –

          • Lavenia says

            I am so glad so many people like sri lankan foods. I am Tamil and i love it. My mum makes sri lankan food for a living and i love sambol too!!!!!
            But my mum sometimes makes it exxxxxtra spices. You cant hav too much so i get told off for not eating it with parotha.

        • Ajith says

          yep. you right David. he missed lump rice and string hoppers and a lot of popular dishes. anyways, thanks a lot to creating this video about my country.


          • madusanka says

            it’s ok friends all of us similar and similar culture,don’t be anger each other,some comments looks like,as the south asian we are similar,but can be some changes and differences ..they are all ok..

            thanks ajith,

            thanks mark,

    • says

      It’s hard having to sample so many foods!!! I’m doing a little bit of re-design on my site to try and improve things and also be able to go full-screen for photos. I’m going to be tweaking things a little more and hopefully making Migrationology better!

  1. says

    We love Sri Lankan food – in particular vegetarian rotis from street vendors and a big plate of rice and vegetarian curries. We loved eating home cooked food in guesthouses – always cheap and delicious.

    • says

      Great to hear that Erin! You’re right about the home cooked Sri Lankan food. The food is good in restaurants, but I had by far the best curries at a friend’s house with his mom cooking!

  2. says

    I want one of each… NOW!
    Truly I thought, this will be interesting and began scrolling figuring I’d find a favorite, maybe two. No, not to be.
    Each has an ingredient (food item or spice) that doesn’t appeal to me, but SINGS to me.
    And now I am starving! *grin, laugh*

  3. says

    Very comprehensive – and appealing – post! I hope you’re letting Sri Lanka’s tourism agency see this; it’s wonderful advertising for the country.

  4. Colleen Bowen says

    Mark, outstanding work bringing those glorious photos to light. The colors are amazing. It’s so good to learn about a food I know almost nothing about. I’d really like to visit Sri Lanka someday. Now, even more so. Thank you for that.

    Are there Durians in Sri Lanka?

    • says

      No problem Collen, I’m really glad that you like this article! Yes, in fact there is Durian in Sri Lanka – unfortunately I didn’t try any (as it wasn’t really season and they were expensive), but there were some at the market!

    • says

      Colleen, There are Durians in Sri Lanka. But this is not the season. Some peoples have addicted to Durians because of the taste. But Some are don’t like to the smell. So visit Sri Lanka to eat Durian.

        • Supul says

          August is the best time of the year to try out some seasonal goodies, Mark! You can try Duriyan as well as Rambutan, Mangosteen, Seasonal mangoes, Avocados and a LOT more!!! Since it is the season, these fruits are fairly cheap too!!!! :) Hope it helps!!!!!!

          • Lavenia says


            I beg everyone to try this. They sell it in our market, MK, and its reallly good. And yh august is the best time of the year.

        • vimukthi says

          hi..suddenly by mistake i visited to your web site. it is a sri lankan Undergarduate. working for mangement trainee as well as wildlife researcher. i have seen so many tasted foods rather than you eat in my country.I would like to share some ideas with you. and you can chat with me via Face book.
          thank you

    • says

      Awesome to hear that Christy! You guys will have a great time and get to eat some delicious food! If you like samosas, also try the fish/chicken cutlet balls – excellent!

  5. Gutterflower says

    The sweet syrup on curd is called ‘kithul treacle’. It’s liquid jaggery. Next time, try out kiri bath, milk hoppers and seeni sambol (not at the same time though)
    Lovely post. You’ve made me very homesick though!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the comment and for the tip on kithul treacle – I’ll get that into the article. I hope and can go back to Sri Lanka soon and try more food – there’s still lots to taste!

      • Dinusha says

        Just came to your site and couldn’t resist looking at this post :) I was about to say try Kiribath (Milk rice) but found it here in Gutterflower’s comment :) That is like one of the main sri lankan traditional food. You can eat it with “lunumiris” or “seeni sambol ” ( fried onions with spices… so yummy) or something sweet like jaggery or sugar…

        Kithul treacle is expensive so most shops use syrup made from mix of kithul (a palm like tree.. can’t remember the english name ..sorry.) and sugar… so it is really hard to get real kithul treacle… the real one tastes soooooo good …

        You should also try “kiri kos” which is a curry made from jack fruit but the fruit should be ripen than the one in your jack fruit curry (we call the jack fruit curry you have shared “polos”). it is cooked with coconut milk…

        also you might like some sri lankan pickles.. which made any meal extra yummy and add flavor.. it’s made with small onions, carrots, beans, chilli, papaya (not ripe) and mustard , pepper and vinegar for taste…

        you would also like the prawn curry cooked with coconut milk…
        and also dried fish curry (cooked with coconut milk) or tempered with onions…

        of course all these are very tasty when cooked at home in clay pots….

        I should stop here before I go mad thinking about all these food…. :)

        • says

          Haha, I’m getting hungry just reading your comment Dinusha, thanks so much for sharing! Sounds like you also have a passion for food too. Makes me want to get back to Sri Lanka now for some more eating. I think I tried some Sri Lankan pickles before, and like you said, they were delicious – really bursting with flavor. The prawn coconut curry sounds fantastic as well!

          • Franklin says

            Kithul in English is Palmyra. It’s a palm tree like the Coconut. Both Treacle and Jaggery is made from the extracts of both palms. Palmyra treacle and jaggery is expensive, so to keep the price down the two are combined to keep the price down in Sri-Lanka. “Hope this was helpful!”

        • says

          WELL done Dinusha, Next time pls introduce Mccurry products to your guests. Its Amazing. They have two different megafactories for srilankan authentic foods manufacturing. Pls keep it in your mind and don’t forget to visit those outlets around the country. Any overseas demand also they are catering at present. Therefore MC currie products are now available whole over the worlds foods markets (MRE). cheers

      • Gihan-Srilankan says

        @Mark Wiens, thanx to make me hungry mood even i had my lunch …. i’m serprise by reading your and other foreigners views. I’m a graduate and try to aboard to earn for my future … every time i think to give up srilankan foods it makes tear in my eyes …..

  6. Sachintha says

    Good post man, you’ve made our food more interesting with a foreigner’s take on it. Next time you come here, find the oil cakes, and other traditional sweets. (it’s called ‘kavum’ here) pretty damn good..

  7. Nirmal Kirtisinghe says

    Hey, nice post, but one thing you made a little mistake on… Those were not broad beans. They look like broad beans or even Brazil nuts, but they are the seeds of the jackfruit. Sri Lankans eat jackfruit in three stages – First, before they ripen (called polos – you mentioned it in your article), then when it’s semi-ripe, when it reaches it’s full size (we call this kos) and third as an out and out fruit (depending on the variety, it can be either Waela or Waraka, the difference being the texture and the taste). Of course if you’ve been to Malaysia, you’d know about their use of jackfruit as a fruit (and something that amazed me as a Sri Lanka, a flavour of Ice Cream).

    • Indunil says

      Nirmal, I think Kale Coconut Salad would be nice to call as Gotukola Sambal.

      However, Mark, this is really a great job. I think you have a nice sharp eye and a good sense of taste as well.

      Thumbs up from here!

    • says

      Hey Nirmal!
      I really appreciate your help and comment. I’m going back into the post now to make the correction. Yah, I agree, jackfruit is such an amazing (and versatile) fruit – and it’s so delicious in all stages. In Thailand they are famous for mango and sticky rice, but there’s also durian and sticky rice and jackfruit and sticky rice too!

    • W.A.Dhanapala says

      Thanks Mark,

      You are great. You eat . travel and teach about food and traveling. Why not add (already added) How to become an entrepreneur while enjoy and keeping the life goal.

      I really love POLOS ( tender jackfruit curry) in Sri Lanka. There are 3 versions of it. 1. Red polos curry the famous – Up country style, brown, the low country style of Sinhala community, And the Polos + Cassava gravy (hodi / Sodi in Sri Lanka) of Tamil community. If you are interested I may recepies of all.

      I tried can or bottled polos curry and so many times I found it was just the taste of Polos but not the real taste of it.
      Ultimately I have prepared the real curry by “Preserving the tradition as it was” and could preserved the curry too securing all tastes associated. I didn’t add any preservative, no artificial colours or flavours..
      Now I am doing all basic formalities to market it. ( then i will let you know) Till then I want to send some bottles to you as a gift. Let me know the procedure to send it?

      You are a great gye


      • says

        Hi Dhane, great to hear from you, thank you for your suggestions and your kind words. I’ve done a few articles and videos about lifestyle and entrepreneurship, but would definitely like to put together some more blogs about it as I continue to learn.

        Thank you for the extra information about Sri Lankan food, I’m hungry for polos now! Are you living in Sri Lanka now?

        I really appreciate your offer to send me some. I’m traveling now with no permanent address, so it’s a bit tough to receive anything, but in the future, I’ll definitely let you know. Again, I really appreciate you thinking of me.

        Thanks again, hope you are doing well,

        • says

          Thanks Mark,
          I really appreciate you. it is great that you find time for every thing. I am waiting to give you Sri Lankan traditional Polos curry as it was with out adding preservatives, artificial colour or flavour etc.
          Once again I appreciate your innovativeness, kindness and everything.
          Being a person of food technology and trying to preserve the tradition as well, I find there are lot to learn from you.
          Tell me any information you may need from Sri Lanka.
          I am in Sri Lanka. When you come back here I wish to meet you

  8. says

    Like Gutterflower and Sachintha said, you have to come down in April when the New Year celebrations are on. Then you’ll really have a taste explosion with the seasonal fare. That’s when all the really sweet stuff come out and you’ll have at least 10 more to add to the list.

    Really great article Mark. Much kudos. You’ve really captured the essence of our food.

    • says

      I appreciate it Dili! I’d love to come back to Sri Lanka during the New Year – I had an amazing time while I was there – and I’d like to eat more delicious Sri Lanka food! Thanks!

  9. says

    I think you missed Cashew (Kaju) Curry and Biriyani to name a few. Lumprise is the jewel of the crown which has Beef, Mutton (Goat) & Chicken curry (cooked together) with many vegetable curries as well as a cutlet, wrapped and baked in banana leaf. (Check out Bordain’s “No reservation” Sri Lanka for more info.) The best Chinese Rolls are made with minced Lamb. …… Now I’m hungry and homesick. Thanks Mark for the great article & fantastic photography.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment DJ! That cashew curry sounds amazing – I need try some of that! There are definitely still many Sri Lankan foods I haven’t gotten to eat – but so far all that I have tried have been excellent! I’m going to have to find the episode of Bourdain in Sri Lanka. Thanks for checking out this article!

  10. Menaka says

    Great article Mark.

    But I was surprised to see that lots of delicious and important dishes are missing from this list.

    1.Kiri Bath (Milk Rice-made with country red rice ,coconut Milk and salt) a traditional dish that every sri Lankan makes for any special occasion.Mainly for New Year.eaten with Lunu Miris,Fish/Chicken curry and also can be eaten with Kitul (Palm) Juggary if u like sweet.My Canadian friends’ favourite.

    2.Sweetmeats like Kavum,Kokis,Aluwa,Mung Kavum,Athirasa,Pani Walalu,Kalu Dodol.Again these are traditional dishes made for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

    3.String Hoppers-made with Rice flour,salt and water eaten with Coconut Sambol,Fish/Chicken curry, White Potato curry or Dhal curry

    4.In Sri Lanka Kale is not available.So it should be corrected as “Gotukola Sambol”

    5. Sambol is like a salad, the uncooked version of Mallum.
    6. Pol Roti is not cooked with coconut Milk.It is made with freshly grated coconut,salt,water and all pourpose flour and made like a dough then small portion of the dough flaten and cooked on a griddle till ligth golden.

    • says

      Awesome Menaka – thanks for taking the time to contribute this extra information! I definitely wasn’t able to try everything in Sri Lanka, but I’m going to have to return and eat some more! I’ll make a few corrections to the original article. Thanks again!

  11. says

    Now I’m in Sri-Lanka, enjoying the local food and getting fat and happy :)
    yesterday even had a cooking class, so I can take these tastes back home.
    Great post!

  12. Ayndrie says

    Hey Mark I’m a Sri Lankan. I tumbled to this article by accident. But I loved it and u got it right – koththu is SL’s hamburghur!!!!! plus u made me really hungry! :)

  13. says

    Hi Mark,
    I’m a Srilankan and a food blogger now living in Dubai.So happy to see this post and it makes me nostalgic.You were right when you said no two curries taste the same.As Srilankan muslims,we have the same dishes with a different method of cooking.Good job!

    • says

      Hi Farwin, thanks for checking out this article! Cool to see your blog as well – great article and mouthwatering photos! I’m going to be checking out some of your recipes soon! I’m not sure if I got to try Sri Lankan Muslim style food, but I’m sure it’s equally as delicious and I’d love to try some as well! Thanks for the input!

  14. says

    Found this post via a link from a friend. I was delighted to see that you’ve enjoyed Sri Lankan food like a Sri Lankan do. Most folks passing through or on a visit don’t try this much and this wide a variety. I’m Sri Lankan and even I haven’t tasted some from this list. Well done, sir. :)

  15. Jeewanthi says

    Great job Mark…..I appreciate it….if you visit again why don’t you go to down south of the country? where you can try best “Ambulthial”. It is a kind of fish curry, made with fresh fish, black paper, red chilly powder, Goraka, and little bit of cinnamon and curry leaves. down south housewives can cook the best Ambulthial ever in Sri Lanka. It’s gravy is perfect with milk rice (Kiribath)…

    • says

      Thanks for the comment and the recommendation Jeewanthi. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before I got to explore everywhere I wanted to in Sri Lanka, but I’d love to return again and spend more time in the south. That Ambulthial sounds awesome, and I’m sure it’s really delicious when it’s home cooked. I’d love to try it!

  16. says

    mouthwatering pictures. =) loved them. You should try these the next time you go ,
    1. Ambulthiyal (a kind of sour tasted fish common in the south area)
    2. String Hoppers
    3. Lavariya (sweetened coconut wrapped with a string hopper)
    4. Kiri Bath (milk rice)
    5. Kiriya (made entirely with rice flour and tastes very milky)
    6. Halapa and Wandu (its a sort of cupcake wrapped in a Halapa leaf and steamed)
    7. Achcharu (there are many variations, Papaw Achcharu, Malay Achcharu,.)

  17. Tira says

    Dear Guy’s, you all are more than welcome to visit Sri Lanka, and visit our house for nice delicious food and Sri Lankan hospitality at my place for Free any time.

    From Dec 2012 though, sorry :(

    here’s my e-mail

  18. Crisp says

    Cool stuff here. I’m in the south, near welligama – any tips?
    Also looking for impeccable Sri lankan eating experiences in galle….
    Any tips hugely appreciated.

    • says

      Hey Crisp,
      I’m real sorry, I didn’t make it to Welligama and I only had time to spend 1 day in Galle, so I ended up just snacking and eating rice and curry around the bus station.
      Hope you have a wonderful time traveling in Sri Lanka!

    • Tira says

      If you guy’s wants to know some nice places to eat around colombo.

      1) Beach Wadiya – Location City: Wellawatta Beach Colombo-06, Street: Marine Drive
      2) Steam Boat – Location City: Mount Laviania, Street: Beach Rd

  19. Menushka says

    Durian…Its a ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT…or HATE IT WITH EVERY FIBER IN YOUR BODY fruit…haha…luckily, im on the love it side of things 😀

  20. says

    you need to visit Sri lanka ,
    you will get full of fun and lot of experiences with in sri lanka ….
    Don’t try every thing near roods …… you will get sick..
    i’m really get impressed by eating with hands , it is very Delicious try that on home…
    As a sri lankan ,
    Welcome you all to Sri Lanka !!

  21. says

  22. Saman says

    Dear Mark

    First of all thanx for visiting my country and giving their flavour to the world

    I like your moto street food simple living. I have noticed many comments about Ambul Thiyal
    You have to try it Down south style and their is a another dish you missed Jaadi (salted pickle fish
    if iam right)

    You said you have tried Kithul triklle try that with simple roti or with vaniila ice cream

    Sri lanka is the stop just before the Hevan

    All the best friend let us know your next trip to Paradise

    • says

      Awesome, thanks for the comment Saman!

      I’ll be sure to eat Jaadi next time I’m in Sri Lanka.

      Hope you are doing well and thanks again for checking out my site!

  23. Dimitri says

    Hi Mark, even though it’s not considered a “traditional” Sri Lankan dish. Some of the Chinese restaurants in Colombo have this special Chinese-Sri Lankan dish (in the same way that General Tso’s chicken is a Chinese-American dish) that my friends and I love. It’s not found outside SL as far as I’m aware. It’s called hot buttered cuttlefish and in some cases it’s served deviled with pieces of sliced capsicum. Restaurants like Chinese Dragon and Peach Valley in Colombo serve it. There are other restaurants too. I haven’t been to Colombo for a while so ask around and see where’s the best place to go. Also I love the lamprais (that people mentioned earlier) from either the Dutch Burgher Hall or Green Cabin. Loved your list and photos

    • says

      Thanks for these suggestions Dimitri! That Sri Lankan Chinese dish sounds great – would love to try it next time I make it to Colombo. Thanks for taking a look at this article and for the comment.

  24. Joan says

    Hey Mark, I’m going to Sri Lanka next week feb. 13 and i’m gonna find and try all these food you listed! 😉 Hmm i’m actually thinking of spending more time on food tripping than sight seeing hehe…thanks for your blogs…you inspire people to travel. Love your blogs about our country Philippines and guess what, you’ve done more than i did! Well, when i’m back there, i’m gonna follow also your suggestions. Cheers to travellers and bloggers!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Joan and good to hear that you’ll be visiting Sri Lanka soon. Be sure to check out some of these other comments where people suggest some more things to try and even some places to try them. Hope you have fun!

      Awesome that you’re from the Philippines, I spent about 2 months there and absolutely loved it. I’d love to return and do more – so much to do and see. I’m also a big fan of Bicol Express!

      Thanks again and have a fun time in Sri Lanka!

  25. Rajitha Weeramanthri says

    nice one doing a great introduced lots of Sri Lankan foods to world through this web site and from your Facebook uploads… In one comment I saw you asked what is the season for “Durian” As I know the best and chepest time for Durian in SriLanka is the end of the year
    August-december it is a good time to Durian

    also you asked gotukola mallum or gotukola sambal…bot hare correct…

    Wish u all da best for your further journeys…take care…. sage journey

    • says

      Thank you very much Rajitha! Good to know the durian season in Sri Lanka – hopefully I can return during the season for a taste of Sri Lankan durian. Thanks for the comment and for checking out my website.

    • says

      Mallum and Sambola are two different things. Sambola means it’a made with raw ingredients. like shredded fresh greens, onion, coconut etc.

      But to make it a “mallum” you have to cook it lightly until the leaves are slightly wilted. Usually people use a bit of oil and sauté the shredded coconut & onion, and then add shredded greens to it. Squeeze some lemon juice before turning off the fire.

      Gotukola is usually made as a “sambola”. Which is my favorite. I make a replica of it with Kale. But many other greens such as “kathurumurunga”, “Mukunuwenna” and other wild greens are usually made as a “Mallum”

  26. says

    Hi, This is a great summary for some of the best classic Sri Lankan dishes. I hope you were able to sample the majority of them whilst on your travels. Please can I link it to my blog, because people ask me about the cusine and your post is a good start.

  27. says

    Great to see all the Sri Lankan deliciousness! Thanks for posting the cool photos. I totally can’t get enough of this stuff. Can’t wait to visit Sri Lanka someday myself. Been to South India a few times but just need to get a few extra weeks and cross the waters. :)

    • says

      Thank you so much for taking a look at this article and glad you enjoyed it JPM. Hope you have a chance to visit Sri Lanka soon, and I would love to visit South India as well!

  28. says

    I am visiting your blog again. Just looking at those awesome Sri Lankan food tantalizes my taste buds. I’m a foodie lover too and proud to be a Sri Lankan.

  29. Nimali says

    i was amazed after looking at these pictures. yummy. Next time try some smooth string hoppers with pol sambol and dhal curry or some fish curry or pol mallun. And some homemade kiribath with lunu miris. ah, eat pol sambol and fried dry-fish (spiced with onions) with rice. that’s my favourite. you’ll go mad if you eat them. And rice with fish curry and scraped coconut. i saw here are lots of suggestions for you. Try them all. We like to see you visiting our country and having these great experience. Come again to sri lanka.

    • says

      Thank you for your kind comment Nimali, I would love to return to Sri Lankan again! Next time I will surely eat all the things you suggested, they all sound so fantastic!

      • Erica says

        We just returned from a holiday to Sri Lanka, and fell in love with the food, its very similar to Goan food, which is where i am from, but its got a different twist to it. I was keen to learn more and bought a cookbook from the airport, but realised later, than the chef used a lot of local words when he referred to his ingredients.
        Have tried to find out what they mean on the internet, but only got a few common ones. Would you have any idea where i can get a glossary of names of fruits and veggies that are local there so i can start cooking?
        tks a ton

  30. says

    Hi Mark,

    I was so happy to have come across your page on Sri Lankan foods BEFORE I went and tried as many as I could. I just got back recently….a few pounds heavier :-( I have to admit that I didn’t like the woodapple juice though. By the way, I also love your videos on YouTube – you might want to add the links to the egg hopper and woodapple ones to this page.

    ….and if when you go back to Sri Lanka (’cause I know you will), you have to try the seafood in the south. I had prawns that were as long as the length between my wrist and my elbow and they were absolutely deeelicious….and so were the crabs!

    • says

      Hi Julee, thank you very much for sharing and it’s so good to hear that you had a fun trip to Sri Lanka and were able to eat so much delicious food. I’ve been meaning to go back in the article and add more content that has since published, but just havent yet, will do soon – thanks for the reminder. Wow, those prawns sound amazing, makes me want to go back to Sri Lanka now!

  31. says

    WOW — this is quite the list Mark! I’ve been itching to try some Sri Lankan food, but unfortunately, there are no restaurants nearby my flat. are the spices similar to Indian or slightly different?

    either way, as I looked at this picture’s, I could smell the curry aroma… Oh my God… *melts*

    – Maria Alexandra

    • says

      Hey Maria, thanks for checking this article out. Sri Lankan food I think is closely similar to southern Indian food, yet still quite a bit different. I haven’t been to India yet, so I’m not fully sure of the exact ingredients that would be different. Do you have plans to visit Sri Lanka sometime? The food is wonderful, I know you’d enjoy it! Hope you can find some Sri Lankan food soon!

  32. Wendy says

    I will take my time to read all the articles.
    I will be travelling to Sri Lanka for my 2nd visit in Nov.
    I loved my first trip and also loved the food.

  33. Champ says

    Awesome. I’m a Sri Lankan and even I feel hungry for the way you have described.

    Ambul Thiyal (fish slowly baked on low fire in a paste of spices)

    Pumpkin Curry

    Wambatu Moju

    Malay Achcharu (An appetizer)

    Mango Curry

    Ash Plantain Curry

    String Hoppers deserve a separate section.

    Sprat curry/ Sprat fried

    Are some of my faves that you should try. :)

    Take Care

  34. Chitra Perez says

    Wonderful website and video on Colombo (and the food of course!). I really like your commentaries too, they are informative and accurate! The Colombo video really took me on an emotional trip down memory lane as it has been almost 39 years since I left as a small girl. We are going back for the first time in November and your articles and videos now have got me jumping out of my skin with excitement. Thank you!!

    • says

      Hello Chitra, thank you so much for stopping by, and I’m so glad you enjoyed my articles and videos. It’s so great to hear that you are going back for a visit soon. Hope you have an incredible trip, all the best, and be sure to enjoy some wonderful food for me!

  35. says

    io sono cingalese di origine ,tra una settimana parto e vado in Sri Lanka non vedo l’ora di provare ogni varietà di frutta tra cui le mini banane rosse e il coconut ,poi a merenda mangiare l’hopper accompagnato da un bicchiere di Ginger beer e dimenticavo un dolce che mi fa impazzire è il wattalapam nessuno di voi l’ha provato è una sorte di budino con la nota della noce moscata

  36. says

    I had Sri Lankan food for the first time today at a restaurant in Berlin. It was soo good and I would really like to go back to try it out more. Thanks for a great post – I will look at it next time, so I understand a bit more about the food in the menu :-)

  37. Dilushika says

    WOW….! This article is awesome.
    I’m a Sri Lankan. Even all these food are very normal to me, I also felt hungry while reading your descriptions. Now i’m drinking some Woodapple Juice, & amazingly I can enjoy it’s taste more than normal… 😀 Thank u for the information Mark.. & also “GREAT GREAT PHOTOS” This was very helpful for my project… Tc

  38. Aruna says

    Dear Mark,
    Your presentations are amazing regarding Sri lanka. and your ambessidorship is highly appreciated. Thank you very much. merry christmas and happy new year

  39. says

    Hi Mark,

    great article…
    We would like to publish this article on our magazine Colombo Things to Do with full credits to you. hope this is ok…Await your feedback asap.

    Farill Farook

  40. says

    Lovely Sri Lankafood images..mouth watering and thanks for sharing!
    Please visit my blog too when you are free…you can have some sri lankan recipes and
    food images.

  41. says

    Tempting! Sri Lankan cuisine is a bit similar to cuisines from Kerala and Tamil Nadu! You have put out a delicious spread here! All pictures look great!

  42. Andrew says

    Hey good site, but what about fresh mango slices with chilli powder and salt?
    This is served as a street food in a twist of newspaper and tastes fantasic.
    Also the spicy cashew nuts sold on the street.

  43. amiazhar says

    wow! im so happy that you had a great time in srilanka :) and yes enjoyed the food…we have all these curries like every week for lunch! and im kinda fed up of it 😉 but its great to know that people from other countries enjoy eating srilankan food :) got a sudden urge to visit another country and experiment on different food,its usually the fun part! 😀

    • says

      Hey, yah, I really enjoyed Sri Lankan food and especially all the curries. Hope you can do some traveling in the future, food really is one of the best reasons to travel!

  44. Sanjeewa says

    Good stuff Mark!

    I’m a Sri Lankan and most of these are part of my meals on a daily basis, yet your photos and descriptions makes me wanna dive right into a cheese kottu now!

    You must try string hoppers, String hopper kottu and lamprais too. Therese items would surely make the article more tasty!


    • says

      Hello Sanjeewa, thank you very much! You come from a country with such amazing food. Thank you for the other suggestions, I want to come back to Sri Lanka for lots more food!

  45. Dush says

    Oho so much mouth watering and also must say how come u missed string hoppers, potato curry with pol sambola.

    Good work

  46. rebecca says

    im from Kandy, Sri Lanka and love all these dishes so much. there is a shop down my street that does a small mix of things im sure you will like it, they take a vegetable roti and a egg roti cut both in to about 6 pieces and just put some chicken gravy on top it is heavenly specially on the cold day. and like everyone says stringhoppers with chicken curry,pol sambol and kiri hodi is something you have to try.

  47. Vineetha says

    Oh……………You have definitely left out the Sri LAnkan CRAB CURRY…….with String hoppers and Pol sambol……………

  48. Priyadarshi says

    Hi Mark,

    I visited your website when I googled to find a recipe from my own cuisine! Ha ha I have forgotten. Now I feel hungry for my Sri Lankan food. I missed them so much. Specially my mum’s and aunty’s cooking. Thank you everyone for all nice comments about our food.

  49. Gillian Careem says

    Amazing foods, amazing pics. You can almost “taste” these delicious dishes. Do these dishes come with recipes? Where can I get recipes for the foods listed?

    • says

      Thank you Gillian! So far I have only made a recipe for pol sambol which you can find on this site. But if you do some searching I’m sure some others have made recipes!

  50. Kumudini K says

    Mark! I think what you’re doing is wonderful! To be able to live to your desire of travelling is truly the highest blessing one could be bestowed upon with! But you have not included isso wadeeiii!!! That’s a heavenly food item and probably only here that you get it! I am a hard core fan of it being Sri Lankan myself! It’s basically a patty with prawns on top. A deep friend and given at the beaches usually! I cant imagine how you missed it if you went to Nana’s atthe galle face. There are so many carts which sell them down that stretch! :) And I am telling you others who are planning on visiting Sri Lanka, our street food hardly gives you diarrhoea 😀 So i say come enjoy peoples!
    much love to everyone!

    • says

      Hey Kumudini, great to hear from you and thank you for checking out my blog. You know I saw that many times and somehow I was always just too full to try it, don’t know why I missed it, but I definitely remember seeing it. Next time I will surely eat it! I agree, street food in Sri Lanka is fantastic!

      • izzy says

        hey mark i love your article and the pictures made me want to jump through my computer screen and eat everything! as a sri lankan i think youve pictured many of my most fave foods. and if you would like recipes to a lot of dishes you tried in SL i highly recomend Malini’s kitchen.all the recipes are submitted by people and there are curries,desserts and everything under the sun that is sri lankan. if you would like to cook some more Sri Lankan foods try it out.great website

        • says

          Hey Izzy, thank you very much for the comment and for checking out this article. Thanks for the recipes website, I have checked that out and there are so many tempting things to cook. Sri Lankan food is so delicious! Thanks again!

  51. says

    Hi Mark!

    Just happened to come across this article on facebook…and was really happy to see that no.24 the Soy Rotti is indeed from our family business in Kandy! The shop is “The Soya Centre” and we specialize in a variety of natural soy based products!

    Please do come again! we’d love to have you and thank you for your lovely review


    • says

      Hello Hiranya, great to hear from you and that’s awesome that that’s from your business. It was amazing, I loved it. When I go back to Kandy I will surely return for some delicious Soy Rotti!!

  52. RJ says

    Here are some things that you absolutely haveeeeee to tryyyy:
    1. Biriyani
    2. Pol pani pancakes
    3. Chicken/cuttle fish devil
    4. Lamprais
    5. Love cake and Christmas cake
    6. SL tamil food – like the masala dosas and sambar
    7. Wattalapam
    8. Nasi Goreng (SL manner)
    9. Rambutan, mangosteen, waraka, jambu (i think)
    10. Assorted drinks like avocado, passion fruit, etc
    11. Stuffed chilli curry

  53. Sarmilan says

    Hi Mark,

    Just came cross this article on Google, you have covered lots of Authentic food of SL, thank you for that.

    Another food you may want to try is called “Odiyal Cool”. this is stew type of food, where full of unique flavours, Odiyal is a type of flour comes from Palmarah tree. if interested try this link. t

    SL also famous for Blue crabs, where crispy crabs or even these get added to this Odiyal Cool along with fish, prawns, fish heads, salt fish, jackfruits, seeds, etc..

    As Sri Lankan food is not well known as India or thai food, so i take this opportunity to say thank you for doing this article.


  54. Roshen Desilva says

    Dear Brother Mark

    Are you a mixed SriLankan? It an amazing to watch your website, I am wondering that how you created this. You have spent years for that. Highly appreciate your great effort and hard works too. I am very proud of being a SriLankan and I was so happy when you were preparing SriLankan cuisines and eating them.
    I am really happy of you

    Please keep your continue love for SriLanka and support for it’s tourism industry also

    I know personally there is a big respect for people like you from Ministries of Economic Development and Tourism in SriLanka

    Please link with them, you may go for a long term execution

    When you are going to SriLanka again? Because the people are waiting ti hug you

    May triple gems

    Brother Roshen from Qatar

    • says

      Hello Roshen, great to hear from you and thank you so much for your kind words about my site. I’m not sure when I will go back to Sri Lanka again, but I really hope I can in the future!

  55. says

    Hey Mark;
    Just started looking at your site as I was checking out Sri Lankan food in anticipation of a Feb ’14 trip. The food looks incredible and makes me want to leave even sooner, but Mexico is between now and then. Started to look over the rest of your site and from the way you travel, you are a kindred soul. My wife and I have been going non-stop for about 7 years. Sri Lanka is a place we have wanted to go for years. Thanks for getting my taste buds revved up!

    • says

      Hey Tom, thanks for checking out my site, and great to hear that you’re on your way to Sri Lanka next year. It’s still one of my favorite countries I’ve visited. Have a great time in Mexico!

  56. says

    thanks mark ..

    and there are lot of foods in our villages and they are not famous..i have got some of them.and these are very famous in our country.i think lot of foods in sri lanka. “kola kedha”and “hath maluva” as exaples ..but if you want to eat tasty foods i think you better to go for the rural areas in si lanka then you will find lot….see you..come again to sri lanka

  57. Raji says

    Thank you mark for making me realize that i have eaten more than 40 to 50 Sri Lankan food… My mouth is watering.. for last 5 years I am studying in abroad not many of those dishes i get to eat everyday… Thank you.. All the best.. If you have plan to visit Korea let me know

  58. Amrita says

    Don’t forget Sri Lankan Ice Coffee.. delish! When I was in the US, and I ordered iced coffee, i was given a black coffee with ice cubes! Unfortunately, that is not the same as the creamy goodness that is ice coffee.. truly a drink worth mentioning!

  59. Charlene says

    As much as it’s awesome that you’ve tried to put together the top 40 best foods of Sri Lanka I have to comment that it isn’t as close to the ‘best’ … I mean vadei? Really? That’s not even Sri Lankan! And if you are gonna list kotthu I think vegetable kottu doesn’t deserve a spot on your 40!

    Is there a reason you’ve gone as far as fish, veg, chicken and prawn in your list?? Have you ever tried the black pork curry?? Jaffna crab curry? Pulled pork sandwiches? Hot battered cuttlefish? All of which I’m sure if you’ve tried would be on your top 10!

    How about the chutneys and pickles? If dhala curry has made it to the list I’m sure you’ll agree that the above mentioned should be in too!!

    As for beverages … A lion beer is a classic and that’s a big Sri Lankan win don’t you think?

    I don’t mean to criticize you .. But I just think your missing the core of the best Sri Lankan foods!!

    Dude you’ve missed out if you haven’t eaten anything of what I’ve mentioned … Visit Sri Lanka again and make sure to get in touch with someone who can show you the real taste of Sri Lanka! Good luck!

    • says

      Hey Charlene, thank you so much for the extra food suggestions. Sri Lanka was one of the best countries I’ve ever visited, and I hope to go back again in the future to eat more and take your suggestions, thanks!

  60. Vijitha says

    Mark after watching this you tempt me to eat some Sri Lankan food today, I have to drive 25 miles one way to my nearest Sri Lankan resturant and I am going to go there now, bye the way I live 29 miles out of London.

    Keep up your good work buddy

    • says

      see,but we have endemic and special talking about kottu or modern foods,but our real sri lankan foods target to make a healthy and strong person.kola kedda is a one example.there are lot of types,lot of midical plants,as the result of this.our nation said to be the kada varu…and there are lot of examples.a food need to help for the health and tasty also..

      • says

        i’m not talking about medicine but,some foods had a mixture of medical plants,that mean about health.cause kottu has not much health effects for us..but some what..

  61. T says

    Hey Mark,

    I’m not sure if someone has pointed this out already (there are too many comments for me to read through!), but Kottu is NOT made of paratha! It is made of a different, thinner roti called a Godamba Roti.

    Great post, do come back and try what you’ve missed out!

  62. Manoj Siriwardena says

    Heyyyyyyyyyy no.14 is actually sini sambol (litterally sugar sambol)! its not egg plant curry…its basically sliced onions fried with sugar and cinnamon and an assortment of spices. Tastiest shit EVER!

  63. Shenali says

    I’m a Sri Lankan who’s studying away from home right now, and this just made me get so nostalgic 😀
    Thanks for this!
    And I’m really glad you enjoyed my country and the things it has to offer, food included!
    Funniest thing is I saw your video a long while ago, and im just seeing this post now.

    • says

      sorry,this is for the reply..this topic has missed by anyone,roti is the name of indian.but real ancient name was “Thalapa”.as examples kurakkan thalapaya,mun thalapaya,and I need to say another thing,asins ..xpecialy the sri lankan Use the corn flour,and kurankan flour,Udu grant(uludu in india).so can be a similarity as the declining of lot of foods their fame.but I can say south indian food don’t have much coconut that mean coconut with the coconut milk.I tasted but I learn that.but I like to say don’t decide the foods with Sywer(road hotels made of the indian influence) hotels,cause those hotels have lot of culture,not only indian also chinese,wetern and lot of them.but Like These foods cause I don’t have any anger with any culture and respect their foods and very taste. but I think we
      have a spesific.kottu roti godhamba has modern culture. and godhamba,paratha don’t have much coconut milk.but
      thalapaya(ancient name).I could heard this from a book. but as some foods don’t insult for the traditional food in
      Sri lanka.and Sri Lankan foods are really different, but can see influence not only in India but also various culture.
      and some of them were modern famous I think so,but I have seen a same thing of south asia,lot of them like
      spicy food…the other thing is godamba roti,paratha has not coconut mixture. but can see coconut farina(dust).but
      in the ancient it had real coconut milk, so there was good healthy and wholesome,todays foods are going with
      economy not with health(mostly),so godhamba is tasty but not much healthfull,cause both these facts are
      important, that’s how food to be great…though I like lot of foods in this post.,cause they are good.I think some of them was unable to understand about the different between foods and political reasons. but i don’t remind about anything when I eat something.

      I can tell firstly learn about history before talking or debating about food. Food is not only for any nation or culture it’s only for our life to live,and don’t argue like this..cause it’s not good for our organs specialy for the culture going with admixture as the globle situation or cultural reasons, and lot of them like to find new and different tastes.
      and these foods are related for lot of cultures.and I respect these cultures.and Sri lanka is a free and open and beautifull country,all belong to this culture,but I don’t like political revenge.cause some of them try to change sri lankan culture,I can give list of main and endimic foods of sri lanka,ok think if you are in India,there are lot of chinese foods and many of them like,how can be the indian food culture related for the china.
      that is the willing and selections are given by the people.lot of them like to taste the other and new influenced foods comes from anywhere.

      I like your replies,and Idiappan in S.indian and IDI Appa(Idiyappa).and but both these make in different ways.but I think and agree a little similar,but totally real sri lanka food depend on the spices and something like that.yes I like south indian foods but can’t eat much,cause those are not use much coconut milk and lot spices but too much water ….some of them say make stomachache,and heard lot of them don’t eat when they are any special moment like a sports,cause too much spices and water is not good for the foods,specialy for the players.(sport)..I’m sorry if you couldn’t understand.but don’t be anger I told truth and ..never say south Indian foods are bad.but the matter is too much spices,it makes lot of diseases. So don’t eat much spicy foods.

      Thanks mark,
      I think we need to thank for your dedication, finding for lot of important information for us.and I like your post. well done,and you give us meaningful things always..100%.

      • says

        Hey Madusanka, thank you so much for your comment and all the great information. I had a wonderful time eating in Sri Lanka, would love to return and learn more about the food!

  64. Near says

    I’m really glad that you visited Sri Lanka and enjoyed this beautiful country and its delicious food. As a Tamil, I am very glad that you go through the north of the country (Jaffna).
    Finally someone who discovers the entire country.
    (sorry my english is not really good)

  65. Near says

    And if you want to try more things I can advise you: (except if you already have tasted):
    Idli (I personally don’t like but try)

  66. says

    If you like a replica of the Gotukola salad, Try kale.. (it’s not the exact same thing but close).
    Using a sharp knife Shred fresh 4 Kale leaves (cut off the stems). Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup thinly sliced red Onion, 1 thinly sliced pepper of your choice (I use serrano pepper), 1/4 cup shreaded coconut (optional), Salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything by hand and try with steamed rice and a meat curry.

  67. Viragi says

    Hi Mark,
    Your great work on Sri Lankan food made me homesick.I am in US temporarily and right now thinking of tasty dishes my mother makes esp.the jack fruit curry(polos),a favorite of mine.
    Thank you so much for appreciating my country and it’s people.

  68. Sonam says

    Dear Mark,

    I wanted you to suggest me at least 20 main course “fusion cuisine” menu for an eco-friendly restaurant in Sri Lanka which also uses the local products. It would be really appreciated. Thanks a ton!

  69. Joey Perera says

    Hi Mark,

    I am from Sri Lanka. I already sent you a mail as well. Don’t you like to visit here and learn more about Sri Lankan Food?

  70. says

    Helloooo!! I am a student lived in Sri Lanka and I have studied there.But now sadly I am in Australia….I found this website through searching Sri Lankan food delacacies for my food technology assessment….I love Sri Lankan food even I am not now in there…Love you Sri Lanka…I am so proud to be a SRI LANKAN..!!Thank you for enjoying our cultural foods and sharing them with the world…even our country is soo small..

  71. Sonya says

    Hi Mark, thanks for this site! I’m a Tamil Srilankan living in the States. You brought back lots of memories of the delicious food I grew up eating. I showed the videos to my kids especially the traditional way of making Kottu roti. My kids help make it at home and now they want the steel ‘choppers’ :)

  72. Connie D says

    Hi Mark. Thanks so much for putting this post together! My trip to Sri Lanka is in a week’s time and I’ve equipped myself with a print-out of this post so that I won’t miss out on all the amazing food Sri Lanka has to offer!

    Keep up the good work :)

    KL, Malaysia

  73. Aditiyan Selvaratnam says

    First of all, Mark let me say what a great job you have done with your website. Keep it up.

    I am Sri Lankan and am very proud of my country’s cuisine. It is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world. I have had many European friends over for meals and even though they found the food very spicy the went for seconds.

    I live in Kuala Lumpur. So if you ever head this way again let me know.

    Kind regards,


    • says

      Hello Aditiyan, great to hear from you, thank you very much for your kind words. I really enjoyed my visit to Sri Lanka, and especially all the amazing food. Thank you for the offer, I’ll let you know if I come back to KL anytime soon.

  74. Karen says

    Green leafy vegetables are actually common in Srilanka (point 6), most homes eat the kind of greens in pic almost everyday. So are the vegetables in (point 7). .

  75. jag says

    hi mark
    wat is the mode of payments u used everywhere throughout the country…?

    what is the better option for the above..?

    how much money i need to have in LKR for 5 days,
    are usd’s are accepted in street shops?

  76. Radley says

    That pol sambol watered my mouth just then . As a kid I remember having crusty bread with pol sambol when ever we stayed at our grandmas house in Kandy. it was so yum. Ingredients were the same but she also added crushed pepper and finely chopped curry leaves to her recipe .It was simply divine .

  77. Geethani says

    Thnx for this site. I am just away from my country and wanted to give information of some of our cuisines. I found your site and really I missed all the dishes here and it was lovely someone outside my country admiring the food. Thanks a lot again. I can promise that you will find most cheep but delicious meals in Sri lanka

    • says

      Hi Geethani, great to hear from you, I really understand how you can miss your cuisine, Sri Lankan food is so good! I really hope to visit Sri Lanka again to eat more delicious food. Thanks again for reading.

  78. Vanessa O says

    Great tips! I’m on a trip around the world and leaving for Sri Lanka tomorrow. Good to see there is a lot of variety. This post has me really excited for the food!

  79. Sanjana says

    Hi, I definitely enjoyed this list it was very interesting seeing my cuisine in the eyes of a foreigner. However I did I have a small issue, as you frequently called Godamba roti’s, Roti Paratha. While this is an easy mistake, paratha’s being indian, and roti paratha’s coming from malaysia (similar to roti canai), it is a difference I had to point out.


  1. […] fish, some veggies and a coconut thing aside – and its spicy! Mine looked like the Fish Curry here – just with a piece of chicken instead of fish. Locals would eat it with the right hand […]

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