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Written by Sathya J on May 15, 2021 Share on

Top 5 dining experiences in Sri Lanka

How many times have you been let down by the native food when you are on a vacation ? It might spoil the mood sometimes. And nobody wants to start their day on vacation with such a mood. Personally speaking, I have a long tongue (or so says my mother) because I do not eat enough variety of food. Well, she is wrong. I eat a lot if there is some masala involved; if there is an excitement for the fish – Oops, I meant to say dish. Sri Lanka is a wonderland for people like me. Actually, Sri Lanka is a wonder-food-land for anybody and everybody. Let’s drool together as we look at the top 5 dining experiences in Sri Lanka trip.

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1. Hop around the country for a Hopper Breakfast

Sri Lankans make food like it is their duty to create a tasty and loving dish every single time. There is no day off and it starts right from breakfast. An ideal breakfast starts with hoppers (appam). In terms of appearance, it is a bowl-like crepe. It is made out of rice flour and coconut milk. There are some variants of hoppers, namely, egg hopper and string-like hopper. Don’t confuse this with the plant hopper bug. This is an entirely vegetarian dish that has nothing to do with bugs.

Due to its relatively bland taste, you have got to accompany hoppers with Sambols, mushrooms, fish and other meat-curry, spices and salt. Sambols are coconut relish, or rather coconut chutney as it is called in Sri Lanka and India. Once you get done with the appam, move on to Pittu and Kiribath before you finish your breakfast. Pittu is a cylinder-shaped steamed rice flour mixed with grated coconut of different flavors. Kiribath is a rice block cooked with coconut milk until the rice becomes soft.

You might be thinking…this guy hinted that there would be a lot of spice and masala involved but there has not been much of spice till now. Well my friend, warming up for lunch and dinner with a light breakfast is always better than burdening your stomach with a masala overload during all your meals.

Drool-o-meter = 9/10

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2. A stormy luncheon

You have visited a few places since breakfast and you are hungry. Now is the time to dive into a plethora of spices native to the country. Rice and curry is THE dish to eat during lunch. In most restaurants that you might go to eat, the waiter will come to you, take your order and bring a huge banana leaf and lay it in front of you. That in itself will be overwhelming. And the dishes will start coming one-by-one. This forms an important part of the top 5 dining experiences in Sri Lanka.

Boiled rice with a curry of fish or meat of your choice is served. You will also have the option of choosing from vegetarian curries made up of vegetables or fruits. Get a taste of true cinnamon – native to Sri Lanka – and black pepper in abundant quantities in the curries. You will also get a mix of these curries in various permutations and combinations. A humble request, please do not mix the rice and curry with spoons. Use your fingers to do the job. Trust me, you will thank me later.

Drool-o-meter = 9/10

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3. Sumptuous Evening Snacks

Mutton rolls are a delicacy reserved for the evening. This small appetizer will give you a continental dish feeling but the taste remains true to Sri Lanka. This dish is basically rolling a pancake with a hollow space in between – where cooks place pieces of mutton, potatoes and some onion. It is recommended to have a spicy chili sauce as a side.

Next you can get a taste of Kokis, a Sri Lankan dessert of Dutch origins. Sri Lanka formed a main port for the old oceanic silk route. As a result, there was a lot of people and nationalities that influenced the already tasty Sri Lankan cuisine. You can still see similarities in the ingredients used here but are majorly used by Indians, the Dutch and the Portuguese. A batter made of coconut milk, eggs and rice flour is shaped in the form of stars and deep fried in coconut oil until it turns crispy. Kokis are often used during Sinhalese and Tamil festival celebrations as an appetizer.

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Other snack items range from egg parottas and Mallung to the Mee goreng which is an Indonesian style spicy noodle  stir fried in cooking oil with garlic, onion or shallots, fried prawn, chicken, beef, or sliced bakso (meatballs), chili, Chinese cabbage, cabbages, tomatoes, egg, and other vegetables. It is sold by food vendors from street-hawkers to high-end restaurants.


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Drool-o-meter = 10/10

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4. Mesmerizing Seafood

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Ah, a no-brainer this one, of course an island destination has great seafood ! Nobody can argue with the fact that with the kind of cooking sense Sri Lankans have and the abundant seafood available in their lands, this is one of the best places to eat seafood. The Southern Coast is well-known for catching and distributing the best raw seafood to the rest of the country. Restaurants in these parts offer mullets, crab, prawns, and the sun-dried tuna. And they don’t offer it just like that, they ask you how you’d like to eat these crabs and prawns. You can choose to get fresh pieces or you can wish to take the marinated and grilled versions.

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Drool-o-meter = 9/10

5. Sweets and beverages

Whether you are a sweet-tooth or you want some sweet to put off the fire created by all that spice, spoil yourself with the following sweets throughout the day:

  • Watalappam
  • Aggala
  • Seenakku
  • Bibikkan
  • Kalu Dodol

These are different cakes and pastries in Sri Lanka that you must try. Most of these are made from rice flour and mixed with other ingredients like toffee, grateed coconut, coconut milk,etc.

Faluda, Wood Apple juice, King coconut water, Tea, and other fruit juices are the famous beverages made from milk and fruits. Toddy and Arrack are alcoholic beverages made from palm tree sap and fermented coconut flower sap respectively.

Drool-o-meter = 9/10

Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

If I had a rupee for every time Sri Lankans used coconuts in their dishes, I would have already traveled the entire world ! This love story has been going on for years and is not going to break anytime soon. These top 5 dining experiences in Sri Lanka will tingle your taste buds like nothing before and you are in for a treat !

The most difficult kind of blogs are the ones about food. Just imagine the amount of control needed to focus on writing the blog and not drool at these delicacies as I explain them one-by-one ! It was not easy, I must say, and I certainly have not lied in the Drool-o-meter score. You think there could have been a different score for a particular dining experience ? Reach out to us at Pickyourtrail. We would love to discuss with you about travel and all other related things. You can customize your dream trip all by yourself on our website. If you need some help, you can go through our Sri Lanka Family Packages , you might find something you like !

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