The Best Local Foods to Try in Sri Lanka

Get ready for a culinary adventure like no other, Sri Lankan cuisine is a tantalizing fusion of aromatic spices, fresh ingredients, and bold flavors that will leave your taste buds begging for more. Thanks to its unique geographical location and rich cultural heritage, Sri Lankan food is a delicious reflection of the island’s history and traditions. From spicy curries to succulent seafood and mouth-watering street food, Sri Lanka’s food scene is as diverse as it is delicious. So, if you’re a food lover or just looking to spice up your taste buds, then come with me as we explore the must-try local foods in Sri Lanka. Whether you’re craving traditional favorites or looking for exciting new flavors, these dishes are sure to take your taste buds on a journey they won’t soon forget. Let’s get ready to savor the best local foods that Sri Lanka has to offer!

Rice and Curry

Sri Lankan cuisine is not complete without the famous rice and curry, a dish that embodies the island’s culinary culture. Every Sri Lankan household has their unique take on this meal, but the basic components remain the same – a generous portion of steaming rice and an array of curries that tantalize the senses. These curries come in many varieties – from vegetarian curries made with a medley of fresh vegetables to meat and fish curries simmered in fragrant spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon. To elevate the flavors, the curries are often served with sambal, pickles, and chutneys, which add an extra kick of flavor to the already delicious meal. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, you won’t want to miss out on this Sri Lankan staple – you’ll find it almost everywhere from fancy restaurants to humble street-side stalls.


Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with Sri Lanka’s most popular breakfast food – hoppers! Also known as appa, these delicious, crispy, and fluffy pancakes are made from a fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk, and palm toddy. The batter is poured into a small wok-shaped pan, cooked to perfection, and served with a range of savory accompaniments such as coconut sambal, onion sambal, and spicy curries.

The best thing about hoppers is their versatility – they come in several different forms, including egg hoppers, which have a cracked egg cooked into the batter, and string hoppers, which are made from steamed rice flour noodles. Whether you prefer your hoppers sweet or savory, there’s a type to suit every taste.

Hoppers are a must-try dish for anyone visiting Sri Lanka. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also an excellent way to start your day with an authentic Sri Lankan breakfast. So, don’t miss out on this culinary gem and make sure to try hoppers during your next visit to Sri Lanka.

Kottu Roti

When it comes to Sri Lankan street food, kottu roti is a must-try dish that you won’t want to miss. This popular dish is made by stir-frying shredded roti bread with vegetables, meat, and spices on a flat iron griddle, creating a symphony of sizzling sounds that’s as exciting to watch as it is to eat. Kottu roti is typically made with leftover roti bread, which is chopped into small pieces and mixed with other ingredients to create a filling and flavorful dish. It’s served with a side of spicy curry sauce that adds an extra kick to the already delicious flavors. What’s great about kottu roti is that it’s highly customizable, with options for chicken, beef, seafood, or vegetarian fillings. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking to indulge in some late-night snacking, kottu roti is a dish that will satisfy your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

String Hoppers

Looking for a delicious and authentic Sri Lankan breakfast? Look no further than string hoppers, or idiyappam, a traditional dish made from rice flour dough shaped into thin, noodle-like strands and steamed to perfection. These delicate and slightly chewy noodles are typically served with a variety of flavorful accompaniments, such as coconut sambal, spicy curries, and dhal. String hoppers are a popular breakfast food in Sri Lanka, but they can also be enjoyed as a light snack or dinner. You’ll often find them being made fresh in small roadside stalls, and their simple yet satisfying taste and texture make them a favorite among locals and tourists alike. So, if you’re looking to explore Sri Lanka’s rich culinary heritage, be sure to try some delicious string hoppers on your next visit.

Pol Sambol

Pol sambol is a fiery coconut relish that’s a staple condiment in Sri Lankan cuisine. This spicy concoction is created by mixing grated coconut with chili powder, lime juice, salt, and sometimes onions, garlic, or Maldive fish. Pol sambol is typically served alongside rice and curry dishes, hoppers, or bread, and it adds a kick of flavor to any meal it accompanies. The dish boasts a unique flavor and texture that’s both sweet and spicy, and its creamy consistency adds depth to any dish it accompanies. Pol sambol is a breeze to whip up, and its ingredients are easy to come by in Sri Lanka, making it a popular condiment among locals and a must-try for any traveler looking to explore the island’s diverse and flavorful cuisine.

Kukul Mas Curry

If you’re a fan of flavorful and aromatic dishes, then you have to try kukul mas curry, a traditional Sri Lankan chicken curry that’s a staple in the country’s cuisine. To make this dish, bone-in chicken pieces are marinated in a blend of spices, garlic, ginger, and lime juice, then simmered in a fragrant curry sauce made with onions, tomatoes, curry leaves, and a variety of spices, including cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Towards the end of the cooking process, creamy coconut milk is added, giving the curry a rich and indulgent texture. Kukul mas curry is typically served with steamed rice, string hoppers, or roti and is a beloved dish that you can find throughout Sri Lanka. Don’t miss the opportunity to try this delicious and complex dish on your next visit to Sri Lanka!


Sri Lankan cuisine is a feast for the senses, with a symphony of flavors, textures, and spices that have evolved over centuries. The dishes are a testament to the country’s rich history and cultural diversity, blending local ingredients, cooking techniques, and a myriad of influences from its neighbors. From the aromatic rice and curry dishes to the crispy hoppers, every bite is an explosion of flavor, with the use of fresh herbs, spices, and coconut milk adding layers of complexity to the dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned gastronome or a curious food adventurer, Sri Lanka’s culinary scene is a treasure trove of delights waiting to be discovered. Be sure not to miss out on some of the signature dishes, such as kukul mas curry, hoppers, pol sambol, and more, during your next Sri Lankan adventure.

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Lashan Kavinda


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