Sri Lanka has lavishly aromatic and spicy cuisine. If you are visiting Sri Lanka you should try these popular Sri Lankan dishes. Sri Lankan cuisine is mostly shaped by its history and culture, with some dishes so inherently unique you wouldn’t find them anywhere else in the world.
This list includes following types of food:
Main meals such as Rice and Curry, Those, Pol Sambol (coconut sambol), Mallum – Gotukola sambal, Dhal or Lentil currry (Parippu Hodi), and Fish Ambul Thiyal (Sour fish curry).
Breakfast dishes such as Hoppers (Appa) and String Hoppers (Indi Appa).
Special Occasion and Festive dishes such as Milk Rice (Kiribath) and Sweetmeats (Kavum, Kokis, Asmi etc.)
Fast food– Kottu
CULINARY TRADITION – The rice is always put on to the plate first and then the curries are selected from the other dishes to mix with it so you have a collection of minor meals around the plate. You eat by mixing the rice with something forming it in to bite sized ball and consuming by hand. Is generally consumed with a range of vegetables or meat, parripu , dhal and Mullung.
1 – Rice and Curry
It is the main meal in almost every household. A typical Sri Lankan meal consists of rice served with curry of fish, meat or poultry, several other curries made with vegetables and pulses such as lentils (Dhal). Condiments such as chutneys and sambols are included. These are generally spicy and are made from various ingredients such as coconut, onions, lime juice and chillies. All the dishes are placed on the table at the same time for consumption.
2 – Milk Rice (Kiribath) with Onion Sambola
Milk rice is a traditional Sri Lankan dish made with rice. It is a popular food served in auspicious and festive occasions (eg. Sinhala New Year, first day of each month). The dish is prepared by cooking rice with coconut milk. This is normally served with Onion Sambola (lunu miris), a fiery hot mix of red onions and spices, or bananas. This is also a traditional breakfast in Sri Lanka.
There are varieties of kiribath especially Mun kiribath, where green gram is added and the delicious Imbul Kiribath with its center filled with coconut and jaggery (Honey).
Best Sri Lankan foods – Rice and Curry, Those, Pol Sambol, Dhal Lentil curry Fish Ambul Thiyal fish curry, breakfast dishes Hoppers Kiribath and Sweetmeats Kavum, Kokis, kottu.
3- Sweetmeats – Kavum, Kokis, Asmi etc.
Traditional juicy sweetmeats are commonly prepared during Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrating times and other special occasions. These include Kavum, Kokis, Asmi, Halape and Thalaguli.
Kavum is a mushroom-shaped battercake of ground rice and treacle, fried in oil. There are several varieties of kavum. Among them the konda kavum is very popular.
Kokis is a dish made from rice flour and coconut milk.
Asmi is also a traditional sweetmeat in the shape of’string hoppers dipped in treacle.
Halape is a mixture of jaggery and flour, wrapped in a leaf.
Thalaguli is a ball of confectionary liberally peppered with sesame.
Other Sri Lanka sweetmeats include Kaludodol (a rich, dark, confection made from coconut milk, jaggery and cashew nuts), aluva, pumpkin preserve (puhul dosi) and Panivalalu (honey bangles).
Kottu is very popular street fast food in Sri Lanka. It is made of shredded pieces of Sri Lankan paratha bread that are stir fried with an assortment of spices and a choice of other meaty (or vegetarian) ingredients.
5- Pol Sambol (coconut sambol)
Pol Sambola is prepared with grated coconut, onions, red chilli powder, lemon, salt and Maldive fish (cured tuna). It is usually eaten with rice. There is also Seeni Sambol: a very dark, rich, spicy-sweet onion relish.
6- Mallum – Gotukola sambal
Mallum is more like a green salad and prepared by mixing shredded green vegetables, onions, coconut and some basic spices for garnishing. The name Mallum literally means “mix up” and is usually a combination of shredded greens, onion, chilli, Maldive fish (Umbalakada) and coconut. Gotukola (Centella asiatica), Mukunuwenna (Alternanthera sessilis) and Kankung (Ipomea aquatica) Leaves are the local green leaves commonly used in Mallum. The most famous Green sambol (mallum) is made from fresh.
7- Thosai (Those)
Is basically a lentil pancake soaked and ground to form a smooth batter, flavoured with fried shallots, curry leaves, fenugreek and cumin cooked in a hot griddle with sesame oil. Eaten with ground coconut and chilly sambol. VADAI: Classical accompaniment to dosai- a triumph of tamil cuisine, they are small savoury rissoles fashioned into cakes and deep fried in coconut oil.
It is prepared with Ulundu flour, Rice flour, wheat flour, Sugar, Salt, and yeast.
8- Dhal or Lentil currry (Parippu Hodi)
Dhal (Daal) curry is one of the main curries Sri Lankans eat day to day with rice, bread, roti or parata. The dhal lentils are often cooked with coconut milk and made into a rich stew that acts as a gravy for rice.
9- Hoppers (Appa) and String Hoppers (Indi Appa)
Hoppers and string hoppers are popular breakfast or dinner dishes in Sri Lanka.
Hoppers are much like sour-dough pancakes. The batter is fermented in the traditional way with a light palm toddy, which gives the hoppers a delicious liquor tang. Usually served with sambol. There are several types of hoppers – egg hoppers and a couple of sweeter varieties.
String hoppers are made from rice noodles curled into flat spirals. It is served for breakfast and dinner with a thin fish or chicken curry, containing only one or two pieces of meat, a dhal dish, and a spicy sambol or fresh chutney.
10- Fish Ambul Thiyal (Sour fish curry)
Ambul Thiyal is a popular dried fish curry with a sour taste made in many homes in Sri Lanka. The dish can be stored for days at room temperature without getting spoilt. Goraka (Garcinia gummi-gutta) is the ingredient which helps to preserve the fish. It’s also responsible for the sour flavor in the dish.
What do Sri Lankans normally eat?
We bring you some common meals consumed by Sri Lankan.
Vegetarian Sri Lankan Meal
This is a very healthy vegetarian meal.
Common Persons Breakfast
Sri Lankan Dinner
List of Popular Food Dishes in Sri Lanka
Rice, Biriyani and String Hoppers
|String-Hoppers with Rice Flour||`Fried Rice||`Kiribath (Milk Rice)||`Koththu Roti|
|Mutton Mixed Rice||Plain Biriyani||Sri Lankan Style Rice Stick / Noodles||Rotti|
|Sri Lankan Style Pizza||Easy Cous Cous Dish||Those(Dosa)||Yellow Rice|
|Hoppers||Onion and Peas Rice||Kola Kenda||Bread Koththu|
Fish, Chicken, Beef Pork curries
|Hot and Spicy Chicken Curry||Beef and Potato Devilled Curry||Black Pepper Beef||Chicken Black Pepper Curry|
|Curried Meat Balls||Devilled Pork||Lamb/Mutton Curry||Baked Pork Dish|
|Mustard Chicken Curry||Grilled Chicken with Bell Pepper||Party Style Chicken Dish||Kankun with Beef|
|Pork Curry with Goraka||Pork with Gravy||Roast Chicken||Tempered Beef Curry|
|Pork Kalu Pol Curry||Pineapple and Cashew Chicken||Mustard Beef Curry||Sprats Moj|
|Eggplant (Brinjal) Pickle||Tempered Spinach with Dhal||Cashew Curry with Veggies||Sinhala Pickle (Achcharu)|
|Spinach & Potato Stir-Fry||Spicy Stir-Fried Green Beans||Radish Tempered||Potato Stir-Fry (Deep Fried)|
|Polos(Green Jack fruit) Curry||Pineapple Curry||Mushroom Stir-Fry||Devilled Kankun|
|Malay Pickle||Kirikos/Jak Milk Curry||Bittergourd (Karavila) Curry||Green Beans with Cheese|
|Ela Batu Curry||Eggplant Salad||Sweet Potato Curry||Eggplant Pahi|
|Drumstick (Murunga) Curry||Dhal(Lentil) Curry||Chickpea Stir Fry||Cauliflower Stir Fry|
|Sweet and Sour Cabbage||Cabbage Stir-Fry||Beet Curry with Cilantro||Banana Flower Stir-Fry|
|Baked Potatoes||Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach||Banana Pepper Curry||Garlic Curry|
|Fried Okra||Ash Plantain Black Curry||Mango Curry|
Sambol and Mallum
|Bandakka(Okra) Sambol||Bitter Gourd Sambol||Pol Sambol(Coconut Sambol)||Karapincha Sambol|
|Cabbage (Gowa) Mallun||Carrot Sambol||Cucumber Salad||Fried Bittergourd(Karavila) Salad|
|Gotukola Sambol||Green Jack Fruit (Polos) Mallun||Kale Mallun||Broccoli Mallun|
|Lunumiris||Minchi (Mint) Sambol||Pol Mallun||Broccoli and Cauliflower Mallun|
|Seeni Sambol||Tomato Salad||Green Bean Mallun|
Sweets and Desserts
|Aluwa||Mung Kavum||Tropical Fruit Salad||Caramel Pudding|
|Pol Toffee||Coffee Biscuit Pudding||Date Cake||Milk Toffee|
|Chocolate Biscuit Pudding||Butter Cake||Kokis||Love Cake|
|Bibikkan||Christmas /Wedding Cake||Watalappan||Potato Toffee|
|Jaggery Mould||Sau Dodol||Halape Recipe||Bread Pudding|
|Easy Jelly Pudding||Konda kawum||Athirasa||Lavariya|
|Musket||Rulang Aluwa||Milk Toffee|
Shorts Eats and Appetizers
|Chinese Rolls||Cocktail Eggs||Cutlets||Dhal (Parippu) Vada|
|Patties Recipe||Fish/Meat Bun||Vegetable/Meat Roti(wraps)||Samosa|
|Stuffed Chillies||Uludhu Vadai||Bacon and Egg Pastry||Ala Bola|
|Spicy Bread Rolls||Egg Roti (Wraps)||Murukku|