Sri Lanka is filled with cultural delights, but one area where the country shines especially brightly is in its cuisine. With a wide variety of local food and beverages to enjoy, this island country can satisfy your taste buds like few others around the world. All around the country, you’ll find authentic meals at great prices. With so much to discover around the country, the longer you stay, the more you will appreciate the local food.
Small local restaurants
If you want to taste the most genuine and authentic version of Sri Lankan food, you must give the local eateries a try. We recommend trying out the same kinds of informal local restaurants where the local people eat. Here, you’ll find the most delicious dishes at the cheapest rates, while also allowing you to interact with local people as you enjoy their culture and hospitality. Variations on rice and curry are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka, and include tasty dishes like Malabar Matthi curry (made with sardines) as well as Polos (jackfruit curry). You’ll also come across red rice, which is cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with cardamom.
You’ll often find Sri Lankan people eating in the larger cafes, where the dishes will also include Idiappa – a kind of steamed noodle made from rice flour. These authentic local food cafes are mostly located in town centres. The tastiest varieties of Idiappa tend to be served in Muslim restaurants, where they typically come with a choice of curry. These curries include Pol Sambol (a mixture of onions, tomatoes, chilies and lime juice), Ambul Thiyal (sour fish curry) and Kiri Hodi (a coconut curry often served alongside fish or potatoes).
The smaller stalls
Smaller stalls in Sri Lanka also have many mouth-watering foods available. If you’re in the mood to sip from a cup of authentic Sri Lankan tea, or some spicy snack to keep your energy levels high while you walk around, then you’ll likely find these refreshing treats in the smaller shacks that are situated on side streets, away from the main shopping areas. Amongst all the choices, one thing you must try is Ceylon tea – which is one of the oldest varieties of tea grown in the region.
Colombo is the home to some excellent seafood restaurants, even though prices are comparatively high in the capital city. You may also come across eateries that allow you to catch your own fish, which they will then cook for you. Dive centres and other boat operators often work alongside services like these, letting visitors go out on a relaxing boat ride for a day, try their hand at fishing, and then arrange for your catch to be prepared in the local style. Some of the delicious seafood options in the country include lobster, crab, jumbo prawns, squid, and even shark. They are typically served with a local sauce which has an exotic flavour. The sauce is made from a blend of ketchup, chili peppers, and bell peppers.
Travelling is about much more that just sightseeing; at its best, it involves experiencing life the way that local people do. When you sit down to eat authentic local food in Sri Lanka, you’ll appreciate this golden opportunity to get a real ‘taste’ of life in this beautiful and exotic country.