With its diverse culture, Sri Lanka has great food for every palette. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that it is indeed a food paradise. Here is a short list of all the amazing food in this little island that you must try out.
If you’ve been to Sri Lanka you have heard of Kottu on the list for good food. It is prepared with roti, vegetables (usually lightly crisp carrot and onion), meat and egg cooked in basic Sri Lankan spices and chopped with two large chopping knives. The great thing about this dish is that you can add any flavour you want to it – all you have to do is mix it all up with the clanking sound from two large chopping knives (it’s a technique that few can master). The varieties of kottu mixtures keep expanding with cheese kottu, masala kottu and vegetarian kottu available freely. You can also choose to have a curry added into the mixture for an extra bit of punch. You can choose to enjoy it on the beach, high up in the hills, in a fancy restaurant or even while taking a drive in the city. Kottu is the kind of meal that grabs you by the collar – once you are caught to the taste there is no going back.
- Cheese Roti
Layers of Sri Lankan rotti wrapped together with oozing cheese is a delicious snack with evening tea, for breakfast or as a late night bite. Cheese roti is the immediate successor of the traditional Sri-Lankan egg rotti and has gained immense popularity within the local and foreign community in Sri Lanka in a short span of years. The combination of rotti and cheese has become the local mac and cheese and is easily available at road side shops as well as at lush hotels around the island.
Edible bowls – yes that’s the hopper! (known as aappa in Sinhala). Hoppers are the Sri Lankan pancakes with a crepe-ish texture. They are made from rice batter and coconut milk. The base of the bowl is fluffy and the walls crispy. The combination is delightful. There are the egg hoppers which have egg at the base of the bowl, milk hoppers that have a base of sweetened milk and the plain hopper with the regular fluff.
What I like best about the plain hopper is that you can give it any flavour you like – with a coconut salad (pol sambol) for breakfast, with some curries for lunch and with honey syrup for dessert.
Hoppers taste best fresh off the fire, and at most Sri Lankan buffets you can find the hopper-man behind his stove, swirling around hopper batter and serving hot hot hoppers to happy diners. Have you tried one yet?
Sri Lankans love their jaggery, so of course they have it in their dessert! Watalappan is a jaggery based custard pudding with a tinge of spices – usually cloves, cinnamon and cardamom; garnished with cashew nuts. Watalappan has originated from the Sri Lankan Malays and is a traditional dish amongst the Sri Lankan Muslims. It is most popular at weddings and festive events. And most often available on Sri Lankan a la carte menus.
And now all this food talk has made me hungry, so I’ll leave you to the dinner table, and go grab a kottu.
Did you enjoy these dishes? Would be great to have your opinions in the comments!