Sri Lankais referred to as the teardrop island, located just south of India. This tropical island is full of fresh fruit, vegetables, coconuts and spices. It’s a destination that we’d been looking forward to exploring for quite some time. We couldn’t wait to throw on our carry-on backpacks, our cameras in hand and a huge appetite to find the best food in Sri Lanka.
Hikkaduwa beach Sri Lanka. Lots of places in Hikkaduwa to find the best food in Sri Lanka
This small island surely offers an abundance of things to see and do; lush green tea plantations; national parks full of elephants and wildlife; incredible temples; mountains to hike; buzzing cities and let’s not forget the tranquil beaches.
What’s not enticing about this little gem? The best part is that Sri Lanka is just starting to stir more than a few whispers amongst travellers of how beautiful and affordable it really is.
The time is now to explore this land while it’s still cheap, uncrowded and uncommercialised.
As usual, we were on a mission to find the best food in Sri Lanka.
1. Egg Hoppers
Hoppers are traditionally served as a breakfast food. The pancake-like mixture consisting mainly of rice flour is spread super thin around a very small wok-like pan and put onto an open flame. These can then be filled with egg, cheese, spiced minced meat, fried onions, coconut sambal and the list goes on.
Generally served with a small steaming bowl of dahl (yellow lentils, onions, spices) to dip your crispy hopper into, this is a breakfast that will surely sustain your appetite past lunchtime or until the early afternoon. Egg hoppers are easily some of the simplest, yet best food in Sri Lanka that you surely have to try.
Egg hoppers are some of the best food in Sri Lanka for breakfast. We loved them.
2. Rice and Curry
Just about every menu throughout Sri Lanka will feature this national dish. As with many Asian countries, rice is the staple of Sri Lankan cuisine and one of its many varieties is usually served at every meal. Usually, three or more curries will be served as a main meal, either vegetarian, meat or fish curries. The quality will depend on where you eat.
We prefer to trust the locals and with this in mind, we asked our tuk-tuk driver to take us somewhere that he would eat and we experienced the best Sri Lankan curry of our whole trip!
FOODIE TIP: Always ask your taxi or tuk-tuk driver where they eat, as they will always know the best hole-in-the-wall eatery that is off the tourist trail. He will know where to find the best food in Sri Lanka for sure.
A typical breakfast for the locals is a plate of string hoppers and maybe some other homemade bread such as roti. The best food in Sri Lanka comes in many options here and they’re all fantastic.
Served with a bowl of dahl and coconut sambal, and often with a small bowl of fish curry if you can handle it so early in the morning.
Enjoy it with Sri Lankan tea or as we preferred, a big pot of piping hot Sri Lankan coffee.
4. Street Eats and Short Eats
Sri Lankans are a clever bunch when it comes to street food and snacks on the go. Using only a handful of ingredients; most commonly lentil flour, vegetables and a few spices, they produce many tasty packages with the aid of a hot plate or deep fryer at almost any time of the day.
Our favourites were vegetable-stuffed roti, deep-fried fish- and vegetable-filled rolls and little packages of hot fresh chickpeas with spices, slivered almonds, fresh herbs and chilli. It just goes to show that the best food in Sri Lanka doesn’t have to be the most expensive food at all.
The best thing about this packet is that it cost about 0.40 cents and it was served in some old homework sheets of a local school child.
5. Kothu Roti
We enjoyed a few of these, always a little different each time. A roti (similar to a doughy flatbread) is chopped into pieces and fried up with any ingredient that is to hand; onions, spring onions, cabbage, grated carrot, egg, bacon, chicken pieces and chilli, then perfectly seasoned of course.
Sounds pretty simple, but for us, this meal was easily some of the best food in Sri Lanka.
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.