Sri Lankan cuisine, a gem in South Asia, offers an exciting and nuanced culinary experience. Influenced by the country’s geographical position and history, the food here is a vibrant mix of flavors, punctuated by local spices and ingredients, making each dish a unique culinary adventure.
One of the island’s flagship dishes is “Rice and Curry,” a broad term encompassing a variety of curries served with rice. This dish can range from fish, beef, chicken, or vegetable curries, accompanied by “sambols” (spicy condiments) and “mallums” (shredded leafy greens), demonstrating the country’s biodiversity and its impact on the cuisine.
The famed “Hoppers,” also known as “Appa,” are a type of pancake made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. They have a soft center with crispy edges, often paired with egg, curry, or seeni sambol (caramelized onions with spices). Hoppers are an example of Sri Lanka’s fusion of traditional cooking techniques and local ingredients.
“Kottu Roti” is a versatile and much-loved street food. The dish involves stir-frying shredded godamba roti (a type of flatbread) with vegetables, meat, eggs, and spices. The theatrical chopping and mixing of ingredients on a flat grill make Kottu Roti an auditory as well as a gustatory delight.
“Lamprais,” a culinary relic of the Dutch Burgher community, is a unique combination of sambal, frikkadels (Dutch-style meatballs), mixed meat curry, and rice wrapped in a banana leaf and then baked. The result is a rich, fragrant parcel of food, with each element harmoniously complementing the others.
Another famous dish is the “Polos Curry,” made from young jackfruit, cooked with a blend of spices until tender. The jackfruit’s meaty texture and the curry’s rich flavors make it a favorite amongst vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
Lastly, “Kiribath,” or milk rice, is a ceremonial dish often prepared for special occasions. The rice is cooked with coconut milk until creamy and then cut into diamond or square shapes. It’s a simple yet significant dish symbolizing prosperity and celebration.