You would think Sri Lankan food is just like South Indian food. You would be wrong. Coconuts, chillies, tapioca and pepper are just as popular in Sri Lanka as they are back home but that’s just another case of “same, same but different”.

Sri Lankan cuisine is, well, uniquely Sri Lankan. An explosion of colour and flavour, food from the island nation is a gastronomic treat. Get a primer on the best of Sri Lankan khaana with seven dishes straight from the Emerald Island.

Parippu

Parippu is a dal like dish
Parippu

A Sri Lankan staple, parippu is essentially our everyday dal made with a tropical touch. The dish is prepared with masoor dal, coconut milk, and a mix of spices and served in homes across the island.

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Lamprais

Lamprais is best eaten on a leaf
Lamprais

A former Dutch colony, Sri Lankan food often shows glimpses of the its former colonial masters. Lamprais, a portmanteau of “lump” and “rice” that makes for the perfect tiffin meal. Delicious rice, curry and meat wrapped in a banana leaf, lamprais is how you go Dutch in Sri Lanka.

Kukul Mas Curry

Kukul Mas Curry is a traditional chicken curry
Kukul Mas Curry

A mouthwatering take on the traditional South Asian chicken curry, kukul mas curry should be an essential part of your Sri Lanka itinerary; circled in red, highlighted with arrows pointing to it. Found at every restaurant and street side eatery, this dish is as delicious as it is ubiquitous. Try it. 

Polos

Polos AKA jackfruit country
Polos

The Sri Lankans have perfected the curry. Proof of this is polos, a lipsmacking jackfruit curry made with young, unripe jackfruit. The spice curry is usually served with rice or chapatis.

Kottu

Kottu
Kottu

The Sri Lankan version of our Bombay bhel puri, kottu is an uberpopular street snack. Made with shredded paratha, deep fried with spices, veggies and meat, kottu is found on every street corner in Sri Lanka. If you get a case of the munchies on your Sri Lankan holiday, this is what you eat.

Wambatu Moju

Wambatu Moju
Wambatu Moju

A tangy brinjal pickle, wambatu moju is a delicious accompaniment to most meals. While it may not look particularly appetising, the sweet-sour taste of this dish is to die for.

Pol Sambol

Pol Sambola
Pol Sambol

Another chutneyesque accompaniment, pol sambol is made of cocunuts, chillies, lime, salt and onions. It is so easy to make that you could even recreate it at home. And the best part? You can eat it with everything. Rice, dosa, idlis, parathas; this versatile dish goes great with just about anything.

And that’s Sri Lankan food 101, our rundown of the essential dishes you need to try on your next trip to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Bon Appetit!

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