Sri Lanka Food and Drink
The cuisine of Sri Lanka is known for being hot and spicy. In fact, many Sri Lankan dishes are considered by many to be among the hottest in the world in terms of chilli content. Many traditional meals allow for the liberal use of different chilies including amu miris, kochni miris and maalu miris. Recognizing that these meals may be too hot for the average tourist, most tourist regions offer low-spice versions of local favourites.
Rice is a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine and it is usually served with either fish or vegetable-based curry. The majority of dishes are cooked with a coconut milk base and curries tend to be served with various accompaniments like pickles, chutneys and sambol which is a condiment. The most famous sambol is coconut sambol which is made from ground coconut mixed with chili peppers, dried fish and lime juice which is then ground into a paste to be eaten with rice.
As Sri Lanka is an island, the coastal towns enjoy an abundance of fresh seafood. Prawns, crabs and lobsters, as well as tuna, seer and para fish, are local favourites. Tropical fruits are also commonplace with fresh mangoes, pineapples, watermelon, papayas and bananas being readily available.
Popular dishes include:
Lamprais: this dish is made up of rice that has been boiled in stock and served with a special curry. Lamprais are accompanied by “frikkadels” which are meatballs that have been wrapped in banana leaf and baked, thus highlighting the Dutch influence on Sri Lankan culture.
Kool a’ya: this is a mixture of various leftover curries served with rice. Kool a’ya is traditionally served at Hindu temples with chapati.
Hoppers: this dish is native to Sri Lanka and is made from fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk and some palm toddy. Once the batter has risen, it is cooked in a wok-like pan and is served for breakfast or dinner and is often accompanied by a soft cooked egg on top.
Sri Lanka is one of the top producers of tea in the world. The hill country found in the country provides an ideal environment to grow flavoursome tea, so too do the high altitudes. Most people in Sri Lanka drink their tea with milk and sugar. Faluda is another popular drink served cold and mixed with syrup, ice cream, jelly pieces and basil seeds. Fruit juices are a favourite way to beat the heat and Arrach is considered the unofficial distilled national drink by many.
Things to know:
Most hotels in Sri Lanka now include a 10% service charge on bills, anything over is left to guests’ discretion.
Drinking age: 21
Sri Lanka Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Sri Lanka.
Learn about the history and culture of Sri Lanka, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Sri Lanka's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Sri Lanka for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Sri Lanka tours today!
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