Being so close to India, Sri Lankan flavours undoubtedly show some influence from its neighboring country, though they still conserve their unique personality. Only 10 days in Sri Lanka gave us little time to experience the local gastronomy, but these 10 days were enough to discover that Sri Lanka wasn’t only the land of tea and rice & curry.
The national breakfast are string hoppers. These thin rice noodles are served with egg, coconut sambol, dhal and a plate of fruit on the side. We tried it one morning and we didn’t feel the need to eat anything else until dinner that day!
Fresh bread served with tomato or coconut sambol was our choice a couple of days. Sambol is a sweet chutney-like mix, being coconut sambol the most famous. We felt in love with this soft and sweet bread. After our night hike to Adam’s Peak we almost ate a full loaf of bread!
Another yummy option for breakfast were sweet rotis, served warm and stuffed with chocolate or bananas.
As in India, in the streets of Sri Lanka, there are food stalls selling a large variety of snacks. We spent half of the time on the go, so delicious vegetable rotis or tomato sambol sandwiches filled our bellies most lunches.
Rice and curry is the main attraction! It takes up to 4 hours to cook. Yes, you have read it correctly, 4 hours! So you can’t just go to a restaurant and order it, you have to plan in advanced and order it in the morning. As the name says the dish consists of steamed rice with a set of 5 or 6 different curries such as eggplant curry, fish curry, chicken curry, green beans curry, potatoes curry, pumpkin curry… to name just a few. Try it! You won’t be disappointed.
Another very convenient alternative for dinner are the hoppers (appams in India), pancakes made from the batter of ground soaked rice and coconut milk. Plain or egg hoppers (egg is broken into the pancake as it cooks) are served in many street food stalls and are dirty cheap. The only thing is that they are so thin that you will need at least a couple of them to fill you up!
At the beach our choice for dinner most of the nights was again barbecued fish with a beer.
Tea, tea and more tea! Being Sri Lanka one of the largest producers of tea in the world it was to be expected, right? The locals drink it with no milk and tons of sugar.
Ginger beer (non alcoholic ginger root fizzy drink) and Lion beer were our preferred options at the beach.
When in India we were told by the locals that Sri Lankan food was very spicy, but from our experience we cannot tell the same. Is it that we were already used to spicy food or that food was being cooked less spicy for us? We are guessing it’s more the later…