10 Must-Try Sri Lankan Dishes

By Halal Trip | 22, Sep, 2016
10 Must-Try Sri Lankan Dishes

What must-try Sri Lankan dishes should you not miss out on? From kottu roti to hoppers to kiribath and pol sambol – there are plenty of must-try Halal dishes in Sri Lanka for Muslim travelers.  We have listed the top 10 foods to try in Sri Lanka to give you a great introduction to Sri Lankan cuisine – including must-try street food of Sri Lanka as well as sri lankan desserts. These 10 authentic Sri Lankan dishes are foods that visitors to Sri Lanka have to try. Learn how to eat like a local in Sri Lanka with this mini guide to Sri Lankan food!

1) Kottu Roti

This flavoursome dish is usually preceded by a very loud clanging sound, and if your curiosity is piqued enough, you can watch the magic happen. It is essentially a roti that is cut up into little pieces (hence the clanging sound as the knives are in action) and cooked along with a curry with a meat of your choice.  Different places add their own twist to it – bits of fried egg, cheese, and the works are included to give each place its unique flavour. But watch out, kottu roti is known for its spice level no matter where you go! Most restaurants offer this Halal meat dish as they are Muslim owned, but it is always better to check before you eat.

2) Hoppers

If ‘grasshoppers’ is what comes to mind, this is the furthest thing from it! With rice flour and lentils as some of the key ingredients, this dish is made in a special pan to give the bowl-shape that is signature to a hopper.  With crispy edges and a soft centre that may have an egg added to it upon your request, it is a breakfast favourite amongst locals. Eaten with a rich onion sambal or curry, a hopper is best devoured on the spot!

3) Lamprais

Lamprais is a Dutch-inspired meal wrapped in a banana leaf. Rice with potatoes, mixed brinjal curry, fried chicken, cutlet, pickle and a mini flavour bomb disguised as a ball of prawns all work well together to provide a deliciously balanced meal.

4) Kiri Bath (Milk Rice)

The opposite of porridge, milk rice is a breakfast tradition amongst many, as well as a dish reserved for special occasions. Rice overcooked in milk and allowed to set so that it takes the shape of the dish, kiri bath is then cut up into diamonds to make serving easy. Sri Lankans love their sambals to add spice and flavour to a dish, and a gravy to add moisture.

5) Isso Wade (Prawn Wade) 

A Sri Lankan favourite, this prawn street delight is a cracker of a snack. Mostly found on the Galleface Green, no matter what the scenery is around, the men with their carts of deep fried prawn goodness can always be found. It is made with gram flour and spices, with at least two or three prawns laid out on top, and served with lime, onions and chilli for an explosion of flavour in your mouth. This is a classic that should not be missed!

6) Gotu Kola Sambal (Mallum)

Mallum literally means “mix up” and is a healthy, nourishing salad with a burst of flavour. Chopped up greens are tossed in with finely chopped onions, lime, salt, chilli, maldive fish, ginger, and fresh coconut. It is an accompaniment to a lunch of rice and various curries.

7) Ambul Thiyal 

A dry fish curry that originated as a means to preserve the fish, ambul thiyal has become a popular dish amongst Sri Lankans. Cubes of fish (generally tuna) are sautéed in a mix of spices like cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, curry leaves, and goraka which gives the fish its distinctive taste and helps it stay preserved. The fish is then cooked in just enough water to cover it and coat the fish.

8) Kiri Hodhi (Milk Gravy)

Stringhoppers are soaked in this light gravy made with coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, curry leaves and a bit of chilli, to provide the moisture needed before adding on more flavour.

9) Pol Sambal (Coconut Sambal)

Also accompaniment to stringhoppers that adds a bit more spice to the dish, pol sambal and bread is another classic combination. On a day when dinner needs to be whipped up at the last minute, “bread and pol sambal” is the first idea that would pop into one’s head. Coconut mixed with chilli powder, lime, salt, and sometimes maldive fish for a bit of texture, this humble side is what Sri Lanka is all about.

10) Wattalapum

A dessert that is circled amongst the Muslims is still something of a novel delight amongst those from other religious backgrounds. Steamed egg custard made with jaggery, coconut milk, and spices like cinnamon and cardamom, it is commonly found at special occasions, but also as the dessert when you purchase a full meal of rice and the works from a Muslim restaurant.

There are plenty of Halal food restaurants in Sri Lanka, even though it is not a Muslim country! You can find Halal dishes in Colombo, Halal dishes down south in Galle, or in the mountains of Kandy!

If there is any dish that is not on this list that you found delectable and had to share, do use the Halal Trip app and upload it to the Halal Food Spotter so that others can enjoy the same delights.