Halal kottu in Sri Lanka is something you have to try – whether you are a visitor or a resident. What is kottu, you ask? A complete meal of chopped up roti, mixed with a meat curry of your choice – and a few extra ingredients to give it that special twist – kottu roti is a Sri Lankan classic.
Street eateries that offer kottu can be identified by the loud rhythm of knives working hard and fast on steel tops – a skill in its own right – chopping up the roti fine and combining all the ingredients. Different places have their own take on the dish, so people may favour a specific location for a different reason.
Here are 10 places to find Halal kottu in Sri Lanka to help guide you through your kottu journey:
If you are driving on Galle road, Colombo, you might spot a few of these. One of the most popular places for street food, Hotel de Pilawoos serves a good cheese kottu. You might have to dig for the cheese, but the addition of crispy chicken makes it a good meal nonetheless. Since no one goes to Pilawoos expecting perfect hygienic conditions, you might just want to order your Halal kottu to eat in the car, or take away.
Star Hotel in Dehiwala introduced Dolphin Kottu that had everyone curious, apprehensive, and disgusted, all at the same time. After discovering that it was not made with dolphin meat (no one knows why it is called that just that the name stuck), it became a favourite, and started cropping up in other restaurants too. A spicier version of regular kottu with larger pieces of roti, dolphin kottu is served at a lot of Halal kottu restaurants in Sri Lanka.
The best street food is best eaten on the street and not in the restaurant. While at first glance, it might not be your choice of dine in, Bilal Hotel serves up some of the best cheese kottu.
Known for its classic Muslim style flavours and friendly service, Raheema Hotel is a great place to order some Halal kottu in Sri Lanka.
To be honest, the “hotels” are the ones that serve up some of the tastiest dishes. Don’t be fooled by the term though, because it is nothing close to any hotel you are imagining! Just a fancy name for street eateries, Hotel de Fayaz is where you can find the best Halal cheese kottu in Colombo! Not too soggy, with creamy melted cheese, this hotel has a clear winner.
Not sure why they are all termed “Hotel de” but oh well. It’s the food that matters! Hotel de Plaza has a variation of the cheese kottu that uses curd instead, giving it a tangy flavour. While this might not be to everyone’s taste, it’s worth a try.
Here’s a place that serves you kottu roti in a stellar environment. Dirty restaurants aren’t the only ones that provide flavour, as Cafe on the 5th proves well! Try the cheese kottu, or even the non-cheese chicken kottu here!
Chop Chop might actually have the best Halal kottu in Sri Lanka. Besides having kottu all day (almost every other place serves it for dinner only), they maintain the integrity of the flavour, as well as make it innovative by offering crab kottu, prawn kottu, and sausage kottu. With plenty of meat in their dishes, the option of cheese as an add-on, and a wide delivery zone, Chop Chop Kottu should not be missed.
Contrary to its name, The Commons serve much more than just coffee. A wide variety of items on its menu means that it has everything from pastas to kottus. Even though the western menu delivers more in terms of flavour, the cheese kottu is good – in a different way – because the cheese is liquidised and then poured on top like icing on a cake. So if you’re unsure about this whole cheese kottu idea, this is a great place to start as it is more like a dip inside of all over the kottu roti.
For a truly street experience, walk around Harmer Street in Colombo 12 and try out the kottu rotis there. There isn’t Halal kottu in Colombo like it!