Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation located in the Indian Ocean, known for its diverse culture and delicious cuisine. The traditional dishes of Sri Lanka are a melting pot of various influences, including Indian, Dutch, and Portuguese, making them a unique culinary experience.

Rice and Curry
Rice and Curry | Image by Chathura Kodikara via flickr

Rice and Curry

One of the most popular traditional dishes in Sri Lanka is “rice and curry.” This dish is made up of steamed rice and a variety of curries, which can include meat, fish, or vegetables. The curries are typically made with a blend of spices such as curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and Chilli powder, giving them a rich and complex flavour profile. Common ingredients used in these curries include coconut milk, onions, tomatoes, and ginger.


Another popular dish is the “hopper,” which is a type of bowl-shaped pancake made with fermented rice flour and coconut milk. Hoppers can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings, including egg, milk, and sweet jaggery. They are considered a staple food in Sri Lanka and are often eaten for breakfast or as a snack. You can find out where to get the best hoppers on the island on sites like Kandy Escapes.


“Kottu” is another delicious dish that is popular in Sri Lanka. It is a type of stir-fry made with chopped roti (a type of flatbread), vegetables, and meat or seafood. The roti is chopped and mixed with the other ingredients, and then cooked on a hot griddle, making a sizzling sound that gives the dish its name “kottu” meaning “chopping.”

Ambul Thiyal and Polos

Sri Lanka also boasts a variety of seafood dishes, such as “ambul thiyal,” which is a sour fish curry made with black pepper, curry leaves, and tamarind. This dish is typically served with rice and is a must-try for seafood lovers. Another popular seafood dish is “polos,” which is young jackfruit cooked in a curry made with ginger, garlic, and spices. This dish is considered a delicacy in Sri Lanka and is often served on special occasions. It is also a famous dish in the central hills; in fact of all the things to do in Kandy, you should definitely try rice and curry with Polos there.