Sri Lanka is a country with a very distinct collection of local cuisine. Owing to the island’s rich cultural history and diversity, Sri Lankan dishes are imbued with a collection of inimitable flavours and textures that every budding gastronomist should experience. Here are some of the island’s most popular delicacies.

Image credit:

Roast Paan

Roast Paan is essentially bread that has been roasted – it tends to look like a slice of bread as opposed to a loaf. This relative thinness ensures that the bread stays nice and crisp when baked. It’s best enjoyed right out of the oven with some Sri Lankan dhal curry or pol sambol (coconut relish).

Milk Rice

Referred to locally as ‘Kiribath’, Sri Lankan milk rice is a dish primarily made for celebrations and festive occasions, from weddings and birthdays to New Year’s celebrations. It’s made by boiling down rice until it becomes soft and subsequently adding coconut milk to it – hence the name milk rice. You can order milk rice at a variety of top restaurants in Colombo. For instance, you can enjoy a hearty portion of milk rice with various curries or relishes at Rare at Residence.


A great example of how Sri Lanka’s cultural diversity has impacted its cuisine, Lamprais is a mouth-watering combination of rice, meats, and spices. A scoop of this mix is then placed on a banana leaf along with certain side dishes, then it’s folded up, parcelled and steamed. As this is a Dutch inspired dish, spices preferred by Sri Lanka’s resident burgher community like clove and cinnamon are also added for added flavour and authenticity.


Kottu is Sri Lanka’s preferred form of fast-food – its tasty and often greasy. Kottu is mainly made of chopped up roti with select ingredients that range from chicken and vegetables to cheese and mutton. Often, it’s also served with various spicy curries for added flavour variety.