An ancient island of spices and a melting pot of cultures brought in by trade winds over several centuries has given Sri Lanka a unique culinary identity of its own today, vastly different to its regional neighbours.

All the vegetables

Sri Lankans love their vegetables and coconut milk used as a thickening agent makes most dishes vegan friendly. Spice levels vary, but vegetarian dishes are generally mild while meat and seafood dishes tend to be more spiced.


Signature dishes include Sri Lankan crab curry and prawn curry, both dishes are best accompanied with ‘roast paan’ (local bread), and pol sambol, a coconut relish. For great seafood spreads, check out coastal 5-star hotels that serve amazing seafood. Hotels such as Cinnamon Bentota Beach offer great buffets too.


If you have limited time on the island, then a ‘red chicken curry’ and a ‘black pork curry’ are an absolute must-try. Look out for hotel deals in Sri Lanka that combine great culinary experiences.


Sri Lankan dessert is a big feature on tables around festivals like the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Try local favourites like ‘pol toffee’, a sweetened desiccated coconut fudge of sorts and ‘wattalapan’, a rich and silky pudding infused with cardamoms and jaggery, which originated from the island’s Muslim community.

Watalappan sri lanka
Ji-Elle, Watalappan-Sri Lanka, CC BY-SA 3.0