Contrary to popular belief Sri Lankan cuisine is not similar to Indian ones. In fact, even though it is a small island, there are few cuisines in this country blessed with a few different ethnicities.

Where to eat

You can eat at small eateries in beach towns or villages to taste authentic local dishes and feast at hotels in Colombo city to taste fancier versions or dishes with mouth-watering tweaks. Hotels such as the Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo offer Sri Lankan food along with a choice of international dishes to diners. You can also sign up for local cooking lessons to learn the secrets of Sri Lankan cuisine.

AntanO, Kiribath (milk rice), CC BY-SA 4.0

Breakfast dishes

Milk rice with herb-infused onion fry or spicy chilli sambal is the ultimate Sri Lankan breakfast food. The dish is made with boiled rice cooked in coconut cream. It is creamy, nutty and addictive. Hopers (bowl-shaped rice pancakes) are another popular option, which comes in both savoury and sweet forms. String hoppers (rice noodle swirls) with creamy curries is another local favourite.

Jaffna Kool

Jaffna’s interpretation of the bouillabaisse, Jaffna Kool hails from the northern (obviously) part of the country. The dish is flavourful, seafood and local vegetable-packed delight infused with tamarind and chilli.

Simple and fresh pennywort salad

Fondly known as ‘gotukola sambol’ in Sri Lanka, this winner is made with fresh pennywort leaves mixed with grated coconut, diced green chillies, maldive fish flakes and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy the crispy, crunchy goodness.