A Guide to Sri Lanka Cuisine
You might not have an idea about Sri Lanka cuisine if you have not been to Sri Lanka before. Because you rarely find typical Sri Lankan dishes outside of Sri Lanka. Similar to most other kitchens in Asian regions Sri Lankan cuisines are also spicy, maybe spicier than most of them. Rice is the staple food as of many other Asian nations such as Thailand, China but Sri Lankans eat a lot of fish and not much beef, chicken, pork and other meat items. You can discover fresh ingredients, delicious local dishes, and you might find some of the flavours are familiar if you eat Thai, Indian, Chinese food at home.
Rice, spices, coconut milk, vegetable and fish make the basis of typical Sri Lankan cuisine, and there are several regional varieties too. Sri Lanka has a multi-cultural, multi-religious society resulted due to the migration of people over the centuries from other countries around the world. Therefore Sri Lankan people share certain cooking habits and styles with many Asian and Arabian countries like India, Thailand, China. Dutch, English and Portuguese are another Sri Lankan trait- a legacy of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, the tourists can buy everything from croissants and pate to filled baguettes here.
A quick guide to Sri Lankan cuisine
Most travellers look for Sri Lanka’s traditional dishes during their Sri Lanka road trip, because tasting as many different varieties of Sri Lankan food is a wish of most foreign travellers in Sri Lanka. Fortunately, most hotels know it: and they are ready to satisfy the foodie wishes of travellers. Most Sri Lankan hotels provide a large array of a food item and it includes European foods, Asian foods and typical Sri Lankan foods. Usually, the buffets at most hotels and restaurants are stocked with European food, Asian food, Arabian food as well as Indian food. Same times there is a separate corner only for Sri Lankan food, making it possible for foreign travellers to taste the typical Sri Lankan cuisines.
Rice is the national staple, Sri Lankans eat rice for all main meals (Breakfast, Lunch and dinner). usually, the rice is served with several different varieties of curries. Sri Lankan rice is served in plates, in some eateries the rice is served in a banana leaf, the traditional way of serving food. Rice is available in many different varieties, but most popular is the white kind, which has a lovely bite as well as little bit of sweetness with a nutty flavour. Traditionally Sri Lankan is eating by hand (right hand).
A thick dark coloured thick sauce, it is made with coconut milk and fresh fish. It is a common food item found in many special, occasions such as parties. The best Aambulthiyal is coming from fishing areas of southern Sri Lanka.
Fish white curry
This is one of the most popular Sri Lankan curries. it can be prepared with vegetable, fish or meat. A lot of spices are added to the curry but only a moderate amount of chilli powder is added to white curry in order to keep the spiciness at its lowest. Fish, chicken, pork, beef are popular and coconut milk, cardamom, chilli, onion, and many other spices added to it. It’s often served with young curry leaves, which adds extra aroma to the curry. Curry leave supposes to have many healthy effects such as improving the digestive power too.
This is one of the most favourites among the local people and but it is very spicy. maybe it is not something for European taste buds. It has a red, yellowish colour due to the addition of an extensive amount of dry-chilli powder and powdered spices such as nutmeg, cardamom, saffron etc.
This spicy curry is another staple. It is served as an accompaniment to rice, the main ingredients are curry powder, coconut milk, chilli powder and vegetable or meat or fish and herbs. many other ingredients also can be added, like tomato, onion, crab, shrimps.
This healthy salad is known as “cube salad”. many varieties of vegetables such as potatoes, carrot, beat are cut into small cubes and mixed. it is also spiced up with a bit of salt and pepper.
This is another traditional dish and available on most special occasions such as a wedding party. it is prepared from fresh green papaya fruit, small onion, chilli, vinegar, a bit of salt, and several other spices such as cumin seeds. It has very distinct flavour, the papaya fruit adds a refreshing twang, other ingredients add savour and spiciness.
similar kind of dishes is available in many other countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and India.
Sri Lankan sausages
Known locally as “Lingus”, Sri Lanka sausages are usually made with seasoned beef, pork, chicken. It is available in many flavours such as lemongrass, Beef sausages are also available. Common flavourings include lemongrass, onion, chilli flavour. It is best suitable as a part of a meal or as a snack, don’t forget to try different sausages during your Sri Lanka tour. Usually, it is included in the breakfast.
Wade is made of dhal, spices and bit of salt. Dhal is made to a thick paste and turns to small thick rounded biscuits or small ball (size of a golf ball) and deep fried. It has a rich crispy flavour. Usually, the small meal carts that sell deeply fried Wade show up in the late evening and selling the deep fried many items till late at night.
Wander through the street main cities and you will find many varieties of items such as wade being cooked in deep oil and marinated chicken being cooked in barbeque machines. The barbeque chicken is selling in most local restaurants and it is available late in the evening till late night. So you have to come to the road in the late evening or night. Several Supermarkets are also selling barbeque chicken. You definitely find deep fried items such as wade and barbeque chicken very delicious.
Usually, the noodles are served either for breakfast or dinner and available in several varieties. soup noodles variety is also available for breakfast. Usually, the noodles are made of rice flour and wheat flour noodles also available. Noodles are cooked in the boiled water and later mixed with fried vegetable, eggs, a variety of meat and spices.
European colonial influenced foods are available throughout the island, but this colonial legacy is most visible in major cities. bakeries are restaurants are selling everything from croissants to escargots. However, most of them come with a twist of Sri Lankan spicy flavour. “Fish buns”, “meat buns”, “egg buns” and submarine- essentially inherited from French baguette- is stuffed with meat, fish, egg and spicy cooked vegetable paste. for example, Sri Lankan style spring roll, sometimes prepared with European-stye filling like soft cheese of pesto.
This is a sweet snack or a desert, “Kawum” is made from rice flour, coconut honey, coconut milk. You might not able to find them on the street markets but in several restaurants. In very few places such as kzone Moratuwa, you can see a white thick liquid is being poured into small moulds reside in a heated oil of a cast iron pans. Kawum is tasted best when they are hot and fresh from the pan.
Sri Lanka opens your mind and eyes to a whole new area of flavours, and teach you more about culinary diversity across south Asia. usage of spices and freshly prepared food make Sri Lankan food relatively healthy option, and vividness of varieties is another plus – as well as a variety of dishes, Sri Lanka offers a full spectrum of dining options, from street meal crats to bakeries, to fine dining restaurants.