Once beyond rice and curry, Sri Lanka offers one of the most diverse and fun food scenes. Sri Lankans are as excited as foreign travellers in front of a plate of rice or at a renowned hawker stall. There is an amazing variety of dishes once you pass through” Rice & Curry”, and for foreign travellers, Sri Lankan delicious food, especially the seafood is one of the main reasons for them to fall in love with Sri Lanka. Even more remarkable, however, the enthusiasm for local food among the Sri Lankans; Sri Lankans are also excited like foreign travellers, when they have a bowl of rice with different varieties of curry in front of them or at a renowned hawker stall. This disconcerted love for food, scrambled with an abundance of aromas and flavours fueled by spices such as cardamom, pepper, chillies, nutmeg, has generated one of the most influential culinary cultures anywhere in the world. Here is a rundown of different ways to experience Sri Lankan food. Here are the top 8 ways to eat out in Sri Lanka style.
1. Food without the fumes
For local people of Sri Lanka, eating is also as important as shopping, as er… shopping is. Thus, most malls in the urban areas have a sperate quarter for some sort of food court. At present these food courts are abode by middle-class Sri Lankan people, the food courts attract a massive crowd. On the weekdays these food outlets mainly attract the office crowd such as executives, junior managers from nearby offices, during the lunch hours; means it could be a daunting task to reach an empty space. At the food courts, the food is cheap, and the variety of food is massive. Right from the beginning of food court culture, in the 19s food courts have chosen to be upmarket, and have elevated setting, cuisine and service accordingly. Try the food court in Colombo’s famous Crescat boulevard or Majestic city, both are on the ground floors of 2 skyscrapers.
2. Foraging off the beaten path
For an impromptu Sri Lanka food tour, take a stroll to the popular Colombo beach, Galle face green, that sandwiched between the newly built port city and the old parliament. It is in the neighbourhood of greater Colombo, adjacent to most popular hotels in Colombo. Gall face is a street food paradise with empty plain for kids to play, families to have a chitter-chatter and lovers to enjoy the warmth. Galle face includes virtually the entire spectrum of Sri Lankan street food and some Indian and Chinese dishes. Small portions of food are served by mobile food outlets and the best time to hit the Gale face green is late evening and night when the hordes of city-dwellers gather.
3. Hotel buffet bonanza
Hotel buffet is a new chapter of Sri Lankan food scene, which began from tourist hotels, where most foreign travellers anchor, now has trickled into the local restaurants.
Forget about a la carte restaurants; where the hotels really excel is the mind-blowingly decadent buffets, half-shell oysters, smoked meat, barbequed fish, pretty pink salmon and menus from every major cuisine. The main restaurant of every major hotel on the island now has turned to a buffet type of food outlets. Move over Shangri La Colombo, or buffet dinner of the Grand hotels Nuwara Eliya for a well-stocked buffet, reservation is required at the Shangri La Colombo and spontaneous booking is accepted at the Grand.
4. Cruising cuisine
Colombo’s Diyawanna Lake is lovely in the evenings when the refection of twinkling light of the skyscrapers decorate the sheet of calm waters and a cool breeze keeps the excessive heat away. However, don’t expect a food galore here and only 1 floating restaurant at your disposal.
Few other floating restaurants are catering to discerning diners along the popular waterways in Colombo such as water’s edge, Beira lake, Bolgoda Lake. Most vessels are small and have only limited seating capacity; they are more sedate and intimate, and command a beautiful view over the surrounding area, means patrons can have a beautiful view during the meal. Dinner boats are well-lit, however, most of them have a flexible lighting system allowing the patrons to adjust the glow according to their requirement. Some even enable a romantic, candle-lit dinner on a private, floating restaurant.
Enjoying delicious food that Sri Lanka offers is one thing, Imagine the point that you will rack up when you serve the same delicious menus for your friends and relatives back at your home.
Take part in a Sri Lanka cooking class has become a synonym to most travellers that venture on a Sri Lanka round tour itinerary, and for some of the travellers, it is a highlight of the Sri Lanka tour. The price of the cooking class can be varied depending on the place and the duration. The regular cooking class lasts about a half-day and which is a perfect introduction to Sri Lankan food, ingredients and flavours, which also offers the opportunity to have hands-on experience while preparing and cooking several dishes.
Every school has a set of menus that revolve on a daily basis, means that attendees are not repeating the same menu even if they attend the school repeatedly. Usually, the day at the school starts with a visit to the market, in order to collect the necessary, fresh ingredients required for the class. A printed copy of the menu is available for the attendees at the end of the class with a communal lunch consisting of your handiwork.
6. Sri Lanka Fast food
Sitting on a stool under the canopy while watching the vehicles move on the traffic-choked road and eating a fish roll, egg roll, plate of rice or a simply a “wade” cooked in front of you, is another Sri Lankan eating experience. These small food outlets are the favourite places for some locals and attended by rich as well as poor. These bistros are very popular places for fast foods and perfect way of saving time on your meal. Most food varieties are already cooked while for some dishes, it may require a few minutes to make the final touch.
Here it is not rare to see Mercedes parked alongside motorbikes and foot bikes. Some of these food outlets are so popular that articles are published in these places. The menus are written in English and some knowledge of English enough to place an order.
7. Eat your noodle
Noodles is not a traditional food of Sri Lanka and it was introduced during the colonial era. However, noodles have become a popular dish among the locals, which is also widely available in Sri Lanka. Now it is possible to buy a plate of noodles seasoned with various condiments and flavoured to suit every taste bud. Meal carts that specialize in noodles are very common in public gathering such as exhibitions, carnivals. These noodles meal carts offer noodles in many flavours such as spicy noodles, chicken-flavoured noodles etc. and they serve a hot meal, which is the typical Sri Lankan style.
8. Big deal
If you are a foreign traveller, you will be dining at the best restaurants in the country which are also categorized as a tourist restaurant. The prices in these restaurants may seem like a chump change when compared to those of their brethren in New York City or London, frequent visits to those places could make a slight dent in your wallet. These tourist restaurants are well equipped and capable of catering not only Sri Lankan dishes but also any type of international menu. To ease the pain, it is suggested to mix the places that you choose to eat and drop into local restaurants, fast food outlets and wayside eateries which are more budget-friendly places to eat.