Sri Lanka CuisineFood of Sri Lanka is hot and spicy. Base food of the inhabitants of the island is rice which they consume with curry both veg and fish based.
All the dishes are cooked on the base of coconut milk and flavored by liberal use of spices. Like all the people of coastal regions, the Sri Lankans are also expert in preparing fish dishes. Mallung, Sambol, Lamprais, Buriyani and Polos Pehi are some popular dishes of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans also like several juicy sweetmeats like Kavum, Halape, Thalaguli and Wattalapam. Sri Lankans also like to have drinks like tea and coffee.
Curry accompanies the dishes of meat, vegetables or fish. Number of spices, all roasted and then stone-ground come together to prepare these curries. Coconut milk forms the base of this curry. Fresh herbs and garnishes flavour these curries. Basic items like chicken, beef, mutton, eggs or vegetables are cooked in a thick sauce of coconut milk with all the ingredient spices. There is plenty of variety in fish curries across the region. The Sri Lankans have their own distinctive style of preparing fish curries. Southern ambul thiyal or sour fish curry is very famous. Vegetarian curries are prepared from very available fruit or vegetable like brinjals, beans, beetroot, carrot, banana flower, pumpkin etc. Curries in Sri Lanka are very hot. However, adjustments are made to suit the foreign palate. Ingredients of curries include chilli powder, fresh chillies, cinnamon, tumeric, curry powder, curry leaves, onions, garlic, ginger and coconut milk.
Rice is the staple food of the Sri Lankans. Almost every household in Sri Lanka takes rice and curry as its main meal. Rice too comes in plenty of variety. Samba is a pearly rice consumed on special occasions. On festivals yellow rice is cooked on the base of coconut milk and delicately flavoured by spices. Kiribath or milk-rice is a popular festive dish. Large grained milchard variety of rice gives a slightly pungent smell when cooked.
People of coastal towns consume delicious fresh fish with prawsn, crabs and lobsters. Fried fish is eaten with chips and salad while fish curry is taken with rice. Sour fish curry is a popular dish of southern Sri Lanka. Tuna, seer and para fish are very popular among the natives of Sri Lanka.
Mallung is fondly eaten with curries. Prepared from finely shredded green vegetables and dried shrimps, it is mingled with grated coconut and spices. Sambol is a spicy hot dish. Pol Symbol is a simple combination of grated coconut, onions, red pepper, lime and salt. Seeni Sambol is a juicy combination of Maldive fish preserve and spicy onion. The Sri Lankans are fond of eating wafers, pickles and chutneys with their food. Lamprais is a dish with unique flavour. Plenty of ingredients including curries, cutlets, sambols, special prawn paste, eggplant curry and rice are kept together in a banana leaf and baked. Buriyani is rice cooked in meat stock. Polos Pehi is a dish made of the tender fruit of the jak tree. Several juicy sweetmeats are also part of the island's cuisine. Kavum is a battercake made of ground rice and treacle. Halape is a blending of coconut, jaggery and floor. Thalaguli is a confectionary ball. Many Indian sweetmeats are also found in Sri Lanka, specially in Colombo and Kandy. Wattalapam is a mouth-watering dessert. Curd and treacle is also very much liked by the visitors. Scrunchy sandwiches, delicious biscuits, potato chips and sausages are used as snacks by the Sri Lankans.
Several varieties of fruits are found in Sri Lanka. One can enjoy fruits like mangoes, pineapple, water melon, papaya, woodapple, bananas (also known as plantains), and rambuttan (a fruit resembling lychees). Some of these fruits are found only in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is among the topmost producers of tea in the world. Usually, it is consumed with sugar and milk. Some people are fond of taking 'plain tea' which means tea only with sugar and without milk. Crushed ginger can add more flavour to the tea. The Sri Lankans also like to have coffee. Colombo is a place to enjoy really good espresso. Indigenous cold drinks in Sri Lanka are made of fresh fruit. Bottled carbonated branded drinks like Coca-Cola, Sprite, Pepsi etc. are also widely available. Carbonated drink brands Elephant House and Ginger Beer are very popular in Sri Lanka. People also like drinking water of young coconut. Cut fresh they are delicious and nutritious too. An array of locally produced and imported beers are also available. Two local intoxicating drinks are Toddy and Arrack. Toddy is made out of palm trees while Arrack is fermented and refined toddy.