What to eat in Sri Lanka

Visiting another country, I always try the local cuisine, the more different dishes I can try the better. And Sri Lanka was no exception. Sri Lankan traditional main dish is "rice and curry": a huge portion of rice, fried in butter or cooked in coconut milk, with added raisins or green onions or nuts or turmeric - and a few dishes that make up the "curry". Curry is a savoury sauce of coconut milk in which meat, fish or vegetables are cooked. There are "dry" curries also and "dal" - soup made from lentils. Unlike the Indian version Sri Lankan dal is very thick, almost like porridge.

What can I say about this dish? Rice with raisins, served with chicken curry - to my taste it is not very compatible; rice, seasoned with green onion has a specific smell. Fish curry was prepared with so much cinnamon that it gave the dish a little bit unusual and offbeat flavour. I even tried fried aubergines with honey - also not very familiar to me combination. And now, add chilli pepper to all this unusualness! Even to me, accustomed to spicy food, Sri Lankan dishes seemed too "hot." In general, I can't say that I really liked the Sri Lankan "rice and curry," but it was interesting to experience a new taste sensation.

In addition to the Sri Lankans' love for cinnamon and chilli, I noticed their love for garlic as well. And they don't bother themselves to finely chop it but simply cut a glove in half or at best, in four parts - and that goes in salad. Or in shrimps. As result, this flavour of garlic is stalking you for a long time after lunch or dinner. It seemed to me that Sri Lankans prepare salads literally from what they had in the kitchen at the moment. I was lucky to taste the fresh tomatoes, onions and sweet pineapple salad, seasoned, of course, with a few slices of garlic.

Many hotels offer so called "continental" breakfast. It consists of a glass of juice, a few toasts (sometimes slightly burnt), served with butter or jam, fried eggs and coffee or tea. Imagine this for breakfast every day, especially eggs ... Boring ... One day my husband asked for sausages instead of eggs. They did bring them - burnt, salty and cold .... I do not even know how they did it - burnt and at the same time cold. It was not just untasty, it was very untasty. So, I don't recommend anyone to order sausages in Sri Lanka. Actually, instead of that continental breakfast I advise to take traditional Sri Lankan breakfast (where it is on the menu of course) - it would be more interesting and cheaper.

It consists of one curry, usually it is potato curry, and so-called hoppers. Hoppers are thin flat pancakes made of rice flour with crispy edges and soft center. In the middle an egg can be placed - then it is egg hoppers. And you can order string-hoppers as well. These are kind of long thin noodles from the same flour, twisted in circles. Along with these sambol is served - grated coconut with lemon, chilli and spices. Very good indeed.


But of course, the most delicious dish in Sri Lanka is a plate of seafood. It is mostly served with rice or a salad. On such a plate you will find shrimps, a lobster and a crab, an octopus, not to mention the variety of fish.

European food of good quality can be found only in Colombo,and more or less in Galle. In other places I got impression that they have no idea about European cuisine. Even Pizza Hut: the most disgusting lasagna I've ever eaten was served there.

For lovers of sweets there is a huge selection of them in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan sweets differ from the Indian ones, not so sweet, perhaps because as the sweeting agent they use not sugar but coconut treacle. Made from rice flour, coconut, dry fruit and nuts mixed with oil, spices and rose water the sweets can be rich and oily, or like slightly granulated jelly, or hard and chewy. Actually, to any taste and liking.

Don't forget to enjoy Sri Lankan fruits. There is a big choice of them on the island but what is interesting that grapes and apples are not local, they are imported. Another interesting thing for me was to see bananas of not usual colour, red ones. Of course, I just had to try them but the taste was quite disappointing - no big difference from the common yellow bananas.

And finally, about local drinks. There are two Sri Lankan alcoholic beverages. One is toddy, the fermented sap of the coconut flower, and the other arrack, a distillate of toddy. Sri Lankan arrack has the appearance of whisky but tastes completely different. The alcohol content is generally between 30 and 40%. Arrack is the national drink and can be found everywhere in Sri Lanka. Much cheaper than imported wiskies or vodka.
Read also
Buddhas of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka - an emerald in the ocean

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