10 Must-Try Sri Lankan Cuisines To Elevate Your Taste Buds

Written By Susan Collins Published On Jun 12, 2023
10 Must-Try Sri Lankan Cuisines To Elevate Your Taste Buds

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Prepare yourself for a culinary adventure as we journey through the vibrant world of Sri Lankan cuisine. With the food market generating an astounding revenue of US$33.18 billion in 2023 and projected annual growth of 11.03% (CAGR 2023-2028), Sri Lankan restaurants have firmly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Sri Lankan cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors, spices, and cultural influences, offering an array of delectable dishes that tantalize the taste buds and ignite the senses. 

Join us as we explore 10 must-try Sri Lankan cuisines, each representing a unique chapter in this thriving culinary tale that continues to captivate and enchant food enthusiasts worldwide.

Seafood Delights at Sri Lankan Restaurants

1.    AmbulThiyal (Sour Fish Curry)

AmbulThiyal is a famous Sri Lankan dish known for its distinctive sour and tangy flavors. It is typically prepared by marinating fish in a blend of spices and then dry-roasting it with ingredients like Gorka (a souring agent), black pepper, and curry leaves. This traditional cooking method gives AmbulThiyal its unique taste and texture. When seeking this mouthwatering dish, notable Sri Lankan restaurants that serve AmbulThiyal should not be missed.

2.    Kool

Discover the enticing allure of Kool, a great Sri Lankan dish that needs no statistical validation. This aromatic soup, hailing from the vibrant culinary landscape of Sri Lanka, tantalizes the taste buds with its harmonious blend of seafood, meat, and vegetables, immersing you in a world of rich flavors and cultural delights.

Traditional Sri Lankan Dishes at Sri Lankan Restaurants

3.    Rice and Curry

At the heart of Sri Lankan cuisine lies the iconic Rice and Curry. This delightful combination consists of fragrant rice served with various curries bursting with flavors. Each dish showcases the richness of traditional Sri Lankan spices and ingredients, from spicy chicken curry to tangy fish curry and creamy dhal curry.

4.    Hoppers and String

Hoppers A visit to a Sri Lankan restaurant wouldn't be complete without savoring Hoppers and String Hoppers. Hoppers are crispy bowl-shaped pancakes made from fermented rice flour, while string hoppers are steamed rice noodles. Pair them with mouthwatering symbols or aromatic curries for an explosion of flavors.

Fusion Cuisines in Sri Lankan Restaurants

5.    Lamprais

Lamprais is a Dutch-inspired dish that showcases the fusion of flavors in Sri Lankan cuisine. Fragrant rice, accompanied by meat, sambols, and vegetables, is carefully wrapped in a banana leaf and baked to perfection. Unwrap this culinary masterpiece to reveal an explosion of aromas and flavors that will leave you craving more.

6.    Kukul Mas Curry (Chicken Curry)

No Sri Lankan dining experience is complete without indulging in the flavorsome Kukul Mas Curry or chicken curry. This dish is a true delight for the taste buds, prepared with a medley of spices, coconut milk, and tender chicken. Explore variations such as black or white curry for an added flavor.

7.    Pol Sambol

Pol Sambol is a versatile condiment that enhances the flavors of any Sri Lankan dish. Made with grated coconut, red onions, lime juice, and a hint of spices, this symbol adds a delightful kick to hoppers, string hoppers, and many other traditional Sri Lankan dishes.

Sri Lankan Street Food at Sri Lankan Restaurants

8.    Kottu Roti

Kottu Roti is the answer if you're looking for a unique street food experience. This popular dish features finely chopped roti mixed with vegetables, eggs, and spices; all sizzled on a hot grill. The rhythmic sound of the chopping adds to the excitement as you indulge in this flavorsome delight.

Sweet Indulgences at Sri Lankan Restaurants

9.    Watalappan

Try Watalappan, a traditional Sri Lankan dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth. This creamy pudding-like treat is made with coconut milk, jaggery (a type of cane sugar), cardamom, and various aromatic spices. The velvety texture and rich flavors make it a perfect ending to any Sri Lankan meal.

10.    Wood Apple Juice

Quench your thirst with a glass of refreshing Wood Apple Juice. This exotic beverage, made from the pulp of wood apple fruit, offers a unique combination of sweet and tangy flavors. Apart from its delightful taste, wood apple juice is also known for its numerous health benefits, making it a popular choice among locals.

Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Sri Lankan Restaurants

Discover the hidden culinary treasures of Sri Lanka by venturing into lesser-known restaurant hubs. These off-the-beaten-path destinations offer a unique dining experience away from the typical tourist hotspots. Immerse yourself in local culture as you savor authentic Sri Lankan flavors, often prepared with time-honored techniques passed down through generations. From charming seaside eateries serving freshly caught seafood to quaint village restaurants dishing out traditional recipes, these hidden gems provide a glimpse into the true essence of Sri Lankan cuisine. Embark on a gastronomic adventure and uncover the culinary secrets of these lesser-explored Sri Lankan restaurant hubs.


Exploring Sri Lankan cuisine at a Sri Lankan restaurant is an incredible experience that will transport you to the tropical paradise of Sri Lanka. From the aromatic spices in Rice and Curry to the fusion of flavors in Lamprais, each dish will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. So, embark on a culinary adventure and savor the vibrant flavors of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Sri Lankan dishes spicy?

Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its spicy flavors, but the level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference. Many dishes offer a balance of flavors that can be enjoyed by individuals who prefer milder options.

Can I find gluten-free options in Sri Lankan restaurants?

Sri Lankan cuisine includes gluten-free options such as hoppers, string hoppers, and certain curries prepared without gluten-containing ingredients, like wheat flour. However, informing the restaurant staff about your dietary restrictions is always best to ensure a safe dining experience.


A crazy food lover and a skilled gourmet for the past few years. I have been sharing my love for food in the form of blogs and articles. Professionally, I am the head chef of my own restaurant in Florida. Most of my readers visit my blog for creative baking recipes and cookie decorations.