10 Sri Lankan foods are unable to forget – Part 1
Here are 10 Sri Lankan foods you need to try on your trip to this beguiling isle.
1. Egg hoppers
Traditionally eaten at breakfast, the savoury, bowl-shaped Sri Lankan take on pancakes are delicious any time. They’re made from a batter of fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water and a sprinkling of sugar, that’s cooked in a small, high-sided wok-like pan. An egg is broken into it while it cooks and it’s served with a spicy sambol.
The classic side dish, sambols are fresh and often fiery, chunky sauces, usually made with a stone pestle and mortar. Pol sambol is a mix of finely grated coconut, dried red chillies, red onion, lime juice and a dash of Maldive fish, or cured tuna.
Other perennial favourites include sweet and sour seeni sambol, made with caramelised onion, and sharp and spicy lunu miris, a flavoursome fusion of onions and red hot chillies.
3. Vegetable curry
The archetypal Sri Lankan meal consists of a mini-banquet of fragrant seasonal curries, each one bursting with flavour. You’ll spot the British influence in curries featuring potatoes, carrots and pumpkin, but more exotic varieties include meaty-textured young jackfruit, long okra-like drumsticks and bitter gourd, which resemble lumpy cucumbers. Always served with rice – white, brown or red – Sri Lankans prefer to eat it with their fingers.
4. Gotu Kola Kanda
Part soup, part herbal porridge, this nutritious green concoction is Sri Lanka’s age-old natural answer to a sugar-filled energy drink. Made from wild leafy greens – including medicinal herb gotu kola and hathawariya, part of the asparagus family – and rice, it’s believed to have many health-giving properties, including aiding digestion, reducing cholesterol and boosting the immune system.
Seafood plays a major role in the country’s diet, and Sri Lanka’s lagoon crabs are justly famous the world over for their succulent sweet meat. Colombo’s Ministry of Crab – which makes a regular appearance on Asia’s best restaurant lists – celebrates this iconic crustacean. The catch of the day comes in a range of sizes, from half a kilo to the whopping two-kilo Crabzilla, in time-honoured recipes, including chilli crab, pepper crab and curry crab.
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