Delicious Food To Eat In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka daily budget

I love travel for many reasons (the feeling of freedom, experiencing new things every day, etc.) but a very important reason is trying new and exciting food! Before traveling to Sri Lanka, I researched the country (yes, I am a planner;-) and red about many dishes with delicious ingredients like coconut, chili and curry spices.

After spending a month in the country and trying out pretty much everything I came across I have put together this post to give you a little peek into the Sri Lankan cuisine!

Best things to eat in Sri Lanka

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #1. Dosa

the best ghee dosa in Sri Lanka Jaffna

Whenever I had the chance I ate dosa! I ate my favorite dosa ever in Jaffna, in a local restaurant which was extremely busy with locals. The ghee dosa was superb, it was dripping with butter and sooooo tasty… I would do the 4 hour train ride from Anuradhapura to Jaffna all over again to eat one of those heart-disease inducing delicacies.

Dosa delicious food to eat in Sri LankaMasala dosa Anuradhapura Sri Lanka cuisine food

Besides the fabulous ghee dosa I also ate a lot of ‘regular’ dosa (left) and masala dosa (right).

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #2. Curry and rice

what to eat in sri lanka

The staple in any Sri Lankan day: (vegetable) curry and rice. The vegetable curries were different every time I order this dish, some more delicious than others, but all very tasty.

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #3. Roti

Roti coconut roti vegetable roti sri lanka food cuisine

There are so many types of roti in Sri Lanka! Vegetable roti usually comes in triangles, coconut roti is a smaller and slightly thicker disk and egg roti is mostly square or rectangular. I liked them all and ate one (okay, two… okay several…) pretty much every day.

Avocado roti Sri Lanka foodNutella banana roti Sri Lankan food delicious dishes to try - what to eat in Sri Lanka

I also tried all kinds of exotic roti variations, like pineapple, cheese and peanut butter. I especially liked avocado roti (left) and roti with banana and Nutella (right).

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #4. Kottu

I love kottu! Kottu is a mix of chopped up roti, vegetables and (depending on your preference) egg, chicken or cheese. I usually asked for the spicy version and was never disappointed when ordering kottu.

Kottu Sri Lankan food you must try - travel for foodString hopper kottu must try food in Sri Lanka - must eat food in Sri Lanka

My favorite roti kottu I ate in the famous Hotel de Pilawoos in Colombo (left) but my favorite ever kottu was a string hopper kottu (right). This type of kottu is made with with very thin noodles instead of chopped roti. I bought this takeaway string hopper kottu from a tiny food truck somewhere along the road in Colombo. Absolutely delicious!

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #5. (Egg) hoppers

Sri Lankan cuisine - which food to eat and try

A hopper is a bit similar to a pancake, but with a hint of coconut and bowl-shaped. It was incredible to watch how people making these tasty snacks. The layer of mixture in the pan is so thin, it’s amazing the hoppers don’t crack!

If you like, you can order an egg hopper, which is a hopper with an egg in the middle (like the one in the picture above).

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #6. Vegetable fried rice

Sri Lanka food dishes to try

Another dish I regularly ordered was vegetable fried rice. Sometimes with egg, but after a couple of days in Sri Lanka I realized I was eating at least 4 eggs a day (egg roti, egg hopper, kottu with egg, etc) so I cut down a little on the eggs. Vegetable fried rice with coconut chili is perfect enough as it is anyway.

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #7. Coconut rice

Coconut rice with honey breakfast in Sri Lanka

When staying at Pathum Homestay in Sigiriya we got these coconut rice domes filled with a coconut and honey mixture for breakfast. Very nice but very filling!

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #8. Coconut pancake

Coconut pancakes with honey breakfast in Sri Lanka

[Another variation on a pancake, this delicious coconut pancake was stuffed with a mix of sweet coconut and honey, really tasty! Chock-full of sugar though, so I tried not to eat this every day…

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #9. Curry with naan

Indian curry with naan - food in Sri Lanka

Perhaps not entirely Sri Lankan but since there are a lot of Indian restaurants in Sri Lanka I ate a lot of Indian curries with freshly prepared naan. Sooooo good…

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #10. Fruit juice

Fresh fruit juice in Sri Lanka 150 rupees

To compensate for all the amazing (but not always healthiest) food I had a fresh fruit juice every day?. Pineapple is my all time favorite, but the mangoes in Sri Lanka are also very good. And to mix things up, I had a papaya or avocado juice every once in a while.

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #11. Tea

Ceylon tea - Sri Lanka country of tea

Sri Lanka used to be called Ceylon and tea is still an important export product. Needless to say I drank a lot of tea and tried out many flavors.

We also visited a couple of tea plantations and during our train trip through the mountains we drove through beautiful green tea plantations for hours.

What to eat in Sri Lanka: #12. Local variations on international dishes

International food in Sri Lanka - Ella

In Ella I had a chicken wrap and while these were definitely not Mexican wraps (more like roti), they were delicious nonetheless.

International food in Sri Lanka - WeligamaInternational food in Sri Lanka - Weligama south coast

And when I ordered a Caesar salad in Weligama I got this artful leave of lettuce filled with chicken, olives and pineapple. Not your usual Caesar salad, but no complaining as it was very yummy!

I have a lot more food pictures from my 1 month trip in Sri Lanka, but I suggest just going there yourself to try out all the delicacies this wonderful country has to offer!

Interested in the daily travel budget for Sri Lanka? You can find detailed information in my budget breakdown post.

Need help planning your Sri Lanka trip? Read my 1 month itinerary for inspiration and detailed advice how to get around.

Looking for accommodation? Check out my accommodation guide (we paid between €6 and €25 per night).

What to eat in Sri Lanka! Try out delicious Sri Lankan dishes like dosa, (egg) hoppers, rice and curry, roti, kottu, famous Ceylon tea and more... #SriLanka #SriLankaFood #foodieWhat to eat in Sri Lanka! Try out delicious Sri Lankan dishes like dosa, (egg) hoppers, rice and curry, roti, kottu, famous Ceylon tea and more... #SriLanka #SriLankaFood #foodie
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  1. Claire Martin
    January 14, 2018 / 3:56 am

    Hello, I have enjoyed reading about your experiences in Sri Lanka. You have included details that have been hard to find in other places.

    I am a vegetarian (eggs and dairy are ok). Do you think it will be difficult to find meat/seafood free dishes?

    Also, my partner and I have 35 days planned in Sri Lanka in Feb/March. We love hiking and plan to do as much as we can. I am wondering if you found the hills easy to navigate yourself or did you use a guide? Are there maps or easy to follow walking trails? I am always cautious when trekking in an unknown country. Did you learn about any other hikes that you would have like to go on if you had more time?

    Thanks for the information! Claire

    • Lotte
      January 14, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      Hi Claire,

      I’m so happy to hear you like my Sri Lanka posts:-). I don’t think it will be difficult to eat meat-free in Sri Lanka as long as you don’t mind eggs. Hoppers and roti for example are often made with eggs. You can get vegetarian kottu pretty much everywhere, I often choose dishes without meat as well. Also, for lunch many places serve a vegetarian curry and rice which is often cheaper than the meat version. Altogether I don’t think you’ll have a problem, there are so many small restaurants and types of food available!

      About your hiking question, we found the hikes we did well-marked and easy to follow. Nevertheless, I do always download the map of the country we are in on my phone ( app). That way I can see the trails and our position during the hikes. I do have to add we mostly did rather popular hikes (Ella Peak, Little Adam’s Peak, Pidurangala Rock) so we never were the only ones on the trails. I would have loved to do Adam’s Peak but unfortunately the weather was terrible so we skipped that one…

      Have a wonderful trip!

  2. Matthew Lamont
    September 26, 2018 / 3:07 pm

    Hi, that was one of the best reads I have ever done. Gave me so much good information about Sri Lanka, both this post about the food and your other post regarding where to go. Really helpful! Was feeling nervous as I’m going by myself in early October for a month. Less nervous after reading this. I’m thinking of getting my visa in Sri Lanka? Is this a good idea or bad idea? I’m backpacking from the United Kingdom.
    King regards,

    • Lotte
      October 2, 2018 / 9:48 pm

      Hi Matthew,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad my posts helped you plan your trip to Sri Lanka and made you feel less nervous about your trip. We applied online for our Sri Lanka visa which was very easy and fast. You can find more information here:

      Have a great trip!

  3. January 15, 2019 / 9:30 pm

    All of these foods look amazing! I’m heading to Sri Lanka this year and am looking forward to it even more now. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Lotte
      January 16, 2019 / 11:22 am

      Sri Lanka has delicious food! Enjoy your trip and eating your way around the country;-)

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