A Restaurant critic’s Search for the Best Food in Sri Lanka
by Jetwing · Published · Updated
Trotting around Sri Lanka Fay Maschler & two other friends, are in search of an authentic and gastronomic Sri Lanka cuisine. Experiencing local street food vendors to classy restaurants. What’s special about Sri Lankan food? Sri Lanka is mostly famous for food made using the many spices available within the borders of the Island – namely; Ceylon Cinnamon, Ceylon Pepper, Ceylon Cloves, Ceylon Cardamom, Ceylon Nutmeg & Vanilla. It is these spices that bring out the major mouthwatering flavors in Sri Lankan food. Not to overlook the popular additives & herbs used by the locals such as, chilies, coriander seeds and leaves, curry leaves, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, ginger, mustard, tamarind and turmeric among others. Would you prefer to eat in a common steel or ceramic plate? Or do you prefer your food served into a plate made of leaves; banana leaves & the lotus flower leaf are the most common types taken to make the plate – also be mindful of the extra punch given to your tastebuds by the leaves.
Let us take you through a few food that are unique to Sri Lanka:
Rice & Curry
Yes! Sri Lanka is home to a countless number for rice types, also considered to be the staple food for the locals. Usually, the locals consume rice with 2-3 curries – 1 meat curry & 2 vegetable curries. The locals use the simplest utensils to eat this food – hands!
Maalu Ambul Thiyal (Sour Fish Curry)
You guessed it right – our island too has a major part to do with the Seafood cuisine. Maalu Ambul Thiyal is one of dishes in unique to Sri Lanka and highly demanded by locals and travelers visiting. This dish is simply prepared with firm fish like tuna and is marinated with a blend of spices; black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, pandan leaves and curry leaves. However, the key ingredient of the dish is “Dried Goraka” – a small fruit that burst out the sour flavor of the fish.
Appa is a result of slightly fermented concoction of rice flour, coconut milk, sometimes coconut water and a hint of sugar put together. Structured like a shell – thing crust around and a soft white center. People usually consume this “Lunu Miris” – onion Sambol or with chicken gravy. Appa is more of a food that is served for supper. This really fills you up, also very light – you can have a good night’s sleep.
Pol Sambol (Coconut Relish)
Highlighted garnish or a side dish – almost used with everything and everywhere around the Island. Perfect blend with coconut roti and rice & curry. Pol Sambol is a blend of grated coconut, red onions, dried whole chilies or chili powder, lime juice, salt and Maldives fish if available.
Sri Lanka also includes hotels from homestays to luxury boutique properties where cooking experiences are offer at attractive rates. Here you have the opportunity to learn from the very basics all the way up to cook like Sri Lankan master chef.
Above mentioned are just a fraction of the Sri Lankan cuisine – it’s something to be experienced rather than just being read. Sri Lanka has food from all its corners and it differentiates vastly from each other. It’s a whole new experience. Enna Kanna!