Sri Lanka has been amongst the leaders in the spice trade during the early years and has earned its reputation from many travelers for its splendid destinations and vacation hot spots over the years. As much as Sri Lankans love their spice, we also have a sweet tooth and are generally omnivores by nature. Due to our multicultural society Sri Lankan dishes offers a wide variety of vegetarian cuisine to local food which anyone can enjoy without compromising on taste and flavor. Fenugreek, Cumin, Pandam leaves, cinnamon and cardamom are some of the main spices which you can certainly find in almost any home you visit in the country and were also the reason which attracted many businessmen in the past to this beautiful country.
In this series we shall be exploring seven of the Must-Try dishes which every foodie should taste during their trip in Sri Lanka,
- Kothu Rothi – Kothu is made using ordinary Indian paratas which are chopped up into smaller pieces by two large metallic knives on a metallic board. The clanging sound which comes while this is being made makes the experience even better as you could see it being made and mixed with vegetables and accompanied with a spicy dipping sauce.
- Hoppers – These are circular foods which have a thin outer surface and a thick center and are made using rice flour, coconut milk and a bit of sugar. There are also variants which are made with curd and honey to give it a sweeter taste, but generally the savoury version is to die for when eaten with a spicy onion sambol. Egg hoppers are also a great option and its made by cracking an egg into the middle of the hopper while its being prepared.
- Masoor Dhal – This is a red lentil curry which may have its distant relatives in Nepal and India, but its unique flavor profile gives it a truly Sri Lanka experience. This is made using coconut milk and a considerable amount of spices and is also one of the most common foods in the country which is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Curry – Every dish you find in Sri Lanka would be accompanied with a variety of curries each with its own unique flavor. Some of the main vegetarian sides which you could look out for include, papadam (similar to a prawn cracker), coconut sambol, onion sambol etc. Popular vegan and vegetarian curry dishes include, Okra (ladies fingers), Aubergine and potato to name a few.
- Gotukola Sambol – This is a popular vegetarian dish often prepared for lunch and is made using greens known as “gotu kola” by mixing it into a salad with coconut, lime juice, onion and salt. Some chefs also may add a bit of fish flakes or maldive fish for added flavor, so make sure to get confirmation, however generally this is a pure vegan dish.
- Wattalappam – This is a dessert often prepared by Sri Lanka Muslims during their festivals and could only be considered a vegetarian dish as it contains eggs. Its prepared using juggery, spices, eggs, coconut milk and nuts and is steamed on a stove for a couple of hours until its ready to be served.
- Dodol – Dodol may not be a Sri Lankan sweet by nature, but it has its unique flavor when it comes to Sri Lankan dodol. Sri Lanka mainly has two varieties of dodol which are called “kalu dodol” and are made in almost similar way except in the ratio of ingredients used and cooking style. The first variety of dodol is dark black in colour which is often known as “Sinhala dodol” and offers a great chewy, soft taste in the mouth. The next variety of dodol has a crustier top layer and is also chewy in the middle. The latter is not as common as the former variety but if you are serious about knowing local food and sweets you need to try them both.
During your travel in the country, you’ll come across a wide selection of meals from quick bites at the street food vendors to dine-in restaurants filled with a variety of curries and rice. Irrespective of which group you may choose, there are many vegetarian and vegan dishes which Sri Lanka has to offer to complement your flavor profile. Did any of these local dishes get your excited to plan your trip to Sri Lanka? Let us know in the comments below