Colombo Calling: Food Guide to Sri Lankan Dining

Colombo Calling: Food Guide to Sri Lankan Dining

Colombo, Sri Lanka, is a city with a rich culinary heritage. Influenced by its diverse history and culture, Sri Lankan cuisine is a melting pot of flavors, from spicy curries to sweet desserts. If you’re a foodie looking for a new and exciting culinary adventure, Colombo is the perfect place for you.

Rice and Curry

Rice and curry is the national dish of Sri Lanka and is considered a staple by locals and tourists alike. It consists of a plate of rice accompanied by a variety of curries, typically made with chicken, fish, vegetables, or lentils. The curries are flavored with a variety of spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder.

Kottu Roti

Kottu roti is a popular street food dish in Sri Lanka. It is made with chopped roti (flatbread), vegetables, meat or seafood, and eggs, all stir-fried together in a wok. Kottu roti is typically served with a side of curry or chutney.


Hoppers are a type of pancake made with fermented rice flour and coconut milk. They are typically served with a side of curry or sambal. Hoppers can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


Lamprais is a Dutch Burgher dish that is popular in Sri Lanka. It consists of a rice and curry meal that is wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in the oven. Lamprais is typically served with a side of frikkadels (rissoles) and pickled vegetables.

Street Food

Colombo is a great place to try authentic Sri Lankan street food. From kottu roti to hoppers to wadeis (savory donuts), there is something for everyone to enjoy. You can find street food vendors all over the city, but some of the most popular spots include Pettah Market and Galle Face Green.


If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, Colombo has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. Colombo’s culinary landscape is as diverse as the city itself, offering an array of flavors and experiences to satisfy every palate. Whether you’re a fan of spicy curries, fresh seafood, or international cuisine, Colombo has something special to offer.

The top restaurants and local eateries in the city truly provide a taste of paradise, making it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts from around the world. So, when you find yourself in Colombo, be sure to embark on a gastronomic journey that will leave your taste buds singing with delight. You can find restaurants serving traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, as well as international cuisine from all over the world. Some of the most popular restaurants in Colombo include:

  • Ministry of Crab
  • Upali’s by Nawaloka
  • The Gallery Cafe
  • Nihonbashi
  • The Kingsbury Colombo
  • Cinnamon Grand Colombo


Sri Lankan desserts are just as delicious as the main courses. Some of the most popular desserts include:

  • Watalappan (a custard made with coconut milk, jaggery, and eggs)
  • Kiribath (milk rice)
  • Aluwa (a sweet made with cassava flour, coconut milk, and jaggery)
  • Konda kavum (a crunchy sweet made with rice flour, coconut milk, and jaggery)
  • Bibikkan (a steamed cake made with rice flour, coconut milk, and jaggery)

Tips for Dining in Colombo

  • Be prepared for spicy food. Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its use of spices, so be prepared for your food to be on the spicier side. If you can’t handle too much spice, be sure to ask for your food to be made milder.
  • Try the street food. Street food is a great way to try authentic Sri Lankan cuisine at a fraction of the price of eating at a restaurant. Just be sure to eat at reputable vendors and avoid food that has been sitting out for too long.
  • Be adventurous. Sri Lankan cuisine has a lot to offer, so don’t be afraid to try new things. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy them.

Colombo’s Food Market

Pettah Market: A Chaos of Colors

Pettah Market is a bustling, chaotic, and colorful bazaar that embodies the heart and soul of Colombo. As you navigate the narrow lanes and alleyways of Pettah, you’ll be greeted by an astonishing variety of goods, including fresh produce, spices, street food, textiles, and more. The spice market within Pettah is a standout, where the air is filled with the intoxicating scents of cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and other exotic spices. It’s a sensory experience like no other.

Manning Market: A Paradise for Fresh Produce

Located in Pettah, the Manning Market is a haven for fresh fruits and vegetables. From vibrant tropical fruits like mangos and papayas to an array of vegetables, this market showcases the incredible bounty of Sri Lanka’s agriculture. The vivid colors and lively atmosphere make it an ideal spot for photographers and anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the vibrancy of local life.

Good Market: Sustainability and Deliciousness

Good Market is a remarkable initiative that combines sustainability with scrumptious treats. Located at various venues throughout the city, this market focuses on promoting organic and sustainable products. Here, you’ll find everything from organic fruits and vegetables to artisanal bread, homemade jams, and handmade crafts. It’s not just a place to eat but also a platform to support ethical and environmentally conscious businesses.

Galle Face Green: An Evening Delight

Galle Face Green, a picturesque seafront promenade, transforms into a food lover’s paradise as the sun sets. Local vendors set up their stalls, offering a wide variety of Sri Lankan street food. The enticing aroma of kottu roti sizzling on hotplates, the crunch of isso wade (shrimp fritters), and the sweet and savory allure of achcharu (pickles) fill the air. It’s the perfect place to savor the flavors of Colombo while enjoying the coastal breeze.

Pettah Floating Market: A Unique Experience

The Pettah Floating Market is a relatively new addition to Colombo’s food market scene. Built on the banks of the Beira Lake, it offers a unique shopping experience. You can find local street food, handicrafts, and clothing in colorful stalls while enjoying a waterside view. It’s a great place to sample Sri Lankan snacks and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Delightful Street Food Stalls

Throughout Colombo, you’ll encounter numerous street food stalls and carts selling an array of tempting treats. From savory short eats like samosas and vadai to sweet delights like jaggery sweets and sweet hoppers, the streets of Colombo are filled with culinary gems waiting to be discovered. Don’t miss out on the chance to sample these mouthwatering street food offerings.

Exploring Colombo’s food markets and bazaars is not just about eating; it’s a journey that engages all your senses. The lively ambiance, the vibrant colors of fresh produce, the wafting scents of spices, and the mouthwatering flavors will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and memories. These markets are a testament to the diversity and richness of Colombo’s culinary heritage, and they offer a unique opportunity to connect with the heart and soul of the city. So, when you find yourself in Colombo, be sure to embark on a sensory adventure through its bustling food markets and bazaars for an unforgettable experience.

Colombo is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide variety of delicious and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a quick street food bite or a more upscale dining experience, Colombo has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your food trip to Colombo today!

Ladies Finger Bhindi Curry in Kandy

Ladies Finger Bhindi Curry in Kandy

Because of Ladies Fingers’ (bhindi) low-calorie content and great nutritional value, it is often included in recipes for dishes like sambar, which are prevalent in Kandy.

In most cases, when we buy bhindi, we have to choose a delicate kind since, otherwise, we end up feeling like we have to chew the fiber content. For this, we break the tip of the vegetable, and if it breaks, that indicates that it is tender.

If it does not break, however, you will observe that it swings but does not break, which indicates that it is not tender.

Because it often takes a very little amount of time to cook, we need to be careful that the Ladies Fingers’ (bhindi) is cooked all the way through, or else it might spatter while we are preparing it.

You may adjust the amounts of the spices in this recipe to suit your own taste preferences. You may choose to prepare the Ladies Finger Curry in a dry form in order to eat it with chapati; alternatively, you can choose to prepare it in a curry form in order to eat it with rice and other meals.


Ladyfingers – 1/4 kilogram

Onions – 2

1 teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste

Garam masala – 1 tsp.

1 teaspoon of dried red chili powder.

1 gram (about one pinch) of turmeric powder

Salt – 1 tsp.

Oil – 4 tsp.

2 teaspoons worth of fresh coriander leaves

How to prepare the curry

Step-by-Step Instructions:

After cleaning them, ladyfingers should be cut into pieces measuring one inch.

Cut the onions into very little pieces using a knife.

Put some oil in a pan and heat it up, then add onions and cook them for a bit.

Add lady finger pieces and add salt. Allow it to cook for a minute and a half.

When the pieces are about halfway done, stir in the ginger-garlic paste.

After a few minutes, stir in the ground turmeric, garam masala, and red chili powder, along with 1 1/2 cups of water.

Continue stirring until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Cook all of the ingredients until you get a sauce that is nice and thick.

The ladyfinger’s curry is ready. Add several sprigs of coriander as a garnish, and serve hot.

Eat an Egg Dosa at the Galle Dutch Fort

Eat an Egg Dosa at the Galle Dutch Fort

Popular street cuisine from Sri Lanka, particularly in the towns of Galle Dutch Fort and Colombo, is the egg dosa, also known as mutta dosa. In essence, it is a regular dosa with eggs and spices on top. There are other variations of this recipe that you may see, but the one I am sharing with you today is how I prepare it at home.

With chutney on the side, this meal may be served for breakfast or as an evening snack. I like eating it with idli podi or any other South Indian podi. Making an egg dosa is incredibly easy and takes just five minutes with basic ingredients. It also has a lot of protein and is gluten-free.

How to make an Egg Dosa Steps

  1. Prepare the ingredients first. The cilantro, green chili peppers, and onions should be chopped and kept aside.
  2. A non-stick griddle or dosa pan should be heated at high heat. Once the Tawa is heated, turn down the heat to low and give it a quick water spray. On the heated Tawa, the water will dance. With a kitchen towel, dry off any residual water.
  3. To produce a thin dosa, add 2 ladles full (2–3 tbsp) of dosa batter to the middle of the pan and spread it out using the back of the ladle.
  4. Heat up the food at a medium-high level. Apply 1-2 teaspoons of oil to the dosa’s top and sides.
  5. Using a spoon, crack one egg in the middle and then crack the yolk. The dosa has the egg all over it.
  6. Press lightly with the back of a flat spatula after scattering 2 tablespoons of chopped onions, 1 teaspoon of chopped green chile peppers, and 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro on top.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon of idli podi and salt to taste.
  8. Use a flat spatula to turn the dosa once it has properly browned from the bottom (1-2 minutes) and cook the other side for a minute.
  9. Flip it over one more, then cut it in half.
  10. Serve warm with any chutney or sauce for dosas. Reheat the Tawa on high heat before preparing the next dosa. Before pouring the batter, spray water, lower the heat, and brush away any leftover water.
Make a Quick Butter Dosa in Sigiriya

Make a Quick Butter Dosa in Sigiriya

Butter Dosa is a staple dish of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. It is often made from a batter made of rice and urad dhal that has been fermented overnight. But this particular kind of dosa, known as a butter dosa, was first developed in Chennai, India. Puffed rice was added to the batter to give the dosas an additional soft texture.

This butter dosa, which has a thick foundation but is thin and crispy and has a delicate feel, is only one of the numerous variants common in Sri Lankan Sigiriya cuisine. The popularity of this dosa is largely attributable to the fact that it is served with a spicy potato dish and a big amount of fresh butter or benne.

How to Make a Butter Dosa recipe

  1. Separately soak the rice, urad dhal, and fenugreek seeds for eight hours.
  2. Drain the water and clean the inside.
  3. In a wet grinder, first coarsely ground the rice.
  4. The coarsely ground rice is combined with the soaking dhal, puff rice, fenugreek seeds, and maida, and is then mashed into a fine paste.
  5. Take out the contents and stir salt into them well.
  6. Set aside for at least eight hours overnight.
  7. The next morning, thoroughly combine the batter with the baking soda.
  8. When required to ensure a smooth flow, check the consistency and add water.
  9. In the oven, preheat a cast-iron Tawa.
  10. When it’s heated, brush it with a little amount of butter before pouring a cup of batter over it.
  11. Create a thin layer of batter by spreading it on the Tawa.
  12. Till it becomes brown, let it simmer, and add butter as needed.
  13. So that there is no undercooked area, flip it on the Tawa.
  14. Remove after a brief period of simmering.
How to prepare a tasty chicken curry in Mirissa?

How to prepare a tasty chicken curry in Mirissa?

Put the chicken pieces in a basin, cover them with water, and season them with sufficient amounts of salt and lemon juice. Wait at least half an hour before doing so (1 hour is recommended).

After thirty minutes, stir in the chili powder, turmeric powder, chicken and garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, and salt. Combine everything, then set it aside for another half an hour.

The next step is to take a skillet, set it over a low temperature on the stove, and add olive oil in proportion to the amount of chicken you will be cooking.

After that, add the cumin seed, cinnamon, green chile, and chopped onion, and then sauté the mixture until it becomes a crimson color.

After that, put the chopped tomato pieces into the skillet, and then add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté it until it becomes a crimson color.

After 10 minutes, the gravy masala will be ready, at which point you will add pieces of chicken to the pan and thoroughly combine them with the gravy masala.

Then, include some garam masala and chicken masala, and thoroughly combine the ingredients.

After 10–15 minutes, additional water was added, and then the gas flame was increased from low to high while the pan was covered with a plate. This produced results more quickly.

After 15 minutes, check to see whether the chicken has properly boiled and the gravy has developed a crimson color. If so, the meal is ready to be served.

The recommended amount of each seasoning is about 1 teaspoon for every 1 kilogram of chicken. In addition, you need to apply your common sense while you’re cooking and putting on seasoning.

Adding salt is not required at any point throughout the cooking process. Because the chicken was marinated, each piece would have the appropriate amount of salt. In addition to tomato puree, you might try using curd instead.

How to make a Sri Lankan Dhal Curry in 25 minutes

How to make a Sri Lankan Dhal Curry in 25 minutes

Sri Lankan Dhal Curry is a staple dish in Sri Lankan cuisine and is one of the most widely eaten foods in the country.

When cooking dhal, which is generally red lentils, a lovely combination of spices is used to flavor the lentils, and then a few spoons of coconut milk is added to produce a rich stew.

Dhal curry is ubiquitous in Sri Lanka, and it’s eaten with a variety of rice and bread dishes to round out the meal.

Recipe for dhal curry, which is an original Sri Lankan dish that can be prepared in less than 25 minutes.

The Sri Lankan Dhal Curry recipe, which is also known as “parippu” in Sinhalese, is a popular and common vegetarian side dish in most households and restaurants around the country.

This Sri Lankan Dhal Curry is also one of the quickest vegan comfort foods to prepare, taking less than 25 minutes to prepare. Some of us (including myself) have no issue eating it on a daily basis.

It’s gently spiced and creamy, and it’s something that most non-spicy food fans (even children) would like!

When you’ve spent the morning doing errands or when you’ve just finished a long day of household duties and you need to prepare a supper for your children who will be home in an hour. This is the end of the road.

To round off the lunch menu, there’s dhal, rice (cooked in the rice cooker, of course), and chicken curry.

It’s fast, easy, and adaptable to a variety of situations.

I’m not sure whether you’ve noticed, but I’m always astounded at how diverse the flavor of cooked red lentils can be depending on who’s cooking them.

Some people want their dhal curry (parippu) to be quite hot with a lot of tempering, while others prefer it to be light and mild with a lot of coconut milk.

It’s also a fantastic introduction to Sri Lankan cuisine for those who are new to it.

Ingredients for dhal curry that are used for tempering

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Curried curry leaves, one sprig (a few to be used for tempering and half while cooking the dhal)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (a few to be used for tempering ad half while cooking the dhal)
  • 1 big onion (about) (a few to be used for tempering and half t while cooking the dhal)
  • Turmeric powder, one teaspoon at a time (half to be used for tempering and half while cooking the dhal)
  • red chili flecks or two entire dried red chilies (about 1 teaspoon total)
  • mustard seeds (about half a teaspoon)
  • To prepare the Dhal curry, follow these steps:
  • 1 cup Dhal (lentils) (lentils,parippu)
  • half a cup of distilled water (increase to 1 cup if you find that the amount of water is suggested is not adequate to cook the dhal at this stage)
  • Several of the additional elements indicated above for tempering are included here (turmeric, curry leaves, garlic, onions)
  • the sliced green chilies (102 pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sodium chloride
  • 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk (optional).


  • Remove the big onion and garlic (four pods) from the pan and put them aside to cool.
  • In a large skillet, heat three tablespoons of oil over medium heat, then add the curry leaves, chopped garlic, onions, and turmeric powder (1 tsp).
  • For 2 minutes, sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become transparent.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the chilli flakes (1 tsp) or 2 whole dried red chilies when the onions are starting to turn golden brown. Cook for 2 minutes after adding the mustard seeds (1 tsp) and stirring constantly.
  • Once all of the ingredients have become golden brown, take the tempered ingredients from the fire and place them in a separate dish to cool completely.
  • Lentils should be properly washed.
  • Add the washed lentils/daal (about 1 cup) to the pan you used for the tempering and heat through (saves washing).
  • Pour in the water (1/2 cup; add to 1 cup if you discover that the quantity of water advised is insufficient to cook the dhal at this point.) and mix well.
  • Add a pinch of turmeric, a few slices of onion, garlic, green chillies, and curry leaves, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  • Cook the lentils/daal until the water has evaporated, which should take around 10 minutes on a medium heat setting.
  • When the lentils are done cooking, slowly pour in the coconut milk (1/2 cup) and bring the pot to a simmer over low heat. After 10 minutes, season with salt to taste.
  • Finally, add the fried onions to the curry and combine well. If you are feeding visitors, you should have a little amount of the tempering on hand.
  • If desired, transfer the lentils or dal curry to a serving dish and top with the leftover tempering for a traditional Sri Lankan presentation of lentils or dal.

Serve the prepared Sri Lankan Dhal Curry with rice and curry while still heated.