What kind of dishes and tastes do you associate with Sri Lanka? For me, for instance, sweet and sour and spicy. Sweet and sour come to mind because of the abundance of exotic fruits on the island, and spicy because Sri Lankans use a lot of curries. All Sri Lankan tastes are discussed further in this article.

The Sri Lankan national cuisine – what is it like?

In many ways the Sri Lankan national cuisine is very similar to that of India. The taste is dominated by hot spices, which drive you crazy with their aromas and spicy flavour. Sri Lankans love curry, and the island curry tastes different from Indian curry. Like in India, it contains black and red peppers, turmeric, garlic, ginger, mustard, coriander and cinnamon but the difference is that the curry is fried in vegetable oil before being eaten. This process makes the seasoning more spicy and flavourful. It was the Europeans who brought the spice to the island during the time when the island was a colony.

Also, a distinguishing feature of Sri Lankan cuisine from that of India is the stewing of foods. Roasted vegetables are common in India, while Sri Lankans stew them to preserve more health and flavour qualities of the products. The Sri Lankans for the most part do not eat meat and may therefore be called vegetarian. Meat is rarely eaten due to its high cost. Meat is mostly cooked for festive occasions (chicken is the most common, beef is not eaten at all, as the cow is a sacred animal).

Fish, seafood is abundant on the island. You might think they are cheap here, but you would be wrong, an average dinner of prawns, crabs and lobsters can cost $20. Seafood can be bought cheaply at the early fish markets, where the chefs will cook it for you straight away, or you can cook it yourself at the hotel or villa.

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The most common food among the Sri Lankans themselves is tuna. It’s a cheap and tasty fish which goes well with rice and vegetable stews.

Rice has a special reverence in Sri Lankan national cuisine. Not a single meal can do without rice, it is seasoned with vegetables, fruits, and spices, so that it is not immediately obvious that the meal consists of rice. The most popular national dishes are rice and curry.

Rice is used to make rice flour that can be used to bake cakes with various fillings and flavours, to make noodles, and to bake desserts and cakes.

The Sri Lankans put coconut in second place after rice. It is used to make porridges, various desserts and delicacies. Also Sri Lankans use a lot of greens, corn and beans.

National Drinks of Sri Lanka

Everyone is familiar with Ceylon tea, just don’t get confused with fakes. Real Ceylon tea is aromatic, with a rich flavour. It is a custom to drink tea with milk and sugar on the island, and it is mandatory to have a pastry, akin to the Slavic peoples.

Of course, one does not drink black Ceylon tea in Sri Lanka when the island is full of exotic fruits. The locals are fond of coconut milk, fresh fruit juices and morsels. Mango juice, papaya juice, orange juice, banana juice and many others are very popular. In general, any fruit, vegetable or berry can be turned into a juice.

Tourists are treated to the lassi drink, which consists of the juice of any fruit or fruit mix, sweetener, yoghurt and ice. Another popular drink among the Lankans is ginger beer. It is a ginger-based drink, also known as searing lemonade.

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Alcoholic beverages on the island

The island is almost dry; you cannot buy alcohol in shops. If you strongly want to drink alcohol, you’ll have to strain very hard, because it can be bought on the outskirts of towns, thus will have to stand a huge line and you’ll buy not quite qualitative liquor. My advice is to stock up on duty-free liquor when you arrive on the island, or better yet, skip it altogether and enjoy some delicious juices).

The national desserts of the Sri Lankans

As we mentioned before, all baked goods on the island are based on rice flour, coconut milk and other coconut derivatives (coconut chips), a variety of nuts, and fruits.

Every day locals eat unleavened rice cakes dipped in butter and topped with a variety of fruits, berries. It is the No. 1 delicacy on the island. Of course, tourists are served more refined desserts, but the principle and basis of making them is no different from the locals’ delicacies.

To sum up

To conclude, Sri Lankan cuisine is a work of art in its own right: simple at first glance, but delicious and tasty at the same time. Its distinctive feature is the presence of a large number of spices, fruits and vegetables. In spite of the unusual combination, the national cuisine of Sri Lanka can even be called strange, which gives it an individuality, uniqueness and makes it unique all over the world. Rest assured, it will win you over and stay in your hearts for a lifetime.

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