Food Culture in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tropical island country in the Indian Ocean that faces India across the sea. Therefore, the food culture in Sri Lankan is more or less influenced by India. However, compared to Indian cuisine, Sri Lankan cuisine has a unique charm. This article will help you understand the nutritional characteristics, eating habits, and specialties in Sri Lanka.


Nutritional Characteristics

Food in Sri Lankan has a strong taste, with many spicy aromas. Most people in Sri Lanka take rice, coconut meat, corn, and cassava as their main food. They prefer coconut milk and peppers, which are indispensable spices in almost all dishes.


Food in Sri Lankan



Eating Habits in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankans only grab food with right hands and rarely use utensils. The left hand is generally not used for eating or passing things, as the left hand is considered dirty by the locals. If you eat curry rice, take the sauce or soup with your hands and pour it on the rice. But if you're not used to it, you can also ask for dishes. Usually, two bowls of water are placed in front of each person before eating, clean water for clean hands, and cold boiled water for drinking.


There are four types of restaurants in Sri Lanka: hotels, tourist accommodations with their own restaurants, city restaurants, and bakeries. It should be noted that places with the word "hotel" in Sri Lanka are actually tea shops and do not offer accommodation.


Despite being a religious country, Sri Lanka has relaxed alcohol requirements. It is not difficult for tourists to find alcohol. It should be noted, however, that not all stores sell alcohol on the full moon day of every month.


Sri Lankans have a habit of chewing sauce leaves. They are used to grate a little lime on the sauce leaves, add a few slices of betel coconut, then roll them up and chew. It is said that this can refresh and aid digestion.


Specialties in Sri Lanka


Spices are very important for Sri Lankan cuisine, which has made Sri Lanka famous. Spices, especially the unique Ceylon cinnamon, attracted many colonialists from Portugal, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Ceylon cinnamon and another very famous spice cardamom is often used in curries, vegetables and rice with different flavors and then served with black pepper, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, turmeric root and black mustard seeds.


Sri Lanka is fertile and rich in spices. From Colombo to Kandy, the mountains and plains are full of tea and spice gardens. The landscape of these spice gardens is usually beautiful. The locals are also very happy about tourists visiting and will take you around.




Black tea

Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon, and its original meaning was tea. And it is now the third-largest tea producer in the world. Locals love to drink tea, not only after three meals a day, but also in the morning and afternoon. They usually drink black tea without added milk, because they feel that adding milk damages the aroma of the tea.


Teahouses here are scattered across the streets. The locals like to entertain guests with black tea. Visiting tea plantations in Sri Lanka, tasting local black tea, and buying souvenirs are the main local features.


Black Tea


Bay Leaf

Bay leaves are the basic ingredient of delicacies in Sri Lanka. They are the basic ingredients for delicious dishes, including lemon leaves with a rich citrus scent, aromatic pandan leaves, bay leaves in the jungle, and curry leaves. After frying or chopping, this dark green leaf exudes a very unique and rich fragrance that particularly stimulates the appetite. Curry leaves also promote digestion and blood circulation. Curry leaves have long been used as a traditional medicine to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol.



Generally, rice is steamed as a staple food. In fact, rice can also be cooked with spices, onions, soup, and ghee to make ghee rice or steamed with coconut milk, bay leaves, spices, and turmeric roots to make yellow rice. Everywhere in the capital Colombo, you can taste different tastes and types of rice and curry dishes.



When it comes to Sri Lankan cuisine, the first impression of many people is curry. Curry does not refer to a specific plant or sauce, but to the sum of different spices. Different combinations, ingredients, and proportions are coordinated and immediately become a new taste.


Curry and Rice was originally a specialty of India, but gradually spread to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankans add unique spices from Sri Lanka to their traditional curry and rice set, which makes it spicier. A bowl of rice, a bowl of curry, a bowl of soup, a few small pan dishes, a very spicy cold dish, this is usually a Sri Lankan curry and rice set. Curry is generally spicy in local restaurants, but dishes from high-end hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners are milder. Each restaurant has different side dishes, so visitors with special requirements should best ask in advance. The curry rice in the hotel may be much more expensive than the curry rice in the street restaurant.





Sri Lanka is a country close to the sea, and its seafood is definitely unique. All kinds of seafood are fresher after being processed by Sri Lankan chefs. Not only are they rich in taste, bright in color, and the price isn't very expensive. In the southern coastal cities, blue crabs, lobsters and groupers are the most popular food among tourists. You can choose a restaurant near the sea where you can not only see the beauty of the Indian Ocean, but also enjoy a rich buffet.

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