Sri Lankan street food is a source of pure delight for every soul. It highlights the cultural taste of every city. You will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of flavors you can find while roaming the streets of Sri Lanka.
Every Sri Lankan street food is made with a balance of convenience, taste, and even price. There are many vegetarian and non-veg options among the street food in Sri Lanka.
Bundling fresh ingredients and local spices, most dishes tend to be hot and spicy. However, you can also find many options catering to your taste preference. Here are some of the best Sri Lankan street food in Sri Lanka to try.
Sri Lankan Street Food – Bread And Pancakes
Kottu (Chopped Roti)
This flatbread with a crispy texture is a famous Sri Lankan street food prepared in a unique style. The dish is created by chopping flatbread (godamba roti) on a large skillet.
On order, the chef chopped the fried roti and combined it with several vegetables, meat, and eggs. All these ingredients are mixed on a large flat skillet with two steel chopping cutters. The result is a slightly spicy dish served with a curry sauce.
There are several popular spots to try this delightful street food in Sri Lanka. Galle Face Green is one famous point for serving the best-tasting kottu roti. You can also order a vegetarian kottu or a non-veg, the choice is yours.
This is just one of the many things Sri Lanka is famous for, be sure to give it a try if you visit!
Hopper is another well-known street food of Sri Lanka loved by both locals and tourists. This crispy snack is a kind of pancake with a savory or sweet taste. You can eat it for both dinner and breakfast in Sri Lanka.
A single street food market can have several versions of hoppers such as egg hoppers, string hoppers, and plain hoppers. String hoppers have an interesting visual, resembling nests. It is enjoyed with a variety of curry.
Egg hoppers are most in demand among the locals. They are made with a runny batter of rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar. An egg is cracked in the center and is served with a spicy sambal.
The plain hoppers are simply made with flour and served with Katta sambol. Every version of this Sri Lankan street food has its flavors and delights. Try them all and find which one you like the most.
Paan Roll (Fried Pancakes)
Pan Roll is a famous Sri Lankan street food locally eaten as a snack. These rolls are also known as Chinese rolls because… well they resemble Chinese egg rolls. Some people thought that Chinese laborers took the snack to Sri Lanka during the colonial period.
The delicious rolls are made by wrapping spicy potato and mashed tuna filling in a thin pancake. The thin pancake is then breaded and deep-fried till crispy. It is incredibly crispy and juicy.
Ella is one good spot to try these deep-fried rolls in its magnificent surroundings. You can get these delightful Sri Lankan snacks from street vendors, and they taste even better with hot tea.
Pol Roti (Coconut Flatbread)
Pol roti is simply described as a coconut roti or coconut flatbread. This classy Sri Lankan street food is usually eaten at breakfast or dinner. Some people also like to enjoy it as a snack with their evening tea.
The roti is made with grated coconut, chopped onion, curry leaves, and green chilies. All these ingredients are mixed with coconut milk to make the dough. It tastes wonderful and can be enjoyed with a variety of side dishes.
You can find this delicious Sri Lankan street food at roadside restaurants. While it is usually eaten with chilies, you can also enjoy it with chicken curry.
Roast Paan (Thin Roasted Bread)
Roast paan is arguably the all-time favorite Sri Lanka street food. It is also known by the name Thati paan. The snack is a traditional Sri Lankan bread loved by everyone.
It is one of those goodies that is also ideal for breakfast. This Sri Lankan fast food is quite famous for its crust and super crispy character. It is made with flour, sugar, yeast, and coconut milk.
You can easily find dozens of street vendors selling this soft bread with several accompaniments. The food is usually enjoyed with coconut sambal, lentils, or fish curry. You can also try it plain by dipping it in tea.
Dosa (Sri Lankan Thin Pancakes)
Dosa is a trendy Sri Lankan street food with a crispy texture. It is a kind of large crispy and thin pancake originating from southern India. In Sri Lanka, it is also known as “those” and is enjoyed in a variety of forms.
Masala dosa is one famous version with a spicy filling of potato, lentils, potato, fenugreek, and curry leaves. It tastes crispy and slightly savory. The street vendors serve it with the traditional Sri Lankan sambar and chutney.
This incredible street food of Sri Lanka is available from any street food market in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Street Food – Fritters And Patty
Parippu Vada (Lentil Fritters)
Parippu Vada or Vadai is another significant part of Sri Lankan street foods. It is a kind of fritter with a crunchy and spicy flavor. The snack tastes heavenly and pairs best with beer or Sri Lankan arrack.
This street food of Sri Lanka is made from red split lentil dal and split pigeon peas. Diced onion, green chilies, ginger, and curry leaves are added for flavoring. The mixture is flattened to make little patty balls and then deep-fried.
The Jaffna region is famous for serving the delicious parippu vada throughout Sri Lanka. You should visit this area to sample the divine taste of these fritters.
Ulundu Vada (Lentil Patty)
Ulundu Vada is a savory snack found in almost every street food market in Sri Lanka. The dish comes straight from Sri Lanka but is enjoyed in almost all South Asian countries. The locals mostly eat it as a satisfying evening snack as they make it at home as well.
These tasty treats are prepared with black lentil batter. The batter is fried into a donut-shaped snack. It feels crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
People usually enjoy this street food in Sri Lanka by dipping it in hot sambal. The street vendors served it with coconut chutney. Every bite is delicious and comforting to the soul.
Sri Lankan Street Food – Dumpling And Rice Cake
Lavariya (Sweet Dumplings)
Lavariya is a routine street food that can also serve as a fulfilling dessert in Sri Lanka. It is locally enjoyed as an evening snack.
The dish is a sweet dumpling made with stuffed string hoppers. The sweet stuffing is made of creamy coconut milk and jaggery, thereby giving it a creamy and sweet taste.
This Sri Lankan street food is more common in the rural areas of the country. You can enjoy freshly made lavariya from street vendors and small restaurants on the rural streets.
Pittu (Coconut Rice Cake)
Pittu is another traditional Sri Lankan street food with a satisfying taste. It originated from the region of Kerala, India where it is known as the Puttu. In Sri Lanka, it is enjoyed at any time of the day.
This street food in Sri Lanka is a kind of rice cake made with rice flour and coconut. The mixture of these two ingredients is steamed and layered in a cylindrical shape. It has a crumbled texture and is served with coconut milk, lunumiris, fish, meat, or vegetable curry.
This Sri Lankan street food is easily available at many local restaurants and street vendors.
Discovering Sri Lankan Street Food
While many travelers may be cautious to eat from the streets, Sri Lankan street food does offer plenty of unique flavors to satisfy hungry souls. They are good for quick bites or an energizing meal.
The hawkers and street vendors are always ready to surprise your taste buds with the taste of Sri Lankan cuisine. So take some time to acclimatize your stomach, but don’t miss exploring the magical taste of street food in Sri Lanka.