Food Tourism

Our List of Sri Lankan Street Food to Tingle Your Senses

Sri Lanka, the serendipitous (where the word serendipity originated) is an island located in South Asia. With the intersection of its people, nature, cultural traditions and gastronomy, it’s a popular place to gorge on all of your senses and we have an ultimate list of Sri Lankan street food to tingle your senses.

Street food is great for any adventurous traveler as it is one of the sure ways to taste authentic culture with local ingredients, interact with locals and also be part of the day-to-day bustle of daily life. 

In Sri Lanka, the usage of spices and savory coconut looms over the streets. Exotic fruits and different types of vegetables are used in every dish. Ready for the top 10 street foods that you should try. 

Chili Meter:

  • 🌶️- Not that Spicy
  • 🌶️🌶️ – Sorta Spicy 
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️ – Medium Spicy 
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – Okay, my eyes are burning a bit
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – Is there milk to chase this down with?

1. Kottu Roti 

Roti is a flatbread that is similar to naan, but not exactly naan. The dish Kottu Roti uses roti as a base since the flatbread is flaky and then is added with eggs, spices and different types of vegetables to make a sizzling treat.

Some places preparing the dish may have vegetarian or vegan options available while others utilize chicken or beef.

Fun fact, Kottu Roti is also known as the national dish of Sri Lanka, so if you’re not trying this cuisine, you’re missing out on some serious cultural gastronomy introductions. 

Chili Meter: 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️

Kottu Roti

2. Samosas

Samasos can only be described as heavenly fried triangles stuffed with different spices and ingredients. Samosas are normally vegetarian or even vegan as they are stuffed with potatoes, onions, peas and spicy masala seasoning. 

Some samasos can also be made with meat for those meat lovers out there with a specialty of beef and mutton. Served with chutney, which can either be a mint spicy sauce or similar to ketchup, these fried treats may not be easy on the hips, but if you’re on vacation, then calories don’t count anyways. 

Chili Meter: 🌶️🌶️🌶️


3. Isso Vadai or Prawn Vadai

We couldn’t leave this post out without mentioning some of the Sri Lankan seafood staples. Isso Vadai or Prawn Vadai is made with a nest of spicy lentil cakes that are either integrated with a prawn or topped with a prawn. Prawn Vadai is the perfect finger food mix and with that seafood topping, any seafood lover is sure to feel in heaven.

Chili Meter: 🌶️🌶️🌶️

Prawn Vadai

4. Rice, Lentils and Fish

Another seafood staple is a simple dish that simply utilizes everyday ingredients found in Sri Lankan cuisine. Rice, as with most South Asian countries, is something that is seen in daily foods, whether it is for curry or added alongside different broth. While this dish may be served as part of a larger entree in restaurants, the little appetizer version served on the streets is a perfect snack or even a light lunch. The fish is even cooked differently with it being typically dried and the lentils are a mild flavor since the dried fish tends to be spicy. This is one of those staple Sri Lankan street food dishes. 

Chili Meter: 🌶️🌶️

Rice, Lentils and Fish

5. Manioc Chips

Have you ever tried manioc? Well if you’ve ever been to destinations like South America or even Africa, Thailand or Indonesia, then you’ve probably had the chance to try the infamous Cassava in many of its dishes. Cassava is a starchy vegetable that is turned into many different appeasing dishes and manioc chips are no different. Manioc chips are a salty and crunchy fried treat that can be bought from many street vendors. 

Chili Meter: No chilis

Manioc Chips

6. Saravita – A Sri Lankan Street Food Delight (Vegan Sri Lankan Food)

We have broken our regularly scheduled programming to bring to you, Saravita, the dessert that features the infamous coconut, a staple when walking around Sri Lanka. This dish mixes spices like cardamom, nutmeg and cloves that are paired with sugar and wrapped in a leaf called betel. 

Chili Meter: We should have added a sugar meter I suppose?


7. Hoppers

You will be hopping to get some hoppers. Hoppers are a popular breakfast food that is similar to a pancake and is infused with coconut milk and gets served with egg and curries. Crispy on the outside and a gooeyness on the inside, you’ll find every local serving this during the morning time. 

Chili Meter: 🌶️🌶️


8. Watalappam

Another dessert to add to your list and remember stressed is just dessert spelled backward and surely you won’t feel stressed when visiting this island oasis. Introduced in the 18th century by Malay immigrants, this utilizes the coconut in another way by mixing together coconut milk, cashews and a mix of warm spices, like coconut, cardamom and cloves.

Chili Meter: None, because this is the antonym of spicy…sweet.

And here is how to make it 👇🏻

9. Sour Fish Curry 

Curry cannot be missed when visiting Sri Lanka and maybe you are bound to try different curry dishes during your stay. However, sour fish curry is one of the best dishes to try in Sri Lanka and you will have a chance to really get the taste of the local land with its different types of spice blends and sauces. Sweet and sour flavor mixed with red onions and banana peppers served alongside fried rice and a flatbread on the side. 

Chili Meter: 🌶️🌶️

Sour Fish Curry 

10. Kola Kenda

Kola Kenda is another dish that can be found during breakfast and provides a good amount of nutrients for you to consume before your day begins. This drink, which is known as a medicinal blend for many people in the country, is mixed with rice and coconut milk and freshly squeezed leafy greens. While the original flavor is bitter, palm sugar typically gets added to balance out the acidity. 

Chili Meter: Health o meter, 100 percent.

From exploring the street foods of Colombo or Galle to celebrating the beautiful nature, get ready for a street food tour and treat in the serendipitous country of Sri Lanka. Here are the 10 Sri Lankan street foods that you need to try! 

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