We’ve said it before, but Sri Lankan cuisine is delicious. Fragrant curries, spicy seafood dishes, sticky desserts and SO MUCH TROPICAL FRUIT, Sri Lanka may be a small island, but it packs a huge punch when it comes to food.
Breakfast is no exception, but is likely to be pretty different to what you might be used to at home. We chatted to our Colombo-based Content Coordinator Ann Perera about her favourite breakfast dishes – she recommends skipping the cereal and adding these tasty treats to your morning repertoire.
The must-try Sri Lankan breakfasts
The idea of curry for breakfast may take a couple of days to warm up to, but once you embrace it you may find it tricky going back to jam on toast or soggy cornflakes. Sri Lankan curries vary greatly depending on where you are, but expect to see chicken and fish curries, a soupy mix of coconut and potato, hard-boiled eggs in a mild coconut sauce, thick orange dahl, and an array of spicy, coconutty sambols. Load up your plate – or your hopper – and enjoy.
2. Kiribath (Milk Rice)
One of the tastiest breakfast dishes in Sri Lanka is milk rice. A bit like a savoury rice pudding, kiribath is made by boiling white or brown kakulu rice (a type of Sri Lankan rice) with water and coconut milk until it becomes glutinous and sticky. It’s pressed into a tray and cooled, then sliced into squares and served with a chilli and onion sambol, called Lunu Miris. Want to enjoy it the way the locals do? Ann recommends trying it with spicy chicken or fish curry.
3. Aappa (Hoppers)
When it comes to Sri Lankan must eats, hoppers are at the top of the list for almost all food-loving travellers. A batter of rice flour and coconut milk is poured into a bowl-shaped hopper pan, which allows a crispy thin outer layer and a slightly thicker centre. Now comes the
fun yum part: loading up your hopper with accompaniments. Have it with an egg, curry and sambol, or with treacle and banana for a sweet treat.
4. Indiappa (String hoppers)
Another (very yummy) breakfast staple is string hoppers. A soft dough is made by mixing together rice flour and water, which is placed into a string hopper press and squeezed onto mats to make the noodle-like string hoppers. The long stringy noodles are steamed until voila, you’ve got a small mound of string hoppers. You can eat them with a variety of curries – a few of our favourites include spicy chicken or fish, young jackfruit curry (polos curry), and potato curry. Locals usually mix in some Pol Sambol, a traditional Sri Lankan condiment made with freshly grated coconut, chilli and red onion, and it’s DELICIOUS.
5. Pani pol (Sri Lankan pancakes)
You’ve probably gathered by now that most Sri Lankan breakfasts pack a pretty spicy little punch, but this one’s perfect for the sweet-toothed traveller. A batter made from wheat flour, coconut milk, egg and turmeric is poured onto a hot pan and topped with fresh grated coconut, jaggery (a type of cane sugar) and spices. The pancake is then rolled into a neat little parcel, and is best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea.
And that’s just breakfast! To try these and a stack of other incredible Sri Lankan treats, join us on a small group adventure in Sri Lanka now.
Feature image by Ryan Bolton.