Food is what defines Sri Lanka best - the quality, diversity and uniqueness of the local dishes are something to look forward to! Described as one of the most complex of the region, the cuisine in Sri Lanka varies according to region, ethnicity and religion. In addition, colonial powers, foreign traders and South India have influenced the island's cuisine with their cooking styles and techniques. Due to this, there is a rich diversity of tastes available, ensuring that there is something to be enjoyed by everyone here.
The staple food here is rice - some locals eat it thrice a day! Rice is conventionally boiled or steamed and eaten with an assortment of colourful vegetable and meat curries. The highlight of these dishes is how they are spiced up with chilli, cardamom, cumin and coriander to produce delicately mild to raging hot flavours. These meals are usually served with condiments such as pickles, chutneys and sambols, in additional to papadam and fried salted chillies. Kiribath, the local term for milk rice is another popular dish that must be tried. This dish is prepared to mark special occasions and can be eaten with a mixture of red onions and spices (of course!) or jaggery and bananas.
Other Sri Lankan delights include string hoppers (steamed rice noodles), hoppers (similar to a very light pancake) and roti (paratha or chapatti style). Around the coastal areas there are several seafood options such as prawns, crabs, squid and more. Lamprais is another dish to try out, influenced by the Dutch, which consists of rice and accompaniments wrapped, baked and served in
banana leaves. For dessert, the Malay derived steamed pudding 'wattalapan' and buffalo curd 'mee-kiri' eaten with golden treacle are top favourites.
Many restaurants in Sri Lanka cater to foreign palates by offering special low-spice versions of local food or Western menu meals. Also, in developed and tourist areas, there is a wide spectrum of international gourmet and fusion cuisine options available.