Known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” and the “Teardrop of India,” Sri Lanka is now becoming one of the most popular destination to visit in South Asia.
A small country but very diverse with plenty of charm and beauty; from incredible wildlife and pristine beaches to ancient ruins and legendary tea plantations, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this tiny island. Applying for a short Sri Lanka visa is relatively easy. There are many sites online that you can go to and fill out a visa application.
Sri Lanka dishes are not for the faint at heart as it is a combination of sour lime pickle and seenie sambal (with sweet caramelized onion) and head-for-the-hills curries. These are robust flavors that will clear your sinuses, and this small isle will allow you to experience unapologetically punch-you-in-the-face cooking.
Because Sri Lanka is on the tip of India, a common question that is asked is if the food is similar to Indian food. The short answer would be, kind of, but there are distinct differences. For example, the rice and curry spreads that are found in Sri Lankan meals differ from the Indian Goan vindaloo or saag paneer that you would taste at Indian buffet restaurants.
Sri Lankan foods give you a bizarre taste of spicy, sweet and sour flavors. It is one of a kind blend of flavors that’s for sure. Another difference is the lentil curry. It looks similar to many Indian versions, but the thinner curries are more liberally spiced than what India serves up.
Sri Lankans pride themselves on having their own identity and culture separate from India.
The most common ingredients in any Sri Lankan dish are coconut, rice and locally-grown vegetables and tropical fruits. The farmers grow 15 rice varieties, used to make rice flour hoppers (aka pancakes), or string hoppers (aka rice noodles).
Besides rice, coconut is another active ingredient of choice. Every rice and curry dish is served with scraped coconut (pol sambal) spiced to taste. Sri Lankans also drink coconut water and of course the fruit is used in the island sweets.
Although the island is relatively small, it is made up of many different religious groups and cultures. Seventy-five percent of Sri Lankans are Buddhist eat the typical Sri Lankan dishes. The Tamils who are Hindu and live mainly in the northern part of the island use different ingredients and spices in their curries. The Muslim population located on the east coast, stake claim to dishes from other regions of the world such as biryani and they also enjoy Dutch and Portuguese candies and desserts.
Curries dominate the island in the food industry. It is consumed as breakfast, lunch, dinner and side dishes. Sri Lankan curries feature sizable chunks of fresh protein swimming in bright spiced broths. Near the water, fish, shrimp or crab brews in the curry sauce. In the mountains, various meats such as pork, chicken, beef, goat and lamb are served with curry. The most popular curry dish island-wide is Crab curry.
So if you ever visit Sri Lanka, don’t be afraid of the strong flavors. Embrace the culture and various dishes from all over the island. One thing is for sure -- no dish will ever taste the same.