Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.
Published September 20th 2018
Colombo, Sri Lanka's commercial capital is a place for the connoisseur to let loose and have the time of their life. It is a place where food will lead to understanding the deeper threads of island life.
1. Sri Lankan rice and curry
No meal in Sri Lanka would be complete without the Sri Lankan rice and curry. It is the staple food in every household in the country and is found from the best hotels in Colombo to the vendor who stands by the road selling food. The composition of the meal, of course, varies. Rice could be white rice or red rice, depending on the health consciousness of the consumer. It is unlikely that there would be any rice and curry meal without a dhal curry. In addition to that, there are about two or three other vegetables, one spicy, one mild, one fried, and a meat of sorts, an egg, or soya for vegetarians. Usually wrapped in a banana leaf or a polythene sheet, the rice and curry in Sri Lanka are found at extremely different price points
Hoppers| Img by: Paul Joseph via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
Hoppers are a favourite night-time snack in Colombo. Made from a flour and egg mix, they are crispy on the edges and have a soft, fluffy middle. Hoppers can be prepared within 2 minutes or so, making it the ideal food to have for a sudden craving. There are different versions of hoppers: egg hoppers, and honey hoppers being more famous. Egg hoppers have an egg in the middle of the hopper, on the fluffy bit. Honey hoppers are a sweet variant that makes use of jaggery. Hoppers are usually served with a chilli paste-like sambol, usually quite spicy. Some prefer to eat it with fish curry or other mild curries too.
A quintessential part of Colombo nightlife kottu came into existence as a means of using leftover food. Now it has evolved into a meal of its own. Made from strips of roti-like bread, it is a mixture of different meats, vegetables, eggs, and in the most famous version, topped with cheese. Kottu can be made as spicy or as non-spicy as one would want to. Making of kottu, the banging of two metal plates on the metal counter is a distinct sound that is a signature of Colombo.
4. Hot Butter Cuttlefish
Hot Butter Cuttlefish| Img by: jimmyweee via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
Hot Butter Cuttlefish or HBC is one of the most popular bar snacks in Colombo. Whether it is in a bar at The Kingsbury Colombo or sitting by a lonely beach with a cold beer in hand, HBC is a must-have dish. It is a blend of Chinese HBC and Sri Lankan spices, a batter-fried goodness of cuttlefish combined with spices to make it the perfect crunchy companion. It can be paired up with rice or noodles as well, in addition to serving as bar food.
5. Vegetable Roti
Roti| Img by: Devika via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0
Although termed roti, it is a triangular snack that is filled with vegetables. The outer casing is made from a roti, which is then filled with a mixture of spicy vegetables. This is then folded into a triangle and skillet fried. The best vegetable roti is hot and steaming and has a healthy amount of filling inside. It is a good snack to have on the go and can easily substitute for a lunch or a dinner if one is in a rush.