Exotic Street Foods to Try in Colombo

Exotic Street Foods to Try in Colombo

Travelling and food – one of the best combinations a true traveller will experience. Anybody who wishes to get the best travelling experience will never skip the chance of tasting the authentic dishes that he/she encounters in his/her journey. Food is indeed a crucial aspect that portrays the country’s traditions and culture. That being said, we cannot forget the taste of street food. We can say that it is the taste of street food that best exemplifies the true culture and traditions of a particular country. Sri Lankan street food is one of the best examples that clearly portray the blend of cultures that exist in Sri Lanka. Now, let’s talk about some of the favourite street food items that will surely make your taste buds go “WOW”.

1. Kottu Roti

Kottu is one of the topmost favourite dishes among locals and foreigners. Its taste and aroma will surely make you crave this dish more and more. Kottu is a street food item that is mostly available after the clock hits 6 0’clock. Kottu is a dish that is normally made with shredded Godambha roti (another type of street food), vegetables, eggs, meat, and a lot of natural spices. Moreover, the Kottu comes in different variants. Cheese Kottu, String hopper Kottu, Dolphine Kottu are some of those variants. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, your cravings will be fully sorted out with this street food dish. The exciting part is that the chef uses two thin metal paddles to mix and chop the kottu into bite-size pieces. Nevertheless, the sight of preparing the dish is a must-watch as it is indeed entertaining. The chef never fails to surprise the customers with their rhythmic moves and sounds whilst making the dish.

2. Godambha Roti (Sri Lankan Paratha)

Sri Lankan street food is a twist of not only the cultures that reside inside Sri Lanka, but also it is infused with other cultures outside Sri Lanka. Likewise, Godambha roti which has its roots in Singapore, is a famous type of street food with a Sri Lankan touch to it. Godambha roti is made using an unleavened dough which is stretched until it becomes super thin and then laid on a hot surface. Godambha roti can be eaten as it is, but the scrumptious way to eat it is with some fiery fish curry or chicken curry and dhal curry. Not only that, Godambha roti can be further customized as per your requirement. You can either order it with an egg, meat, cheese, or with a vegetable filling. It is entirely your choice to choose how you want your Godambha roti to taste.

3. String Hoppers

Sri Lankan String Hoppers

What if you want to start your day with a super delicious breakfast but at a very low cost? Well, string hoppers are there for your rescue. It is a food item that is made using rice flour. A dough is made of rice flour, and then a special kind of moulding utensil is used to make rice noodles. They usually take the shape of flat spirals. A complete breakfast street food meal comprises string hoppers, coconut sambal, and dhal curry. Nonetheless, string hoppers are also available during the nights. However, it is not only a street food item but also a breakfast meal that is served in restaurants and hotels as well.

4. Hoppers and Egg Hoppers

Sri Lankan Hoppers

One of the best street food items equally visible during the mornings and nights is hoppers and egg hoppers. Not only in Colombo, Hoppers and egg hoppers are famous Sri Lankan cuisine all around the country. There is no way you can miss out on this authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. This is made by mixing rice flour and coconut milk into a light pancake batter. The batter is continuously stirred before pouring a spoonful of batter into small deep-bottomed pans to be cooked. The crunch at the edges of the hoppers brings in that extra pinch of magic into this. The plain spiral pancakes are known as hoppers, while for an egg hopper, an egg is cracked onto the middle of the hopper. Usually, hoppers are served with some Lunu miris (a spicy mixture made out of chilli and onions) or a spicy fish or chicken curry. However, a hopper without any side dishes even makes a nice snack during the evenings.

5. Vadei

Another staple food item around the Colombo streets and in other areas is Vadei. This particular street food item comes in different types. Ulundu vadei, parippu vadei, and isso vadei are the most prominent around the streets. A thick batter made out of undu flour is usually used to make Ulundu vadei, while parippu vadei is a patty made using lentils or dhal. On the other hand, the lentil patty is topped with prawns to make isso vadei. The significance of this food item is that it is a snack that you can have at any time of the day to satisfy your appetite.

6. Finger Foods (Samosa)

The Colombo streets are abundant with a variety of finger foods. Among the many finger foods available here, the delicious samosas are of significance. It is a small snack loaded with much aroma and flavour. The samosas are generously stuffed with some flavourful filling that is always distinct from each street food cart or stall. Nonetheless, the crunchy texture of the outer covering adds that extra bit of deliciousness to this snack. These triangular savoury snacks are either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. 

7. Achcharu (Sri Lankan Pickles)

Another street food item that is distinct to Sri Lanka is “Achcharu”. It can also be called by the name “Sri Lankan Pickles”. Achcharu is a concoction of sweet, sour, and tangy flavours. This scrumptious food item is equally popular among the locals and the foreigners. Mostly, the streets are full of achcharu carts that serve fruits like mangoes, lovi, guava, nelli (Gooseberries), veralu (Sri Lankan Olives), pineapples, ambarella (June plum), and apples mixed with a lot of spices. Understandably, the sight of achcharu will make a person question the level of spiciness but, the street vendors are always ready to make a new batch of achcharu just for you that will please your palate.

8. Spicy Snacks (Spicy Chickpeas, Manioc chips, and spicy peanuts)

The locals love their spicy snacks in Sri Lanka, and who serves the best ones? It is obviously the street vendors. The most popular spicy snacks are the fried chickpeas, peanuts, and manioc chips. Mostly, the locals love to enjoy these snacks with beverages. The street vendors serve chickpeas and peanuts in different forms. Cooked, fried, spicy, salty, or roasted, you name it, and you will never be disappointed by its deliciousness and its distinct flavours. Manioc chips, on the other hand, are another delicacy available in the Colombo streets. Its sweet and spicy flavour will surely satisfy your appetite.

9. Boondi

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WhatsApp Image 2021-06-24 at 3.26.24 PM
Among all the spicy street food items, Sri Lankan street food vendors never forget to satisfy the customers with a sweet tooth. Boondi is one such street food item that is available in Colombo. While you walk through the streets of Colombo, you will come across carts and stalls with transparent bags filled with red, yellow, and green coloured deep-fried chunks of batter. Boondi is made out of creamy batter. Tiny chunks of batter are deep-fried and then dipped in sugar syrup to give its sweetness. We all know that Sri Lankan cuisine is a blend of all cultures and traditions, and Boondi is also another food item that has its roots in India. However, the Sri Lankan street food sellers serve the best and the flavoursome kind of Boondi with a Sri Lankan touch.

10. Sri Lankan Pancakes with Pani Pol

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We all know the level of deliciousness that exists in pancakes when it is complemented with maple syrup or honey. Its taste is truly divine. However, the Sri Lankans have taken this combination to the next level and have come up with the idea of making “Pani Pol” as a filling for pancakes. Pani Pol is made out of freshly grounded coconut and coconut treacle. Nonetheless, spices like cinnamon and cloves are added to this filling to make it extra flavorful. These ingredients are cooked until it comes to right sticky texture. The Sri Lankan pancakes are thin and not too dense. The Sri Lankan pancakes are stuffed with Pani Pol in a way that makes each and every bite rich in flavour. Significantly, this is not only a street food item but a sweet delicacy that is also available in restaurants and hotels.

11. Saruwath

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As you walk through the streets of Colombo, you will encounter the sight of a colourful display of glasses filled with liquids in a variety of vibrant colours. This is the trademark of Saruwath vendors. Saruwath is served in several flavours. Lime, orange, pineapple, mix fruit, and strawberry is some of them. The juices are mixed well with water, sugar syrup, and ice and served with some chia seeds on the top. This is one of the best cold drinks that will easily quench your thirst in seconds. This is the perfect drink you can have during a hot and tiresome day.

12. Herbal Drinks

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Sri Lanka is a fertile country with a variety of herbals and Ayurvedic plants, and the street food vendors never fail to reap the maximum advantage of it. The herbal drinks available in Colombo are in higher demand among the locals as well as among foreigners. Kola Kenda, iramusu, and beli mal gain the prominence of all herbal drinks. Kola kenda is a Sri Lankan congee-type drink made with rice, coconut milk, and extract fresh juice from leafy vegetables. The value of this drink is that the leafy vegetables taken for this drink are of high nutritional and medicinal value. Iramusu, on the other hand, is a herbal found in Sri Lanka which is filled with medicinal value. Its fragrance and good taste always keep the local customers attracted to this drink. Last but not least, beli mal is in higher demand among the locals. Its taste might not be great, but its nutritional and medicinal value keeps all the street food customers attracted to this. These drinks not only help you to quench your thirst, but they also have high nutritional values.
If you ever hope to visit Sri Lanka someday, make sure to add the tag ‘tasting Sri Lankan street food’ to your bucket list because that experience will never make you feel disappointed. Colombo being the main bustling city in Sri Lanka, is loaded with a variety of street food stalls and carts. On a true note, one may feel a bit anxious about trying street food, and that anxiety is clearly comprehensible. However, Colombo is full of stalls and carts that serve the most hygienic and the yummiest street food that you will ever experience.