The Culinary Delights
Sri Lanka, the beautiful spice island once known as Ceylon, is a rich melting pot of cuisines. It seems every nationality that has visited and traded over the years has left its mark – the Dutch, Portuguese, English, Arabs, Malays, Moors and Indians.
The cultivation of many types of rice, spices, vegetables and fruit, coupled with past foreign influences, ensures that Sri Lanka enjoys a varied and select cuisine. As a staple, rice is consumed with an assortment of colourful curries (eggplant, potato, green banana, chicken, fish) that range in potency from delicately-spiced to near-dynamite.
Other Sri Lankan staples include hoppers (a pancake-like snack), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) and pittu (a mixture of flour and coconut). Lamprais - rice and accompaniments baked in plantain leaves - is a legacy of the Dutch. Seafood lovers will rejoice at the fresh fish, prawns, crab, squid and crayfish available. Desserts include buffalo curd eaten with palm-honey, and the Malay-derived caramel-like wattalapam.
Sri Lanka has a wonderful array of snacks, known as short eats, named cutlets, patties, malu pang (fish bun), and kimbula bunis (crocodile-shaped bun!) that are excellent for trips.