The last time I came to Sri Lanka, the food was certainly different, in a sense that we ate authentic Sri Lankan meals..the spiciness that one associates with the food you get in the country, brings about a welcome change to your taste buds. It isn’t very much different from what we get back in India, just that the preparation and the ‘spice quantity’ is a little more that generous here.
However this time, I noticed a distinct change in the way hotels presented their food, it was mostly ghaas phoos with little portions of actual meal (either fish/chicken). I mean what’s with the decoration on the plate with all the greens? I don’t think Indians really care much for decoration. We are more interested in the actual food. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many veggies on a plate. Seeing so much of veggies on my place, reminded me of the cows back in my country – they would have enjoyed it more. We aren’t the Chinese/Japanese who can survive on veggies, Indians eat wholesome portions of food (maybe not the whole 4 course meal and stuff.. but definitely NOT ghaas phoos)
The meals I truly enjoyed, were the breakfasts laid out in buffet style. It had a mix of Sri Lankan, Indian and American dishes which gave us the freedom to explore and eat what we liked.
Food you should definitely try out in Sri Lanka:
Seeni sambol.. is a combination of a sweet, sour and spicy sambol. It can be served with any savory meal or can be a good filling for the sandwiches. This seeni sambol is mostly served with String hoppers, yellow rice or bread in Sri Lanka.
String hoppers.. [known also as Idiyappam (in South India)] Great choice for breakfast or a light dinner. It is best eaten with coconut gravy or pol sambol (dish made from coconut). I personally love it with parippu (dal curry)
Parippu.. is the Sri Lankan version of Indian dal. Made thicker and it has a different taste to what we get in India. Make sure you taste it when you’re here. Best eaten along with string hoppers/rice.
Chicken/Fish Curry.. The chicken preparation is always spicy here, so make sure you have adequate parippu to mix it up or drink lots of water. Fish is another good choice (Seer Fish & Tuna among others)
Of course there’s a lot more to taste in terms of food in the country. The idea is to try out different food that you don’t find in your country.. but don’t over-eat. While the food may all be tasty to you, it is still food which your body isn’t used to.. so go slow. Make sure you aren’t eating ghaas phoos though.