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Delicious Food You Must Try in Colombo for the Ultimate Food Journey

Updated on June 14, 2020

Sri Lankan Cuisine


About the Lankan Cuisine

The cuisine in Sri Lanka is made up of various South Asian cooking styles from different parts of the continent and there are recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Read on to know more about how you can have delicious food in Colombo, while you explore the city leisurely.

Planning your food tour

If this is your first trip to the country the best way to explore everything Colombo has to offer in terms of delicious food is to place yourself in a centrally located hotel or resort so that all the luxury restaurants in Colombo are nearby. Before your trip to Sri Lanka, you can always visit food and restaurant blogs online and select places to visit on your own. Although you can be guided by a good map of the city online or just Google Maps the best way to travel around Colombo while you are exploring the food in the area is by a three-wheeler or it tuk-tuk.

Go to Pettah

Most of the cafes and restaurants in Colombo are scattered over a wide area. However, there has always been a concentration of old restaurants in Pettah, which is the heart of the older part of Colombo. This place offers a variety of food choices to suit a range of consumers close to the main bus terminal and the largest railway terminal in the area. This place is also known to be one of the biggest commercial spots in the city and any food tour in Colombo should definitely start here because you can sample street food and also many kinds of local snacks and drinks from the cafes and bars here. The one place you definitely must not miss out on is the Pettah floating market and the tiny snack and street stores nearby. A typical fruity snack you can have in Colombo is a chopped-up selection of local fruits like mangoes, pineapples, olives and guava which is served with a little bit of chilli powder, salt and sugar. This makes for a great snack when you are walking around and exploring the city at any time of the day. Yet another must-try food when you are in Colombo, especially in Pettah, is the karate, Kotthu Roti. This is a combination of chopped up roti that is mixed with vegetables and sauteed it with pieces of seafood or meat gravy. The portions here are simply large and can be shared by two people at a time.

Slave Island

If you speak to any foodie in Sri Lanka, they will definitely mention this historical landmark known as the Slave Island. Apart from being a destination during your food journey in Colombo, this place can also teach you a lot about the original architecture of the area which dates back to about early 20th century. This was known for being a posh Colonial Watering Hole back in the day. Slave island is full of many little restaurants and pop-up cafes where you can grab a cheap meal.


The food scene in this part of Colombo is mainly dominated by 5-star hotels and boutique hotels. The one other thing you should not miss out is the Dutch Hospital which can be found near Galle Face.

Galle Road

Galle Road, particularly the area between Colpetty and the Bambalapitiya junction, has long been a foodie hotspot as they are main traffic junctions in a prominent commercial area and are stop-off points for buses and trains. The eclectic mix of eateries here includes western fast-food restaurants, quite a few eateries that serve South Indian fare, ice cream shops, coffee shops, Sri Lankan restaurants and the famous Hotel de Pilawoos, popular among night owls for its cheese kottu rotis. However, the all-time favourite has to be the iconic Bombay Sweet House located right at the Colpetty junction and the one found in the Wellawatte junction, as it sells the most scrumptious Bombay sweets and milkshakes.


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