The cuisine of Sri Lanka incorporates an eclectic blend of culinary traditions from southern India, Malaysia, the Middle East, England, the Netherlands and Portugal. This unique mixture of tastes and textures is a byproduct of Sri Lanka's long history as a center of international trade and the many years that the country was under the control of European colonial powers.


Sri Lanka is famous for its spices; the spices of Sri Lanka attracted traders and colonists to the island's shores. Consequently, Sri Lankan food is known for its spiciness - Sri Lankan cuisine is considered by some to be among the spiciest cuisines in the world.


Spices that are commonly used in Sri Lankan recipes include black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, cinnamon and cardamom. Chilis and onions are often added to food to enhance the flavour further. Dried fish is sometimes also used to improve flavor.


Rice is a staple food.


Coconut, often in the form of coconut milk, is a common ingredient in Sri Lankan dishes.


The jackfruit is often used in Sri Lankan cooking.


Curries are very popular in Sri Lanka. A curry can contain meat or fish, or it can be entirely vegetarian.


There are three main kinds of curries in Sri Lanka: white, which are made with coconut milk; black, which are made with roasted spices; and red, which are spiced mostly with red chili.


The puttu consists of rice and coconut shaped into a cylinder. Puttu is often served as part of a curry.


A curry may be served with poppadoms - a type of flat, crisp wafer.


The hopper or appa is a crispy pancake-like dish made with coconut milk. The hopper is shaped like a basket. Sometimes an egg, sunny-side up, is placed in the middle of the basket. Palm wine can be used as a leavening agent and a flavor enhancer.


Lamprais is a Sri Lankan dish with a strong Dutch influence. Lamprais consists of pieces of chopped meat, curry and rice - all wrapped in a banana leaf.


Popular Sri Lankan condiments include chutney, a jelly-like food which contains fruit, vinegar and sugar, and sambal, a sauce made with chili.


Short eats are the Sri Lankan equivalent of appetizers or hors d'oeuvres. Examples of short eats include Chinese egg rolls, samosas (triangular-shaped, stuffed, fried pastries), or vadai (deep-fried pastries that are doughnut shaped.) Vadai is often made with a concoction of dried lentils known as dhal.


Desserts in Sri Lanka often contain palm syrup or buffalo milk curd.