I’ve never tried Sri Lankan cuisine before visiting the country so I had no idea what to expect. After travelling the country for two weeks, I can confirm the Sri Lankan diet is basically 70% carbs. This sounded so dreamy to me until my stomach just couldn’t process any more rice or roti a week in. That being said, the food is amazingly tasty and incorporates all the produce that is grown right in the country (something that Westerners need to learn). 

Of all the dishes I tried, here are my top 5 things I would recommend trying when you visit Sri Lanka:

1. COCONUT ROTI. Exactly what it sounds like - a thicker roti with a hint of coconut mainly eaten during brekky. This is a Sri Lankan staple and probably my favourite thing I had during the two weeks.

Beware of bugs/spiders/lizards when eating, especially when eating in the jungle. This was taken in our lovely guesthouse in Habarana, Sri Lanka.

Beware of bugs/spiders/lizards when eating, especially when eating in the jungle. This was taken in our lovely guesthouse in Habarana, Sri Lanka.

2. RICE & CURRY. You can’t NOT find this dish on any Sri Lankan menu, it’s everywhere but the curry choices are endless. Did you know you can make curry out of literally anything? EVEN JACKFRUIT! My favourites were all veg curries - polo (jackfruit), dahl (lentil), pumpkin, beetroot, eggplant and potato. Tr y Jaga Food in Polonnaruwa pictured below for an awesome curry buffet and say hi to the komodo dragon!

jaga food sri lanka
sri lankan food

3. CURD & HONEY. Basically their version of greek yoghurt made from buffalo milk, often served for dessert. It’s thick and creamy and tasty.  

sri lankan curry

4. FRIED RICE/NOODLES. Weird to think Sri Lankans eat a lot of fried rice and noodles but this was also on every menu. Usually very simple and DRY since they cut up the noodles into tiny pieces and tastes nothing like you think it would but easy and cheap. Often eaten with ketchup.

5. FRUIT, FRUIT & FRUIT. BANANAS, COCONUTS, WATERMELONS. I LOVE fruit and Sri Lankan fruit is so fresh and yum. Bananas are my fave and coconuts can be found anywhere.


I honestly enjoyed all the vegetarian dishes way more than the meat dishes. They really know how to make the veggies tasty so you don’t even need meat in your diet to be satisfied. There are also other traditional dishes that everyone recommends like Kottu (a dish made from leftovers consisting of roti, veggies and some protein like chicken in a stir fry aka dirty drunk food), Hoppers (mixture of water and flour…cooked to look like a little bowl) and wood apple (fruit with a wooden exterior that tastes like blue cheese but I wasn’t brave enough to try it) but I wasn’t a big fan of any of these. 

The infamous wood apple OR you can have the smoothie version of it…either way, think smelly.

The infamous wood apple OR you can have the smoothie version of it…either way, think smelly.

I didn’t like these either, they had a sugary filling - anyone know what they’re called? I forget!

I didn’t like these either, they had a sugary filling - anyone know what they’re called? I forget!


Sri Lankans do not do Western food well as expected but there are Western options basically everywhere in case you missed a good old burger. Eat at your own risk and prepare to be disappointed. The rice and curry route is always the way to go - it’s way cheaper and pretty much always good. Just skip the rice if you can’t cope well with the carb load like me. Colombo is decent for Western food - Life Food was a great find for a slice of cafe life! Oh ya…make sure to try the Fosters water, hahaha!

fosters water


Food can be dirt cheap depending on what city you’re in and what restaurant you choose. Restaurants catered to tourists offering Western food will no doubt be more expensive (around 700-1000rps per dish which is $5-$8CAD). We’ve also had rice and curry dishes for as low as 200rps per dish which is about $2CAD. It’s all about walking around and comparing. Tripadvisor can be your best friend to find some of the best and cheapest options but only use it as a guide, not a bible.  

This meal was about $2 and super greasy. Think my belly hurt after, thank you TripAdvisor!

This meal was about $2 and super greasy. Think my belly hurt after, thank you TripAdvisor!

My advice is just to try everything at least once and see what you like. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a vegetarian. :)  

This post didn’t have many nice photos so here’s a picture of me chilling hard in my go-to travel outfit on a hammock in the middle of nowhere (Tangalle, Sri Lanka). Weeeeeee!

tangalle sri lanka


Sri Lanka has gotten a lot of attention lately for being an 'up and coming' travel destination. It's cheap, easy to navigate and not super touristy. I came in with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised by the different experiences this small country provided. Sri Lanka is clearly capitalising on the boost of tourism, charging tourists way more than a local. Some attractions can cost up to $30USD to get in! This is why my favourite attraction in Sri Lanka was the train ride from Kandy to Ella. Not only do you get the same rate as the foreigners but it's an amazing 7 hour journey through some of the most scenic parts of Sri Lanka. 



I loved travelling around Sri Lanka and using their public transportation system - it's fun and very easy to navigate. The Kandy to Ella train ride has been named “the most beautiful train ride in the world”. Of all the train rides I’ve taken, I have to agree with its reputation - this one is the most beautiful in my books. You go through never ending tea plantations, mountains and small towns so there's a real mix of scenery. The entire route is stunning and the fact that you can sit with your feet dangling out the doors is so refreshing (a major 'life is good' moment). Like any transport system, the energy on our train was high - people drumming and making music, vendors shouting, loud cheers whenever we reached a tunnel. Instead of a 6 and a half hour train journey, it was like a party instead because what else can you do on a train? 


There are two train times leaving at 8:47AM and the other at 11:10AM. We took the 8:47AM option and highly recommend this. You’ll get to Ella earlier (trust me, you'll want to get to Ella early!) and you’ll also be able to see everything in the daylight as the train journey takes about 6 and a half hours. But be aware because on any given day, it’s busy. 

Here's a sneek peak of Ella for you: 



We tried going to the train station a day before to reserve tickets but this doesn’t exist. Unless you booked months in advance through a tour company, you cannot get a reserved ticket. The best option is to go on the morning of the train to buy a second class unreserved ticket.

The ticket office opens an hour before the train leaves…you’ll see the line - it’s the one full of tourists. You can literally buy the train ticket up until last minute, this is not the important part. The most critical part is figuring out where to stand on the platform to enter the correct carriage. Stand somewhere in the middle of the platform and be prepared for a little pushing when the train arrives. We were lucky to be the last ones to fit on a second class carriage and get the door seat! 



As with all transportation in Sri Lanka, the train ride cost us peanuts. We paid 240rps per person which is equivalent to about $2CAD for the long train journey - WHAT A STEAL!


I thought the middle bit, hours 2 to 5, of the train journey was the best part. You get to go through multiple tea plantations then see beautiful, mountainous landscapes. I remember seeing signs that said part of the train journey was 1500m above sea level. I didn’t expect it but Sri Lanka is full of green, lush landscape. Also, seeing the train wrap around with all the legs, faces and arms hanging out was majestic in itself. 

FINAL TIPS (these will be useful!)

  • Even if the carriage looks full, there’s always more room. Don’t be afraid to squeeze yourself in or else you’ll be asked to move to the third class carriages even if you paid for a second class seat. 
  • The best seat is actually just on the edge of the door. They don’t close the doors at all so you can chill on the edge and watch the landscape right in front of you. 
  • Wear closed toe shoes if sitting on the edge of the door - you’ll be hit by leaves or branches. It can be a close call between your feet and whatever you’re passing. 
  • Buy food and water before you go - there are many vendors selling snacks along the ride but if you don’t want to eat fried foods, peanuts or pre-cut fruit, I would recommend just buying a couple of bananas. 
  • Sit on the right hand side. We found the better views here. 
  • Wave and smile. You’ll pass many people along the route.
Photo by  Callum Upfield