10 Must-Try Local Bites When Visiting Sri Lanka.

The diversity of Sri Lankan flavour profile is one of the many things that we can be proud of. With different tastes and shades of tea, fruit plantations and a huge variety of traditional curries enrichened with spices, it's essential to say that our food culture is pretty darn unique.
 
Owing to this distinct flavour palette, we've had the pleasure of trying out some solid bites over the years, which is why we decided to compile this list of must-try local bites when visiting Sri Lanka.
 
If you are ever here, please give them a go, and let us know how they went. 

Black Pork Curry – The Exchange Pub

The Exchange Pub is special for two reasons. One – they let you bid for your drinks through a cool mobile app, and two – their excellent black pork curry. Enrichened with a chock full of pepper, goraka and tamarind, the meat here is cooked with a firm rind, while the inside is all tender and juicy. 

They offer it with a side of roast paan – which is simply one of the best combos you can get in Sri Lanka. 

Spicy Chicken Wings – The Irish

The Irish doesn't necessarily boast traditional Irish fare, but they do a bunch of good cocktails and excellent western dishes – which includes this well-executed plate of Spicy Chicken Wings. Firm on the outside, and soft on the inside, these wings are drenched in tangy Korean BBQ sauce that complements the whole dish rather than overpowering it.

Fried Mushrooms – The Keg

This one puts all the hot-buttered, meat/seafood-based dishes in Colombo to shame! We still LOVE the good old HBC, but the Fried Mushrooms at The Keg stands on par with all of them. Crunchy, and crispy with a splash of spiciness, it's one of the best veg-bites you can have in Colombo. 

HBC – Randoli

Now that we mentioned our love for HBC, here's what you should know about the best of that kind in Colombo. It took us years of researchtestingtasting to discover this, and we've been in love with it ever since. From flavour to spices to execution, everything is spot on. Plus, they generally don't re-fry, so you always get a freshly made batch of piping hot HBC. This one would go really nicely with a glass of chilled Lion beer. 

Pepper Pork – The Cabinet

Hotel Nippon is a historic landmark in Colombo, known for their legendary Mutton Rolls, but their Pepper Pork is solid too. You can find them at The Cabinet, Hotel Nippon's very own pub. The meat here is cooked to perfection with a firm rind, with one or two bits of fat that melt in your mouth. Seasoned with black pepper, crunchy green chillies and onions, it's one of the cheapest pork-based bites you can come across in Colombo. 

Mutton Roll – Next Innings

Brought to you by the popular triad – Chef Dharshan Munidasa and the cricketing stars, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara, Next Innings is the newest sports lounge in town. From Neapolitan pizza made from the world's only leather ball mosaic tiled pizza oven, to boozy cocktails, everything they've got is pretty great, but we particularly loved their Mutton Rolls. 

Stuffed to the brim with ample amounts of curried mutton, potato and onion bits, it was spiced well, and jam-packed with flavour. The roll itself was beautifully golden brown and had a good crunch to bite. It's probably the most expensive roll in town, but it's massive, and absolutely delicious.

Serai Chicken – Ask For Fern

Built around the whole speakeasy, blind tiger idea, Ask For Fern is a pub, which is tucked behind a flower shop. The Serai Chicken is their take on chicken wings. Smothered with a beautiful spice mix, these wings are sticky, messy, juicy and incredibly delicious. We couldn't quite locate the lemongrass flavour here as it had an abundance of sweet palm sugar syrup, but hey, we are not complaining. 

Pan Fried Prawns – RE.PUB.LK

Glazed to high heaven with a tangy sauce, RE.PUB.LK's plate of Pan Fried Prawns is a delight. If you prefer it spicy, make good use of their green chilli sauce. After all, that's just what we need with our ice cold bottle of Lion Lager, am I right?

Salt and Pepper Baby Calamari – Honey Beach Club (The Kingsbury Hotel)

Offered with the side of Aioli Dip, Honey Beach Club's Salt and Pepper Baby Calamari can make a grown man cry. With a heap of chilli flakes scattered about, it's perfectly crispy, chewy and well-seasoned. 

Chicken Kottu – Machang

One does not simply take a stroll down a street of Sri Lanka without trying a kottu, which is a popular dinner-staple made with chopped flatbread, mixed and mashed with meats, veggies, sauces and spices. Not only that, this is the most Lankan tapa you can come across, especially if you are going to a pub, away from the central-Colombo. Machang's take on Chicken Kottu has got every element right, from flavour to texture, which is why it's one of the best bites that you can try.

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