This is our quick list of a few places to get hoppers in Colombo. Also check out the comments for more suggestions below.
Hoppers (also called aappa or appam) are a Sri Lankan dinner favourite. They're crispy round pancakes usually served in a batch, that includes some plain and some egg hoppers. You can have them with just a bit of onion and chilli or with a range of curries. Hoppers have even been involved in political drama .
These are some of our favourite places to get hoppers in Colombo (in no particular order).
But first, some hopper facts:
Hoppers are usually in the Rs. 15-40 range
1. Upali's 65, CWW Kannangara Mawatha, Colombo 7 112 695 812
Upali's has always been a favourite for Sri Lankan comfort food. The hoppers here are made fresh and they're the right mix of crispy and soft in the centre. You get three plain and one egg hopper for Rs. 200 and it comes with lunumiris, katta sambal or pol sambol.
2. Cafe On The Fifth 108, 5th Lane, Colombo 3 112 573 765
Cafe on the 5th is yet another popular aappa joint in Colombo. Their regular hoppers (Rs. 15) are light and crispy with a somewhat shallow centre (similar to a mada nathi aappa). The egg hopper (Rs. 40) we got wasn't as crispy as we would have liked, but the egg itself was a perfect sunny side up.
3. Kushmi Dutugemunu Street, Kohuwala 112 853 244
Kushmi is a crowd favourite among hopper enthusiasts, whether in Wellawatte, Kohuwala or Mount Lavinia. We tried the ones in Kohuwala and they were pretty awesome. The egg hoppers taste great, have a thick egg centre and short, crunchy sides.
4. Green Cabin 453, Galle Road, Colombo 3 112 588 811
Green Cabin is a very old favourite for Sri Lankan food, and like we've mentioned in our review of the place, any old auntie or uncle will tell you that it used to be one of the only eating out options in Colombo back in the day. Their egg hoppers are good, though were kind of runny (some people like that — try mixing sambol into the egg), and there's a substantial crunchy section keeping with the typical Sri Lankan hopper ratio of 1:2.
5. Walkers' Cafe Independence Walk, Colombo 7
Walkers' Cafe is the only proper food place within the Independence Square grounds. You'll find it on your right if you're heading out the joggers' pathway from Independence Square towards Stanley Wijesundara Mawatha. They make consistently good hoppers, and most importantly, some absolutely dynamite katta sambal.
6. Grand Oriental Hotel York Street, Colombo 1 112 320 320
The Grand Oriental Hotel hosts a good 'hoppers night' outside, on Fridays and Saturdays. You can watch our video about it above. It's in the evenings from 7.30-11PM and it's an all- inclusive buffet that costs Rs. 750. If you're in the neighbourhood with a group of friends, this is not a bad way to have dinner.
7. Kaema Sutra Independence Arcade, Colombo 7 112 670 722
Probably the most controversial hoppers on this list, these are priced at Rs. 100 for a regular hopper and Rs. 200 for the (double) egg hopper. They are pricey, without a doubt, but also much larger than the standard hopper at around 8''. With a well-seasoned and slightly crispy crust and a soft centre, we couldn't really find much fault with them when it came to taste. And if it's 8'', why not throw in an extra egg, right?
8. Uva Hotel St. Michaels Street, Colombo 3
Uva Hotel is a little hole in the wall, just around the corner from Liberty cinema. Look for a red board with Sinhala lettering. We absolutely loved the hoppers we got here — they had a really wonky shape, but the egg hoppers were delicious and thick in the middle, with a heaping of pepper for flavour.
9. Sagara Hotel W.A. Silva Mawatha, Colombo 6
Sagara is another hole-in-the-wall spot for take-away dinner. Their hoppers are alright, and qualify for the ideal 1:2 hopper ratio. But ratio isn't everything, if Uva's misshapen yet delicious hoppers are anything to go by.
10. VOC Cafe 114, Reid Avenue, Colombo 4 112 584 511
VOC Cafe (in the Dutch Burgher Union, but open to all) does the best lamprais in the city and they also do excellent breakfast and lunch buffets. Their dinner buffet also usually includes hoppers.
We've heard good things about the hoppers at these places too, though we haven't tried them out yet. Our apologies, there are only so many hoppers we could eat.
Yacht Cabin at Global Towers Marine Drive, Colombo 6 112 591 000
Global Towers has a little tiki-like hut near the beach that does hoppers in the evening.
Renuka Hotel 328, Galle Road, Colombo 3 112 573 598
Renuka is known for their thosai, but they also do good hoppers. And Curry Leaf. Check them out too.
So that's our list of good hopper places. But the hopper spectrum in Colombo is vast, so we're pretty sure there are loads of places we still need to try out. Let us know in the comments about your favourite aappa shops.