Everything you need to know about Tamil food in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s food is like a historical and cultural map of the island. You can sort of eat your way through the various waves of migration.

Firm sweet Kokis came from the Netherlands. Samosas and lentil dhal floated south from India (in spite of the fact that you’ll find more mustard seeds and weighty flavors here). Also, you can purchase southern style ‘Chinese Rolls’ from road slows down in Colombo. However, Tamil food is something else once more.

The Tamil public have lived in Sri Lanka since around the second century BCE. Nowadays, assuming you need appropriate Tamil food, your smartest choice is the northern areas, and particularly Jaffna, in spite of the fact that you’ll track down Tamil-style eateries all around the island. Sinhalese and Burgher cooking both have their charms, however in the event that you need genuine intensity, travel north.

Our Beginner’s Guide to Tamil food

What makes Tamil food amazing?

Being so near southern India, Tamil cooking gets a great deal of flavors from the central area. It simply will in general wrench the flavor dial to the extent that it will go. There’s likewise a lot of fish around the Jaffna landmass, so rather than chicken or hamburger, you’re bound to find your lunch curry loaded down with crab, shark, fish or prawns (goat meat is additionally really famous).

Fish curries up here will generally include dried palm natural product stalks, ground up into the flavor blend. It gives them a truly nutty murmur. As you’d expect in Sri Lanka, most dinners accompany a scope of achars (pickles), and dried coconut sambal. Turmeric and tamarind track down their direction into a large portion of your dinners. The thought is to eat a tad of everything, and keep a glass of milk ready and waiting.

Where can I get Tamil food?

The northern pieces of Sri Lanka are for the most part viewed as the ‘home’ of Tamil cooking, yet you can track down Tamil food all around the country. Colombo has a few superb Tamil cafés (this blog is a decent spot to begin), and you’ll recognize Jaffna Curry on menus basically all over. In the event that you need an additional active taste, look at our Sri Lanka Genuine Food Experience. It remembers a dinner with a Tamil family for Bandarawela, and our neighborhood guides know the very best foodie areas of interest.

Jaffna Curry

You can perceive a Jaffna Curry from the variety. It ought to seem to be the commitment of future torment: a profound, searing blood red. There’s around eleven flavors in a legitimate Jaffna curry, including coriander seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cardamom and cinnamon, yet the key fixing is a major modest bunch of dried red chillies. Everything gets stewed with tomato glue and coconut milk, and the smell will remain with you (and your garments) long after the feast’s finished. Local people for the most part serve this one with goat or fish. You’ll track down this all around the northern promontory, yet assuming you’re in Colombo, attempt eateries like Palmyrah, Shanmugas or Taste Of Asia.


You could know appam by its more normal name, ‘container’. It’s a fresh, bowl-like flapjack, produced using matured rice hitter and coconut milk, and it’s a major piece of Tamil cooking. Consider them a more helpful crepe: fresh outwardly and spongey on the center, the ideal containers for Suwandel rice and red bean stew sambal. There are several appam variations, including egg appam (fundamentally a broke egg at the lower part of the container) and milk appam (a major Tamil number one). Most cooks likewise add a sprinkle of drink (Sri Lankan palm wine) to the hitter. On the off chance that you’re fortunate, you could run over sweet variations, which come sprinkled in jiggery (Sri Lankan dim palm sugar) and a spot of coconut cream.


Murukku are what could be compared to side of the road doughnuts. Crunchy, flavorful, streak broiled in vegetable oil, and strangely moreish. They’re produced using rice flour and urad dal flour, blended in with bean stew powder, salt and cumin seeds. The mixture is fought into a scraggly, spaghetti-type curl (‘Murukku’ signifies turned in Tamil) and afterward broiled to a fresh. You’ll find them at side of the road slows down all over Jaffna. There are a couple of territorial varieties, contingent upon where you travel, yet the most popular are the Manapparai murukku from Manapparai, a town in India’s Tamil Nadu (in the event that you’re visiting the central area). The water there is especially pungent, which has given their murukku a religion following.


Another Tamil recipe you’ll find all over southern India is puttu (or now and again pittu). These are fundamentally chambers of steamed coconut rice, which you can change 100 unique ways. Once in a while they’re presented with palm sugar and banana, different times with chickpea curry, broiled fish or a searing sambal. Puttu’s adaptability implies you can eat them for basically any feast; several these for breakfast and you’ll be full for quite a long time. You’ll recognize them at side of the road slows down all over Jaffna, typically rising up out of a steaming copper puttu kadam.

Kiri Toffee

In the event that you’re adequately fortunate to go in Jaffna for Tamil New Year (around the fourteenth April), attempt and get your hands on some true Kiri (milk) or Pol (coconut) toffee. They’re customary sweet tidbits that generally arise for large festivals in Sri Lanka. Kiri toffee is our undisputed top choice: it’s produced using sugar syrup and improved consolidated milk, manufactured into battered lumps of caramel-y goodness. Now and again you’ll find slashed cashew nuts in there for additional crunch.


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