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Indian Subcontinent >> Sri Lanka >> Eating Out in Sri Lanka

Eating Out in Sri Lanka

For the tummy-conscious tourist, there is a fairly wide spectrum of eating joints. Roadside stalls selling Sri Lankan food and even western or Indian food (though usually not of the best quality) are aplenty, and there are restaurants, both free-standing and in the hotels which offer Lankan, Chinese and Western food. The latter, although their repertoire may often extend only to salads, sandwiches and omelettes, are usually a good alternative for those who dare not risk the fire of the local curries, or have tired of endless meals cooked in coconut oil. Don’t be afraid to try the Sri Lankan food, though a request to keep the spice low is usually honoured.

To quench your thirst, you may, of course, try water – but do this only if you’re sure it’s hygienic; waterborne diseases are rife in Sri Lanka, as in much of the Third World. Coconut water makes a much more palatable and far cleaner alternative, and for those who would stick to familiar beverages, aerated drinks and mineral water are freely available. Fruit juices – especially some unusual ones like fresh passion fruit or fresh pineapple, are worth a try; however, keep in mind the possibility that these may sometimes be diluted with water. For a hot drink, you must have tea – after all, Sri Lankan teas are among the best in the world!

Beer, local as well as foreign, is fairly common. A lot of foreign liquor is imported into Sri Lanka, so it’s also easy to get hold of wines and spirits from the world over, but these are available mainly in larger towns only. Local spirits – toddy and arrack, both derived from coconut trees, are more common.

Most Sri Lankan towns, except the larger cities like Colombo and Kandy, are rather low on entertainment. In large hotels, there will often be casinos or nightclubs; some hotels, clubs and other venues also offer cultural performances by traditional artistes. A popular booklet entitled 'This month in Sri Lanka’ lists most of these for the benefit of tourists. Some towns are particularly rich as far as cultural performances are concerned – Kandy, for instance, has dancers, drummers and fire-walkers performing almost every night in peak season at different venues like the Cultural Centre, the Young Men’s Buddhist Association, and the Red Cross Building.

Besides traditional performances, films (English, Sinhala and Indian) and theatre (Sinhala) are fairly popular entertainment options.

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