Exploring the Delights of Sri Lankan Short Eats: A Guide to Tantalizing Snacks and Savory Treats

Diving into the vibrant world of Sri Lankan cuisine and can’t decide which ‘short eat’ to try first? Well, you’re not alone! Known for its unique blend of flavors enriched by the country’s rich history and diverse culture, these mouth-watering snacks are a culinary journey in themselves.

In this blog post, we guide you through some must-try traditional treats offering a riot of exotic tastes waiting to spark your palate. So come along, it’s time to tantalize those taste buds!

Key Takeaways

  • Sri Lankan short eats are a delicious and diverse variety of snacks and savory treats that offer a unique blend of flavors.
  • Some must – try short eats include cutlets, pastries, patties, Chinese rolls, stuffed buns, samosas, vadai, burgers, sandwiches, and vegetable roti.
  • These snacks can be found in street food stalls and markets as well as local bakeries and cafes throughout Sri Lanka.

A Variety of Sri Lankan Snacks and Savory Treats

Sri Lankan short eats offer a mouthwatering variety of snacks and savory treats, including cutlets, pastries, patties, Chinese rolls, stuffed buns, and vegetable roti.


Cutlets are a much-loved snack in Sri Lanka. They’re a type of deep-fried ball filled with tasty stuff. Inside, you might find fish, mutton or veggies mixed with spices. The outside is crispy from bread crumbs.

Each bite gives a burst of flavors that are spicy and rich. If you visit Sri Lanka, trying cutlets is a must-do!


Sri Lankan pastries are a must-try when exploring the vibrant world of short eats. These savory treats come in various flavors and fillings, making them perfect for snacking on-the-go.

The pastries are typically made with a crispy outer shell and filled with ingredients like vegetables, meat, or fish. One popular type is the fish cutlet, which is deep-fried to perfection and bursting with delicious seafood flavor.

Another mouthwatering option is the mutton roll, featuring tender spiced mutton wrapped in a flaky pastry. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, there’s always a Sri Lankan pastry that will satisfy your taste buds.


Sri Lankan patties are a popular and tasty snack that you must try when visiting Sri Lanka. These savory pastries are filled with delicious ingredients like spiced vegetables, meat, or fish.

They are then deep-fried to perfection until crispy and golden brown. Patties come in various shapes and sizes, making them easy to enjoy on the go. The flaky pastry combined with the flavorful filling creates a delightful combination of textures and tastes.

Whether you prefer vegetarian or meat-filled options, Sri Lankan patties offer something for everyone to savor during their culinary adventure in Sri Lanka.

Chinese Rolls

Chinese rolls are a popular Sri Lankan snack that you don’t want to miss. These delicious rolls are made with a crispy outer layer and filled with flavorful ingredients like vegetables, chicken, or shrimp.

They have a unique blend of spices that will tantalize your taste buds. The Chinese influence on Sri Lankan cuisine is evident in these rolls, as they combine the best of both worlds.

You can find them at street food stalls and local bakeries throughout Sri Lanka. So make sure to try these tasty treats during your culinary adventure in Sri Lanka!

Stuffed Buns

Stuffed buns are a popular snack in Sri Lanka. These delicious treats consist of soft, fluffy bread filled with various savory fillings. You can find stuffed buns with different fillings like chicken, beef, or vegetables.

They are typically spiced with a blend of aromatic herbs and spices, giving them a flavorful kick. Stuffed buns are perfect for grabbing on the go as you explore the streets of Sri Lanka.

So make sure to try these tasty delights during your culinary adventure!

Vegetable Roti

Sri Lankan Vegetable Roti is a delicious and filling snack that you must try when exploring the country. It is made with a crispy, flaky outer layer stuffed with a flavorful mixture of vegetables, spices, and sometimes even meat.

The roti is cooked on a hot griddle until golden brown and then served hot off the stove. It’s perfect for those looking for a tasty vegetarian option or simply want to indulge in some scrumptious street food.

One of the best things about Sri Lankan Vegetable Roti is its versatility. You can find different variations depending on the region or personal preference. Some common ingredients used in the filling include potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, garlic, curry powder, and chili flakes.

The filling is typically sautéed with aromatic spices to create a mouthwatering flavor profile.

Whether you’re exploring bustling street food stalls or quaint local bakeries and cafes in Sri Lanka, you’ll easily find vegetable roti being prepared fresh right in front of your eyes.

It’s commonly enjoyed as an appetizer or as a quick grab-and-go snack during your adventures.

Popular Short Eats in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for its popular short eats such as samosas, vadai, burgers, and sandwiches.


Samosas are popular short eats in Sri Lanka that you can’t miss. These crispy, triangular pastries are usually filled with spicy potatoes, onions, and peas. Sometimes they also contain meat or seafood fillings.

Samosas are deep-fried to perfection, giving them a delightful crunch. They are commonly enjoyed as a snack on-the-go or as an appetizer before a meal. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Colombo or visiting local markets, you’ll find samosas readily available, enticing your taste buds with their savory flavors and fragrant spices.

So be sure to grab a few samosas and savor the deliciousness during your culinary adventure in Sri Lanka!

Vadai (Ulundu Vadai, Shrimp Vadai)

Vadai is a popular Sri Lankan snack that adventure travelers must try. There are two main types: Ulundu Vadai and Shrimp Vadai. Ulundu Vadai is made from ground lentils mixed with spices and deep-fried until crispy.

It has a savory and slightly spicy flavor, perfect for snacking on the go. Shrimp Vadai, on the other hand, features minced shrimp mixed with herbs and fried to perfection. It offers a delightful combination of seafood flavors in every bite.

Whether you’re craving something vegetarian or want to enjoy some delicious shrimp, vadai is a tasty treat that will leave your taste buds satisfied during your culinary exploration of Sri Lanka’s short eats scene!


Burgers are one of the popular short eats in Sri Lanka. They are a delicious and satisfying snack that you can find in many local eateries. Sri Lankan burgers have their own unique twist, with flavors influenced by the country’s rich culinary heritage.

These burgers usually consist of a flavorful meat or vegetable patty, sandwiched between soft buns and topped with various condiments like caramelized onions, tangy pickles, and spicy sauces.

Adventure travelers will love trying these mouthwatering creations while exploring the vibrant street food scene in Sri Lanka.


Sri Lankan sandwiches are a delicious and convenient snack option that you shouldn’t miss out on during your culinary adventure. These sandwiches are not your ordinary ones – they are packed with bold flavors and unique fillings that will leave you wanting more.

Sri Lankan sandwich fillings can range from spicy curries, tangy pickles, flavorful chutneys, to tender grilled meats or even refreshing and crisp vegetables. One popular type of sandwich is the kottu roti sandwich, where chopped up roti bread is mixed with various ingredients like vegetables, eggs, meat, or seafood.

Another famous option is the pol sambol sandwich which consists of a spicy coconut relish made with grated coconut, chili flakes, lime juice and onions served between soft bread slices.

Exploring Traditional Sri Lankan Short Eats

Discover the rich history and cultural significance of Sri Lankan short eats, as well as their unique flavors and regional variations.

The history and cultural significance

Sri Lankan short eats have a fascinating history that is deeply intertwined with the country’s cultural heritage. These snacks originated from the diverse influences of Sri Lanka’s immigrant communities, as well as its colonial past.

Over time, Sri Lankans have added their own unique twists and flavors to create these tantalizing treats. Short eats have become an integral part of Sri Lankan cuisine, reflecting the rich and complex tapestry of the country’s culinary traditions.

They are not only delicious snacks but also represent the multicultural nature of Sri Lanka, making them a must-try for anyone looking to explore the local culture through food.

Unique flavors and ingredients

Sri Lankan short eats offer unique flavors and ingredients that will tantalize your taste buds. Here are some highlights:

  • Sweet caramelized onion relishes: These add a touch of sweetness to the savory snacks.
  • Bitter melon: This ingredient adds a hint of bitterness to balance out the flavors.
  • Spicy scraped coconut: A popular filling that packs a flavorful punch.
  • Curry: Sri Lankan short eats often incorporate curry, giving them a rich and aromatic taste.
  • Aromatic rice: The base for many snacks, rice provides a satisfying texture and flavor.
  • Fresh seafood: Sri Lanka’s coastal location means you can find delicious seafood fillings in some snacks.
  • Turmeric-colored rice-coconut milk snacks (kokis): These snacks have a unique golden color thanks to turmeric.

Regional variations

Sri Lankan short eats have regional variations that add to their culinary diversity. Here are some examples:

  1. Jaffna Style Vadai: This popular snack from the northern region of Sri Lanka is made with lentil batter and flavored with spices like peppercorns, curry leaves, and green chilies.
  2. Kottu Roti: A signature dish from Colombo, the capital city, kottu roti is a stir-fried dish made with shredded roti bread, vegetables, and your choice of meat or seafood.
  3. Negombo Fish Cutlet: Found along the coastal town of Negombo, these cutlets are made with minced fish mixed with aromatic spices like cinnamon and cardamom. They are then coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried to perfection.
  4. Batticaloa Biryani: In the eastern part of Sri Lanka, you’ll find a unique variation of biryani influenced by Muslim flavors. The rice is cooked with spices, meat (usually chicken or mutton), and infused with coconut milk for added richness.
  5. Kandy Achcharu: Achcharu is a spicy pickle made with an assortment of fruits and vegetables soaked in a tangy vinegar mixture. In Kandy, a hill country region, the achcharu has its own distinct flavors that include tamarind and mustard seeds.

Where to Find and Enjoy Short Eats in Sri Lanka

You can satisfy your cravings for Sri Lankan short eats by visiting the bustling street food stalls and markets, as well as local bakeries and cafes throughout the country.

Street food stalls and markets

Sri Lanka is known for its vibrant street food scene, where you can find a variety of delicious short eats. Here are some places adventure travelers can visit to enjoy these tasty treats:

  1. Local markets: Sri Lanka’s bustling markets are a treasure trove of street food stalls. You can explore the colorful stalls and try different snacks like samosas, cutlets, and rolls.
  2. Galle Face Green in Colombo: This popular promenade is a hotspot for street food lovers. You can find a wide range of snacks, from freshly made vadai to piping hot kottu roti.
  3. Pettah Market in Colombo: Located in the heart of the city, this market is a haven for food enthusiasts. You can sample traditional snacks like fish cutlets and vegetable roti from the numerous vendors here.
  4. Kandy Street Food Festival: If you happen to be in Kandy during the festival season, make sure to check out the street food stalls offering an array of mouthwatering snacks.
  5. Negombo Fish Market: Known for its fresh seafood, Negombo’s fish market also boasts several stalls selling delectable short eats like fish rolls and prawn patties.
  6. Anuradhapura Night Market: Open only in the evenings, this night market offers an opportunity to savor authentic Sri Lankan flavors through various street food options.
  7. Jaffna Street Food: In Jaffna, you can indulge in unique Tamil cuisine by exploring the local streets lined with small eateries serving dishes like crab vadais and mutton rolls.
  8. Kandy Central Market: This bustling market has numerous food stalls where you can try local delicacies such as vegetable samosas and stuffed buns while soaking in the lively atmosphere.

Local bakeries and cafes

Local bakeries and cafes are great places to discover the delicious world of Sri Lankan short eats. Here, adventure travelers can indulge in a variety of mouthwatering snacks and savory treats.

  • Sample freshly baked pastries, such as fish cutlets, mutton rolls, and vegetable-filled buns.
  • Enjoy traditional Sri Lankan desserts like kevum and kokis.
  • Try local favorites like dodol, a sweet toffee-like treat made from coconut milk and jaggery.

Recommendations for specific locations

If you’re an adventure traveler looking to explore the enchanting world of Sri Lankan short eats, here are some recommendations for specific locations where you can find and enjoy these tantalizing snacks and savory treats:

  1. Colombo:
  • Pettah Market: This bustling market in the heart of Colombo is a treasure trove of street food stalls selling a variety of short eats.
  • Galle Face Green: Take a stroll along this popular promenade and savor delicious snacks from the street food vendors lining the coast.
  1. Kandy:
  • Kandy Central Market: This vibrant market offers a wide range of local snacks, including freshly made cutlets, patties, and rolls.
  • Udawatta Kele Sanctuary: Enjoy your short eats amidst nature at this serene sanctuary located near the Sacred Temple of the Tooth.
  1. Negombo:
  • Negombo Fish Market: Indulge in fresh seafood short eats at this lively fish market with its array of vendors offering mouthwatering delights.
  • Lewis Place Street: Explore this bustling street lined with restaurants and cafes serving both traditional and fusion short eats.
  1. Jaffna:
  • Jaffna Fort Market: Sample unique Tamil-inspired short eats such as vadai and spicy buns at this historic fort turned market.
  • Nallur Kovil Festival: If you visit during the annual Nallur Kovil festival, you’ll have the chance to try traditional vegetarian snacks served during auspicious occasions.
  1. Galle:
  • Galle Fort Walk: Take a leisurely stroll through Galle Fort’s charming streets and stop by local bakeries for delectable pastries and sweets.
  • Jungle Beach: Enjoy your short eats picnic-style at Jungle Beach, surrounded by picturesque views of turquoise waters and lush greenery.

Conclusion- The Enchanting World of Sri Lankan Short Eats

In conclusion, Sri Lankan short eats are a mouthwatering delight that should not be missed. With their unique flavors and diverse ingredients, they offer a tantalizing experience for food lovers.

From the savory cutlets to the crispy samosas, exploring the enchanting world of Sri Lankan short eats is sure to leave you craving for more. So, grab your appetite and dive into this flavorful culinary adventure in Sri Lanka!


1. What are Sri Lankan short eats?

Sri Lankan short eats are delicious snacks and savory treats that can be enjoyed throughout the day.

2. What types of snacks are included in Sri Lankan short eats?

Sri Lankan short eats include a variety of snacks such as vegetable samosas, fish cutlets, chicken rolls, and stuffed roti.

3. Where can I find Sri Lankan short eats?

You can find Sri Lankan short eats at local bakeries, street food stalls, and some restaurants that specialize in traditional Sri Lankan cuisine.

4. Are there any vegetarian options available for Sri Lankan short eats?

Yes, there are many vegetarian options available for Sri Lankan short eats such as vegetable rolls, lentil fritters (vadai), and potato curry buns.

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