The best way to experience a new culture is to be part of it and Sri Lanka is packed full of culture. This little island nation has had a proud and colorful history since the time it was ruled by kings and queens. Many customs and traditions that exist in the country today date back to olden times, and you can gain firsthand insight into some of them during our Sri Lanka tours.
Our list of four ways to live like a local invites you to experience the culture of the native Sri Lankan’s and also gives you hints on what you need to experience the culture of modern Sri Lanka. So let’s get you started.
Try out Kottu Roti and Isso Wade
Local favorites, Kottu Rotti and Isso Wade are available in road side food joints in Colombo and kiosks at the popular Galle Face Greens. Kottu Roti is popular for its spiciness and its burst of flavors. Flat bread is cut into tiny pieces before it is mixed with veggies and meats of your choice on a hot plate. It is then repeatedly chopped and mixed together further to a loud but rhythmic tone using two metal plates.
There are variations to this dish in the form of Cheese Kottu and Dolphin Kottu (This is a special way in which the kottu is cut and no dolphins are harmed during the making of this kottu!) Fair warning, it can be a little too spicy for your tastes depending on if you are a fan of chilies or not. Do not fret however, you can always make a request and ask for a milder kottu.
Isso Wade on the other hand is a popular variation of the traditional wade, which is a spicy patty topped with prawn, onion and gravy. Depending on your preference you can forgo some of the toppings as it can get a little spicy.
If you find yourself at the Galle Face Greens we ask that you stop in front of cart and try an Isso Wade.
Travel by Train
Train rides offer a unique way of seeing the island. Witness some of the most spectacular views the country has to offer, especially on the journey to the hills of Sri Lanka. Experience the change in the climate as the train slowly chugs up the mountain side. This gives you the perfect opportunity to take some amazing shots.
Snacks will be served on the journey so grab yourself a bite to eat as you go past gorgeous landscapes, waterfalls and tea plantations.
Drink Raa, Local Coconut Toddy
Raa is a coconut wine produced by local farmers also known as coconut toddy. Toddy tapping farmers extract toddy from the coconut sap in the morning and let it ferment during the day before it is harvested in the evening or the next day.
After a hard day of work, locals would congregate at their local toddy house or bar and to have a drink. It is a cheaper alternative available to the locals who cannot afford imported or local distilled liquor.
It has a similar taste to wine and looks similar to sake, the Japanese rice wine.
Visit the Veddas, Native Sri Lankans
Native Sri Lankans, according to ancient texts are the decedents of Prince Vijaya. They can be found living in Mahinyanganaya and Dambana and have preserved their way of life which dates back to ancient times. They now are the only remaining direct decedents from the islands original Neolithic community.
They are a self-sufficient community of hunters and gatherers. They preserve their meat for future use in the honey they harvest and fashion their own weapons.
Sri Lankans have great respect towards the natives and contribute in whatever way possible to preserving their culture and way of life.
If Sri Lankan culture intrigues you, we recommend trying out our bespoke tours so you can enjoy all the country has to offer at your own pace.