Sri Lanka is usually world-famous for its incredible cuisine. So, if you stay in Colombo for a few days, you must not forget to check out the wonderful street foods this city offers in its various locations.
You can find street food in Colombo in several places around the city. While the Galle Face Green is known as the oldest street food space, recently, places like Aluth Kade and Kimbulawala have become the latest street food hotspots. You can enjoy a wide variety of street food in these places, belonging to authentic Sri Lankan cuisine and some tasty international food and drink items.
Read along to learn more about the amazing street food experience you can have in Colombo as we wish to address the places you should visit and what type of food you must try out!
Why is the Street Food Experience in Colombo So Special?
The concept of street food in Sri Lanka, especially in Colombo is nothing new. It all started ever since the vendors at the Galle Face Green started selling Prawn Vadai and Samosas to the locals who come to the beach during weekends.
Apart from that it is not hard to find small moving carts around Colombo with fried snacks, finger food, pickles, and beverages. However, recently, when some designated places started selling street food on a large scale, this concept ultimately transformed into a “trend” in Sri Lanka, attracting thousands of local and foreign food lovers from all around the globe.
And interestingly, the street food trend is getting highly popular day by day, especially with the help of travel bloggers, Youtubers, media, and enthusiasts like us who love to keep you educated! The street food in Colombo is popular for another reason.
That is, it does not confine just to authentic Sri Lankan cuisine but offers a variety of foods and beverages to represent many famous cuisines in the world.
They just add their own Sri Lankan twist and bliss to make these food items extra special so that you can have the best street food experience ever!
Where Can You Have Street Food In Colombo?
You can have street food from many places in Colombo. But there are a few destinations that you should specially visit and experience. Before getting started with those places, we should mention to you the street food you can enjoy in Pettah. As we discussed in our previous article on the shopping experience in Colombo, Pettah is a happening place with thousands of visitors each day.
Thus, you can find many street food-selling stalls, carts, shops, and restaurants in almost every nook and corner of this place. One special treat you can have at most of these carts and restaurants is the traditional milk tea (Kiri The). Freshly heated fresh milk is incorporated with flavorful Ceylon tea and sugar and served warm in a small heat-proof glass.
You can have small coconut rotees to go with this milk tea to have the real Sri Lankan milk tea experience. In addition, the herbal porridge locally known as “Kola Kenda” is also served in most restaurants and stalls in the morning. Two or more herbs and ground and the extraction is combined with coconut milk and salt to make this delicious, healthy porridge.
This is usually served with a piece of Kithul Jaggery for more taste and to amplify the health benefits. Apart from these signature food items you can enjoy a variety of other typical Sri Lankan street food such as Kottu Roti, Vadai, Samosas, Hoppers, and even traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry with signature meat curries like black pork curry, red beef curry, pepper chicken curry, etc.
Galle Face Green
With a beautiful view of the gorgeous Indian Ocean, Galle Green is a peaceful yet busy beach park that lures many visitors, especially in the evening. You can enjoy many street foods here. It is probably the most famous place in Sri Lanka for selling Prawn Vadai (Isso Vadai).
They also have a wide range of other fried snacks such as chili crabs, lobster, Ulundu Vadai, spicy boiled chickpeas, cassava chips, potato chips, etc. You can also have sweet delicacies along with ice cream and many types of beverages at this place.
If you are lucky enough, you might also find vendors selling “Sara Vita”, a spicy, sweet herbal street sweet that comes with vibrantly colored coconut scapes, sugar crystals, and aromatic spices wrapped in a betel leaf. This food has an exotic bite and will leave your mouth red-colored until you wash it with water!
Street Food at Aluth Kade
The street food craze at Aluth Kade has been the latest thing that gives a unique vibe to the energetic nightlife of Colombo. Some shops in Aluth Kade have been tempting customers since 1956, but most of them were opened recently, particularly setting them up for street food.
You can reach Aluth Kade within 10 minutes from Fort, Colombo while it will take around 40 minutes from the Bandaranaike International Airport to get to this place. Abdul Hameed Street in Aluth Kade is lined with small stalls and restaurants one after the other with open-air spaces for you to have anything you want to your heart’s extent!
This place usually becomes happening from about 4 PM to 4 AM. The sleepless chefs and waiters are working with an interminable spirit to serve their customers the best way they can. Most shops have open kitchens so you can see what you’re eating and how they make the food you eat.
The streets in Aluth Kade are usually crowded with local and foreign food enthusiasts but it doesn’t mean that you will not have a place to sit and enjoy your meal. You can spend as much time as you need here enjoying a large variety of food.
The Types of Foods You Can Enjoy Here…
They serve all sorts of traditional Sri Lankan street food that includes Kottu Roti and Hoppers. Kottu Roti is a stir fry made with cut roti pieces mixed with vegetables, eggs, meat, and gravy. Special Kottu Roti is also made here using fresh milk and cheese.
Instead of Roti they also use String Hoppers to make a special Kottu dish known as “Indi Appa Kottu”. We suggest that this should be a must-try whenever you hit the Aluth Kade street food venue. Apart from these Sri Lankan delicacies, they are also famous for serving a wide range of rice dishes such as Biryani, fried rice, Nasi Goreng, etc.
Above all, they have an excellent collection of burgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, barbeque, and other international savory items like pasta and noodles made with a Sri Lankan twist. You must also not miss out on checking out the amazing juice bars here, that serve a variety of shakes, tea, coffee, fruit juices, and Sri Lanka’s popular sweet beverage Faluda.
This drink is loaded with milk, ice cream, jelly crystals, basil seeds, and rose syrup in a tall glass to quench your thirst after satisfying all your food cravings from the shops around. The prices of the food items at Aluth Kade are way more reasonable and cheaper than you eat out at a regular restaurant in Colombo. Most dishes start from $1-$2 and you can fill up your belly only by spending up to $10 max!
Did you know that the nightlife in Colombo is truly amazing with many experiences to take home? Click on this link and refer to our detailed article to learn everything you need about the vibrant nightlife of Colombo.
Try Something Different At The Kimbulawala Street Food Venue
Kimbulawala Street Food Venue is located in Kimbulawala, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, and will take around 25 minutes to reach from Fort, Colombo. And if you’re coming all the way from the Bandaranaike International Airport, it might take approximately 50 minutes to get to this place.
Situated a bit away from the chaotic atmosphere of the capital city, Kimbulawala Street Food Venue will reward you with delicious food and a great ambiance. This place is way more peaceful than what you find in Aluth Kade and the shops seem to be more visually appealing as well. The stalls and shops in this street venue usually open around 3.30 PM and go until 2.30 AM.
You will find this location to be overcrowded during the weekends with locals while there’s less crowd during the weekdays. One of the most popular meals you can enjoy here is the traditional Sri Lankan coconut roti with the curries like black pork, baby jackfruit, dal, sprats, etc. Apart from the classic local dishes, you will also find an extensive variety of rice, pasta, Kottu, hoppers, burgers, sandwiches, etc.
There are also kebabs and barbeque corners for extreme meat and seafood lovers. Juice bars will offer all sorts of mojitos, mocktails, fresh juices, and shakes made with freshly squeezed fruits and ingredients. As mentioned before, this venue is much more serene than Aluth Kade so you can have the best food experience, peacefully walking from stall to stall and checking out the foods of your choice.
Are Street Food Venues In Colombo Clean Enough?
The government food and health authorities in Sri Lanka are highly concerned about these street food venues so they conduct frequent raids and inspections at these places. Therefore, all vendors who sell street food are obliged to maintain higher standards and cleanliness in order to keep their shops open in these places.
That being said, consumers should not worry about eating out from these food stalls and restaurants and you have the complete responsibility to complain about any unfavorable matter that you encounter at these venues. However, so far, none of these places have been reported to have sold unhygienic foods so we can recommend them to you as well.
Have a Lifetime Experience With The Best Street Food You Could Possibly Have!
Venturing from stall to stall, restaurant to restaurant, the street food experience you can have in Colombo will undoubtedly be one of the best things in life during your stay on the paradise island of Sri Lanka.
From traditional Sri Lankan cuisine to addressing the dishes of global cuisines, the street food in Colombo is incredibly varied and diverse to satisfy your senses to the fullest! So, do not miss your chance to visit every street food destination we have discussed throughout this article and enjoy your favorite food.