Rice is consumed with curries (eggplant, potato, green banana, chicken, and fish) that range from delicately-spiced to near-dynamite. There are also hoppers (a pancake-like snack), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) and pittu (four and coconut mixture). Lamprais- rice and accompaniments baked in plantain leaves – is a legacy of the Dutch. Fresh fish, prawns, crab, squid and crayfish are readily available. Desserts include buffalo curd topped with palm-honey, and the caramel-like Wattalapam.
Tasty snacks known as short eats are excellent for trips. Fruit includes mango, pineapple, banana and papaya, and the lesser-known but distinctive sapodilla, Mangosteen, Rambuttan, Woodapple custard apple and beli. Colombo has an impressive range of restaurants specializing in international cuisine.
Souvenirs often combine traditional designs such as makara (a mythical animal, lion, swan, elephant and lotus), evident in brass work (boxes, trays, vases) and silverware (ornately carved and filigree jewellery, tea-sets). In addition, ritual masks, lacquer ware, batik and handloom textiles, lace, and wood carvings are popular. More importantly, Sri Lanka has the widest variety of precious stones among the world’s gem producing countries – blue sapphires, star sapphires, rubies, cat’s eye, garnets, moonstones, aquamarines and topazes being just a dazzling handful that can be purchased – with care.