Street Food Colombo



Cerno’s post on Sri Lankan products got me thinking of places in Colombo. Mostly eating places cos most people, when thinking of Sri lankan products, seemed to think of Sri Lankan food. Which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with a community that likes food.

But where are the best places for street food? Indi had a post out on it recently, but here’s a little breakdown of my favourite places.


Everyone’s familiar with Burger King by now i presume, and no im not talking about the international franchise, im talking about that little joint on the corner of Malay Street at Slave Island. Cheap, tasty burghers in a variety of forms and killer shawarma. Helped possibly by the chap who cuts up the chicken, who in some shades of light looks like a maskless Jason X to my eyes. They’ve also got kebabs which i am yet to try out. How it got the name Burgher King i don’t know, the outfit doesn’t possess any visible branding, but everyone calls it that.


There are a variety of rotti based food to choose from. Time was when the number one joint for paratas, naan and other rotti like food items was Nana’s. He had an outlet at Galle face green and then one at slave island. But he’s gone and shut down his business now for some obscure reason and great butter naan with some tandoori chicken on the side while you sit of an evening looking at the sea at  Galle Face is denied us.

On the topic of rotti, but off the streets of Colombo, i simply have to tell you about this great place at Hikkaduwa simply known as the ‘Rotti Shop‘. It’s a few hundred metres before Amaya Reef on the land side if i remember correctly. The cheese rotti there is awesome. Very thick and juicy, filled with spicy chicken and cheese. And it’s not shaped like the standard cheese rottis available in Colombo. I’ve had it several times and keep going back for more whenever i pass that way.

When we talk kottu, most people think of Pillawoos (or Pilla) or blogs. The Pilla at Kollupitiya  is the most popular. You can park your car and they’ll serve you right there on the street. They’ve got a bit of variety with the cheese kottu, masala kottu etc. A good option is also Hotel de(?) Hijra right next door. They’ve got similar fare and will serve you the same way. Wash it down with a nice iced Miloand you’re all set to go. Though kottu fare seems to have dropped off in quality of late.

Indian fare

For indian food like dosa’s, veggie rice, vadeys etc. the place to go in my school days was Amrithas next to the flats in Bambalapitiya. For unlimited and delicious vegetarian rice however, it used to be Vani Villas down Armor street. They serve your rice and spicy veg curries on a banana leaf and keep refilling you free of charge till you’re too full to move, they also get a bit offended if you don’t eat a lot. Sadly haven’t been to a really great Indian street restaurant lately, though Rahumania right next to Odel (Town Hall) is not bad at all.

Vadeys, Rice and other stuff

Galle Face has always been a great place for vadeys, isso vadeys (or prawn vadeys) that is. there is also a chap at the top of the corner of Bullers road and Galle road (basically right at the mouth of the Bambalapitiya junction) who sells great Maldive fish vadeys

For manioc chips there used to be a famous place down station road Dehiwala. You could get a whole bag for just ten rupees.

Hopper’shave always been a favourite. Sadly there is no trademark  place i can name for the best hoppers in town, but recently i tried out this tiny place at the Kirulapone junction that was fantastic. I like my egg hoppers watery, and like a lot of loonu miriss (onion/chilli mix) and gravy. Yum yum.

Finally we come to that staple of all Sri Lankan food, bread rice. You can get great biryani at Bilal Hotel opposite Majestic City, There is also a new Pakistani place called Eat More at the Bamba junction that’ll serve you some killer fried rice. They also got this very nice kind of chapathi. You have to try it. They’ve got a speciality called Brain Masala which im probably gonna try out soon.

Sure i’ve missed out on some great places and even possibly some great food items. What are your favourite places? And anyone know any better places for kottu?

  1. Jerry said:

    It’s Burgers King. There’s a sign in front of it 😛

    Also, mirror this post on ST?

    • Whacko said:

      ah yes! sure.

      • dilsiriw said:

        you have to try the beef kebabs.

  2. Unsilent said:

    Bamba pilla is much better than the Kollupitiya one.. try their cheese roti.. amazing!

  3. Sach said:

    Dude, burgers in Sri Lanka are the BEST. World Over! Those BurgerKing or Mac stuff are SO tasteless when compared to those stuff you find at roadside joints. Even a simple ‘egg bun’ tastes so fucking good to me than all those other poshy stuff.

    • Whacko said:

      That Girl – now now. easy does it 😀

      Unsilent – hmmmm, iv had the kottu once, will check it out! thanks

      Sach – lol, egg buns. nothing like a hot hot egg bun eh.

  4. T said:

    aiyo! cheese roti! also, amarawathi for indian food.

    • Whacko said:

      Ah yes! how could i have forgotten to mention cheese rotti..Pilla or Hijra would probably be a good spot for those in Col. and nvr been to Amarawathi, does it qualify as ‘street’?

      • check out Greenlands, in wella I think.
        They’ve got awesome paper dosai and ulundu vadeys.
        And it’s pretty cheap too…
        not so sure how street it is, but it’s deffa not posh!

    • Whacko said:

      oh yeah, been there i think, and that’s prolly as street as an indian restaurant can get. there was also another place close by that had jaffna food. The mani pittu and cuttlefish was scrumpulicios 😀

  5. Sigma said:

    Old Nana was deep 6’ed sometime ago as I recollect… yep the Slave Island burgers are indeed the best. Gihan’s in Delkanda good for Kottu’s too.

    • Whacko said:

      Ah that explains it then.. i’ll check out Gihans if i get a chance but sadly i don’t travel that way often.

      • pissu perera said:

        burgers king is apparently run by nana’s sons. there’s a little place near my house that does awesome kottu for half the pilla price. pilla is now overrated and over-priced. there’s nothing special about them except that they’re open in the night and its the “in” place to go to no?

        that said, after a night out you’d possibly find me there munching on a cheese roti.

  6. Anu said:

    WTF there’s a ‘Burgher king’ in slave island??? That’s trade mark infringement even if the mark might not be registered in SL cuz it’s a well known mark! Oh man i’m going to walk around colombo sueing people when i get back! This is going to be FUN! MUAHAHAHAHA!!

    • Whacko said:

      hold ur horses.. its ‘Burgers’ King apparently. and good luck with ur suing operation; over here you may actually end up needing financial assitance :p

  7. maf said:

    my mouth is watering and just when we are fasting..anyway good roundup

    the burger king roast beef sandwich is awesome – might have to go there tonight …their shawarmas are also pretty good.

    btw always been on th lookout for the best burger is town – so far I think the Hilton Coffee Shop’s is about the best – any others – Lanka reviewed said that the one at Holiday Inn was also great and also the Bars cafe burger. any others?

    • Whacko said:

      Don’t really know man.. but Sugar has just launched a ‘designer burger’. i just saw an advert so i don’t know how it tastes. but it looked scrumptious! Thanks for that link.

  8. magerata said:

    Like maf I too am salivating! I just go get a nation’s burger for now

  9. needsomesoup said:

    Recently i went to the pilawoos for the first time.. around 9pm i guess n really ddn find anything much so great.. 😦
    seriously.. no offence or anything but really don get the whole “scene” LoL.. well.. could have said it was not bad.. maybe i went in at the wrong time.. wat say you?
    aint so much of a food fan either n thats maybe y i ddn find it so exciting.. hehe 🙂 hmmm.. outa indian food.. the only thing i could say i do enjoy is the Ghee thosei at shanti vihar.. hope they serve the same thing still 🙂
    anyway.. should thank you guys for the info though.. should try out the other places when i can 🙂

  10. dilsiriw said:

    you have to try mayuri hotel in wella – opposite omega. the best jaffna style crab curry etc…..

    • mayuri is good!
      the whole banana leaf fare and all
      think they even offer refills, on curries at least.

      • Whacko said:

        OK im definitely going there soon as i get the chance. thanks!

    • Whacko said:

      Just had a meal at Mayuri this evening; Pittu, cuttle fish curry and pol sambol. Awesome! I’ll be going back for sure. Thanks for the pointers..

  11. Rohantha said:

    Chopsticks at Nawala offers the best fried rice in town. Great value for money, with ample chicken and great tast. It is a eat alone dish.

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