Let's see what types of food we can eat for less than one dollar in Sri Lanka. This would be useful for both foreigners and locals to keep the cost of living low ( If you are having a tight budget ).
What are the foods that you can eat for less than one dollar in Sri Lanka?
Before we jump into the list of foods. Please kindly note that the price of food can vary based on quality and location as well. So whenever you want to get any prepared food, just make sure it is a bit crowded place ( more the people means the foods will be better right ! ). Also, visit small shops and food outlets as the price will be less in them most of the time.
So here is the list of foods you can eat cheaply or less than one dollar in Sri Lanka! ( 1 USD is approx. about LKR 185 )
1 - Rice and Curry in Sri Lanka
Rice is the staple food of Sri Lanka so it will be cheap in most places. The price can vary depending on the place.
Vegetable rice and curry - LKR 100 - 130 ( $0.53 ~ $0.70 )
Fish rice and curry - LKR 120 - 150 ( $0.64 ~ $0.81 )
Chicken rice and curry - LKR 150 - 180 ( $0.81 ~ $0.97 )
( Normally each plate will include 3-4 veggie curries as well )
Tip to find cheap and good quality rice and curry in Sri Lanka? Look for places called 'Matara bath kade ' ( small places with name ' මාතර බත් කඩේ ' ). Try small 'Saiwar kade' ( vegetarian food shops ), you can get low price rice and curry. Also try rice packets ( vegetable, fish, or chicken rice ) sold by food stalls ( that appear around lunch or dinner time close to cities or alone the main roads ).
Can I get the rice and curry this cheap in major restaurants? it will be higher in price at most restaurants but sometimes you will be lucky to find cheap places as well ( take away rice packets will be cheaper than dine in ).
2 - Short eats ( Buns, Rolls, Pastries, Wade, etc.. ) in Sri Lanka
Most of the busy Sri Lankans ( those who are going to work or school ) are used to eating short eats in the morning rather than rice or any other heavy type of food. Unlike rice and curry prices, generally, you can find low cost ( less than dollar one ) high quality short eats in popular food outlets as well ( namely Perera and sons, Fab, Some Supermarket short eats outlets etc.. ). Also, you can get at cheap price from 'Chuun Pan Tuk Tuk's' ( trishaw's that sell short eats in the morning and evening ). One more thing is small food carts
close to bars! ( Very cheap rolls and patty available with them ! )
Plain Bun - LKR 10 onwards
Roast Paan ( kind of an oven-fried portion of bread. Very tasty with any local curry ) - LKR 10 onwards
Vegetable Bun - LKR 25 onwards
Fish Bun - LKR 30 onwards
Egg Bun - LKR 30 onwards
Sausage buns - LKR 50 onwards
Fish Patty - LKR 25 onwards
Wade / vadei - LKR 10 onwards
Isso vadei - LKR 25 onwards
Uludu vadei - LKr 25 onwards
Samosa - LKR 25 onwards
Fish Rolls - LKR 25 onwards
Chicken Pie - LKR 80 onwards
Piece of Pizza ( small ok ! ) - LKR 100 onwards
Piece of cake - LKR 60 onwards
Fish Cutlets - LKR 20 onwards
Egg Roti - LKR 50 onwards
Fish Roti - LKR onwards
Parata - LKR 20 onwards
3 - Hoppers and curry in Sri Lanka
Plain hoppers - LKR 10 onwards
Egg Hoppers - LKR 40 onwards
You will generally get a free curry with the hoppers in most places ( lunumiris or katta sambal or pol sambol ) but some might charge you about few extra rupees ( LKR 5 - 30 for the curry ). Optionally you can get a dhal, fish, chicken or beef curry as well ( will cost about LKR 60 ~ 200 for a portion ). You can eat hoppers without curry, so don't have to worry about that!
4 - String Hoppers and curry in Sri Lanka
White Rice string hopper - LKR 2 onwards
Red Rice string hopper - LKR 2 onwards
Similar to hoppers, you will get a free curry ( pol sambol ) but sometime you will have to pay for it ( LKR 20). Unlike hoppers, you will need some kind of curry to eat string hoppers. Some shops will sell string hoppers as packets. You can get 20 ~ 25 string hopper packet for about LKR 60 - 100 which is more than enough for one person ( two can share it, if you have a small tummy ! =D )
5 - Kottu in Sri Lanka
Vegetable Kottu - LKR 150 onwards
Chicken and other meat kottu plates will be higher than one dollar.
6 - Fish Portions
Fish curry - LKR 100 onwards
Devilled Fish curry - LKR 130 onwards
Fried Fish ( Small) - LKR 20 onwards
Tip to get cheap fried fish in Sri Lanka: You can find cheap fried fish near bars ( in small carts parked close to bars ) starting from around LKR 20 ( Normally for 20 bucks you can get a fried salaya / sardinella ).
7 - Chicken Portions
Chicken curry - LKR 130 onwards
Devilled Chicken curry - LKR 150 onwards
8 - Pork Portions
Pork curry - LKR 150 onwards
9 - Beef Portions
Beef Dish - LKR 150 onwards
Devilled Beef curry - LKR 150 onwards
Babath Dish - LKR 80 onwards
10 - Dhal Portion
Dhal Curry - LKR 50 onwards
11 - Kurakkan Halapa / Helapa in Sri Lanka
Kurakkan Halapa - LKR 50 onwards
It is a local variety of food normally eaten for breakfast. The outside part is made up of kurakkan flour and inside is filled with Shredded coconut ( mixed with sugar caramel).
Where can I find Kurakkan Halapa / Helapa in Sri Lanka? try small food outlets close to schools and towns. Most of them will have it. Also, it is available in few food outlets at the southern highway express resting area too.
12 - Fruits
You can eat many types of fruits under one dollar in Sri Lanka. Here are some of them ( Please note that some are seasonal fruits. so you will not find them always at the markets )
Banana - 500g is about LKR 80 onwards ( you can even buy lower quantities depending on the shop or supermarket )
Various varieties of banana ( locally called 'Kesel' ) available in the local market. Namely Ambul Kesel ( Sour taste ), Seeni Kesel ( Sugar taste), Anamalu, Ambun, Kolikuttu, Cavendish, Rath kehel / kesel ( red version)
Mangoes - LKR 25 onwards ( each ) or about LKR 100 per 500g
Just like bananas, several types of mangoes ( Mangoes are called 'amba' in Sinhala ) available in the local market. Namely Rata Amba, Villard, Kohu Amba ( this variety has a lot of fiber, some may not like it at all ! ), Karutha Colombun, Betti amba, Mee Amba, TJC, Alponsu Amba ( Both TJC and Alphonso are a very large and expensive type of mangoes compared to other varieties in the local market. Normally 1kg is about LKR 200 ~ 600. ).
Apples ( Red or Green ) - LKR35 onwards ( each ) or about LKR 150 per 250g
Grapes ( Green or Red ) - LKR 100 onwards per 100g
Oranges - LKR 35 onwards (each) or about LKR 150 per 250g
WaterMelon - LKR 100 onwards per kg
Passion Fruits - LKR 100 onwards per 250g
Pears - LKR 80 onwards per 100g
Rambutan - LKR 3 - 6 ( each )
Pineapple ( Small ) - LKR 150 onwards
Papaya - LKR 100 onwards per kg
Wood apple - LKR 100 onwards per 250g
Donga - LKR 25 onwards (each)
Mangosteen - LKR 25 onwards (each)
Avocado - LKR 25 onwards (each)
Guava ( small ) - LKR 25 onwards (each)
Guava ( large ) - LKR 90 onwards per 500g
13 - Drinks in Sri Lanka
Water Bottles ( 1 liter) - LKR 60 onwards
King Coconut ( safest drink in Sri Lanka ! ) - LKR 50 onwards
A glass of Fresh Juice ( lime, papaya, mixed fruit, etc.. ) - LKR 100 onwards
Bottle / Packet of plain milk ( 180ml ) - LKR 60 onwards
Goat Milk ( 190ml) - LKR 140 onwards