An island situated off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka has been exposed to centuries of culture from the subcontinent. Yet, because it is an island separated from the mainland, there are distinct differences between the two. For example, Sri Lankan food is generally agreed to be spicier than Indian, both in terms of heat and the amount of spices used. Sri Lankan cuisine also features heavy use of coconut in all its forms and is eaten with starches such as hoppers and samba rice.

This is all just talk though. Head over to one of the few Sri Lankan restaurants and hawkers in Singapore to experience the cuisine for yourself.

1. Raja Bojun Sri Lankan Food

Raja Bojun is the only Sri Lankan hawker stall in Singapore. Located in Tekka Centre, the stall has been run by Mr Odi for over a decade. Here, the dishes are served economic rice-style where you pick from a variety of dishes to complement the Asian staple starch. Among the hits are the sweet mango curry, dhal, pepper chicken, fish curry and mutton curry. Pol roti and string hoppers are served, too.

Raja Bojun Sri Lankan Food is at 665 Buffalo Rd, #01-280 Tekka Centre, Singapore 210665. Visit its Facebook for more information.

2. Kotuwa

Kotuwa is the brainchild of chef Rishi Naleendra, whom you might know from his other establishments, the two-Michelin-starred Cloudstreet and modern wine bar Fool. The Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant was created as a homage to his Sri Lankan heritage and its food with signature dishes ranging from Devilled Cashew and Chicken Kottu to Amba Curry and Crab Curry. Round out your meal with a Watalappam Tart and wash it all down with cocktails inspired by his country.

Kotuwa is at 2 Dickson Rd, Level 1 Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore 209494. Visit its Facebook for more information.

3. Navarisi Restaurant

Tucked within a shophouse along Dalhousie Lane in Little India is Navarisi Restaurant, which serves Sri Lankan fare at affordable prices. Once you get there, pick from the large variety of dishes including Pittu, Hoppers, Kothu Rotti, various types of curries, and desserts. There are special menus too — Lamprais on Thursdays and Briyani on Fridays and Sundays.

Navarisi Restaurant is at 2 Dalhousie Ln, Singapore 209671. Visit its Instagram for more information.

4. Ceylonese

For another Sri Lankan option in Little India, head to Ceylonese. The restaurant is also within walking distance from both Jalan Besar and Rochor MRT stations. Fan favourites here are the kottu, hoppers, fish roti, hot butter cuttlefish, chicken rolls and various types of curries.

Ceylonese is at 61 Dickson Rd, Singapore 209528. Visit its Facebook for more information.

5. Little Green Kitchen

While the above listings are for places to consume ready-made food, former lawyer and plant-based chef Shalu Asnani of Little Green Kitchen teaches you how to make vegetarian Sri Lankan food. Its Rustic Homestyle Sri Lankan course consists of four dishes – Eggplant Moju (sweet and sour eggplant in spicy tamarind sauce), Okra in Coconut Curry, Tempered Mushrooms and Coconut Sambol. Check out the class schedule for the next available slot or request a class with a minimum of three people.

Little Green Kitchen is at 1 Hacienda Grove, #03-05 The Hacienda, Singapore 457908. Visit its website for more information.

Where to buy Sri Lankan ingredients in Singapore

Whether you are a transplant from the island nation or want to try cooking Sri Lankan meals at home, there are three shops in Singapore where you can procure ingredients. The first is Asiri Trading, who is also the owner of Ceylonese. Then there’s Ceylon Food City, which is also found along Dickson Road like many of the restaurants here. Finally, there’s The Ceylon Spice Co. which was founded in 2017. Some ingredients you can find at these shops include tea, jaggery, spices and dried fish.

Asiri Trading is at 31 Upper Dickson Rd, Singapore 207490. Visit its website for more information.

Ceylon Food City is at 20 Dickson Rd, Singapore 209504. Visit its Facebook for more information.

The Ceylon Spice Co. can be contacted via its Instagram.