Sri Lanka is a country famous for its spicy food and varied cuisine, and while you could write a whole book about the food in Sri Lanka, we shouldn’t forget the drinks in Sri Lanka! Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for those looking for cheap holidays, and since food and drinks in Sri Lanka cost close to nothing, you can indulge in eating and drinking all day long. Here are some popular drinks in Sri Lanka, you must try:
The days on the tea plantations in Sri Lanka are long and tiresome, and the hard working tea pickers only earn a little over 1 dollar per day, two if they’re “lucky”. We gave this woman some tip after taking some photos, and it was such a sad feeling knowing that the money she works so hard every day to earn, we spend in a heartbeat on the most useless things like ice cream and nail polish.
Sri Lanka is the third largest tea producing country in the world, so it is no surprise that tea is one of the most common drinks in Sri Lanka. Tea plants were introduced by the British in the 19th century, and today you can enjoy a cup of the finest Ceylon tea in tea houses overlooking the beautiful tea plantations in the highlands. Just remember that Sri Lankans like their tea sweet – VERY sweet, so if you don’t want a massive sugar kick then ask the waiter to only put one or two tea spoons of sugar in your cup.
King Coconut Juice
King coconut palm trees line the beaches and surround the homes of locals, providing shade from the sun along with a thousand other ways to use the coconuts growing at the top. This orange coconut is very important for the Sri Lankan people, who refer to it as a “living pharmacy”. Our taxi driver bought us a couple of coconuts from a street stall and while the seller hacked a hole with his machete knife the driver told us all the possible benefits this “natural energy drink” apparently had. Sri Lankans use the King Coconut, also known as Thambili, in everything from cooking to Ayurvedic medicine. It’s much sweeter (and tastier) than the green Young Coconut and the perfect thirst quencher, you can find it for sale on the streets everywhere.
Toddy & Arrack
Toddy is a light alcoholic drink (4%) made from fermented coconut palm sap, and is usually served in Toddy shacks around the country. Every morning at dawn, toddy tappers climb onto the palm trees along the coastlines of Sri Lanka and harvest the palm sap from unopened coconut flowers – every tree can provide up to two liters of this stuff every day. The sap ferments immediately into toddy and becomes mildly alcoholic. You drink it like beer, but don’t expect it to taste like it – toddy definitely has an acquired taste – don’t believe anyone who says that it tastes like cider, it’s more like vinegar! Arrack is one of the most traditional drinks in Sri Lanka which is distilled from toddy or palm syrup, and has a much higher percentage of alcohol (60 – 90%). The golden colored drink is often regarded as the national drink of Sri Lanka, and tastes like something between Whisky and Rum. Many people mix it with Sprite, ginger beer or Coke into a cocktail – you can get both these drinks from the local Toddy shacks.
Faluda is like a liquid dessert – a sweet combination of milk and rose syrup with poppy seeds and jelly pieces. It’s a muslim specialty, sometimes served with cashew nuts and ice cream – yum!
Elephant House Ginger Beer
Elephant House Ginger Beer is a popular Sri Lankan soft drink prepared with natural Ayurvedic ginger (one of the few to do this in the world) grown from local farmers in the hill-country. The drink proclaims to have Ayurvedic properties, helping digestion and relieving drowsiness from a heavy meal. It’s really tasty and is a perfect match with spicy foods.