Vegan Sri Lanka

First vegan post yo.

Okay so 2 years ago, my life changed for the better when I ditched meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, leather, wool, silk…you name it, if it comes from an animal, I ain’t putting it in my mouth. Keep your jokes to yourself please…ahem.

As much as I loved the food in India and as many vegan options as New Zealand and Melbourne have, Sri Lankan food gets my 10/10 for food choices and taste. Rice and curry every day! If you eat locally, the choices aren’t as vast as they are in India but I’ll happily sacrifice a million item menu for 5 options of the best tasting food I ever ate.

Dhal curry, welcome to my regular life. Being such a pussy when it comes to spicy food, I can’t believe I’m saying this but coconut sambal, please don’t leave me. Coconut milk is abundant here so there’s no need to worry about the vegetable curries and the rice is just rice….delicious and healthy as fuck.

I’ve eaten dairy twice by accident here, but that was my own stupidty for not checking the ingredients in the sliced bread before filling my face with peanut butter on toast. Being lactose intolerant, I paid the price and my karma was settled. Derp.

All of the chocolate cake and really sugary treats here contain cows milk, which for me is perfect so I can stay away from them – Vegan cake or any kind of baked goods are my true weakness and the reason I still have a belly from my time in India. Black tea is in abundance and the roti here are completely vegan too.

So what exactly are the local options here?

  1. Rice and curry – Dhal, potato, vegetable, jackfruit, creamy cashew…there is without a doubt a curry for you hidden somewhere
  2. Vegetable rice or noodles – Ask for it to be cooked with no egg
  3. Kottu – Roti chopped up into tiny pieces and fried with veggies and rice. Again, ask for no egg
  4. Roti – Sri Lankan flat bread cooked with vegetables inside. The triangle ones you can buy from most shops and restaurant windows are the best
  5. Fruit juice – You’re in a tropical paradise so take your pick of fruits and go ahead and drink it. I have however found it much cheaper to buy fruits from the market and make juices at the guest house.
  6. Fruit – Seriously blown away by the abundance and quality of the fruit here. Watermelon is so cheap compared to in NZ and the color and taste are like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
  7. Street food and snacks- Wada, chick peas, samosa…it’s all amazing. My favourite part of train rides here is the guy who walks up and down the train yelling “WADA WADA WADA WADA”

So what’s the easiest way to make sure that what you’re eating is cruelty free?

  1. Ask for everything with NO egg. Really make sure to remember that as most rice, noodle and kottu dishes come with eggs cooked into them.
  2. If you ask for extra chilli sauce, make sure to check if it’s made with shrimp. Same goes for sambal of any kind…dried shrimp is popular here and is the reason the chilli pastes and powders smell a little fishy.
  3. Make sure you tell your host that you don’t eat fish. I got caught out with this a couple of times as some veggies here do eat fish.
  4. Juices – Make sure to ask for it without honey. A lot of places make juices by blending fruit with filtered water which is why honey is added
  5. Don’t over think it. Eating locally means you’re filling your body with home made food cooked with love and appreciation for amazing ingredients, so go ahead and enjoy

Would I recommend SL as a vegan haven? Hells yes. Stick to local haunts and enjoy the street food, because who doesn’t love to eat their snacks out of somebodies old maths homework made into a plastic free bag.

Have a wonderful day and if you see something tasty that you really want to eat, eat it dude! Enjoy.


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