Sri Lanka’s Culinary Delight The Hopper

Sri Lanka’s Culinary Delight The Hopper

Sri Lanka, an island nation nestled in the Indian Ocean, is renowned for its rich cultural tapestry, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cuisine. Among its many gastronomic treasures, one delicacy stands out as a quintessential Sri Lankan experience: the hopper.

Origins and History

Hoppers, known locally as “appa” or “appa-roti,” have a fascinating history rooted in Sri Lanka’s diverse culinary heritage. Influenced by South Indian cuisine, hoppers are believed to have been introduced by Tamil settlers who migrated to the island centuries ago. Over time, this simple yet versatile dish has become an integral part of Sri Lankan cuisine, enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

What is a Hopper?

A hopper is a bowl-shaped pancake made from a batter of fermented rice flour, coconut milk, and a hint of sugar. This batter is poured into a small, rounded pan called an “appachatti” and cooked until it forms a soft yet crispy bowl with a lacy edge. The result is a delicate, bowl-shaped crepe that can be enjoyed in various forms throughout the day.

Varieties of Hoppers

Plain Hopper (Appa) The traditional hopper, typically served for breakfast or dinner, is enjoyed with accompaniments like sambal (spicy coconut relish) or seeni sambol (caramelized onion relish).

Egg Hopper (Egg Appa) A popular variation where an egg is cracked into the hopper during cooking, creating a delicious combination of egg and crispy hopper.

String Hopper (Idiyappam) While not a bowl-shaped hopper, string hoppers are another beloved Sri Lankan dish made from steamed rice noodles, often served with curries for breakfast or dinner.

Enjoying Hoppers

One of the joys of experiencing hoppers is the variety of ways they can be enjoyed:

Breakfast Delight Start your day with a plate of hoppers accompanied by dhal (lentil curry), coconut sambal, and spicy chutneys.

Snack Time Grab an egg hopper or two as a quick snack from street vendors, who skillfully prepare them right in front of you.

Dinner Fare Hoppers are also enjoyed as a dinner option, often paired with a range of curries, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Cultural Significance

Beyond its culinary appeal, hoppers hold cultural significance in Sri Lanka. They are often served during religious and cultural festivals, family gatherings, and celebratory occasions, symbolizing unity and communal sharing.

Where to Find Hoppers

When visiting Sri Lanka, hoppers can be found in almost every corner of the island, from street-side stalls to high-end restaurants. Each region might have its own spin on the dish, with variations in thickness, texture, and accompaniments.


In conclusion, the hopper represents more than just a culinary delight in Sri Lanka; it embodies centuries of tradition, cultural fusion, and the warm hospitality of its people. Whether you’re savoring a plain hopper for breakfast or enjoying an egg hopper as a snack, each bite tells a story of Sri Lanka’s diverse and vibrant culinary landscape. So, if you find yourself in this beautiful island nation, don’t miss the chance to indulge in the simple yet unforgettable experience of a Sri Lankan hopper.

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