These bowl-shaped pancakes made from a mixture of fermented rice flour, coconut milk and coconut water are a breakfast staple in Sri Lanka. At each hotel and resort I stayed in throughout the island, my first move at breakfast was to join the ‘hopper line’. It’s fascinating just watching the local chefs expertly ladle the batter into a small purposedesigned wok, swirling it to coat the sides of the pan before a fresh egg is cracked in the centre. The lid is then briefly placed over the top to lightly steam the hopper. Then it emerges, crispy around the edges, thicker at the base with a runny egg yolk in the centre. To tie the whole dish together a sambal of onions, chilies, lemon juice and salt is sprinkled over the top as a flavoursome garnish. They can also be served plain or with a range of different toppings such as dessert hoppers filled with fresh buffalo curd and treacle.
For breakfast by the tropical coastline in Galle. shaped wedges of pressed rice soaked in coconut milk are often one of the first solid foods fed to babies. It is a staple dish at major ceremonial occasions like wedding ceremonies, New Year’s Eve and religious festivals. Kiribath can be eaten any time of the day from breakfast buffets accompanied with sambal and curries to dessert time dished up with jaggery or delicious tropical bananas. At a traditional Sri Lankan celebration, such as Sinhalese New Year.