A typical Sri Lankan rice and curry dinner will comprise the following:
Apart from the rice, each bowl contains small portions, but as in most of tropical Asia, if a bowl is emptied, it is immediately refilled.
Although Sri Lankan food is similar to south Indian cuisine in its use of chilli, cardamom, cumin, coriander and other spices, it has a distinctive taste, and uses ingredients like dried Maldive fish which are local to the area. It is also much hotter than most south Indian cuisine, and many spicy Sri Lankan preparations are believed to be among the world's hottest in terms of chilli content. While native Sri Lankans are born into this cuisine and develop a healthy tolerance to spicy food, many visitors and tourists to the country often find the spiciness excessive. As a result, many local restaurants in developed and tourist areas offer special low-spice versions of local foods to cater to foreign palates, or have an alternative western menu for tourists.