Here is a list of Popular Seafoods that you can eat in Sri Lanka, served in various ways. Include some useful tips when buying and eating seafood in Sri Lanka !
Prawns and Tiger Prawns
Locally referred to as ‘ Isso ‘. You can find Giant tiger prawns ( Penaeus monodon ) based dishes in Sri Lanka. ( You may come across tiny varieties of prawns as well but those are not very tasty like larger variety ) Normally 1KG ( raw ) will cost around $6 – $8. Generally one of the expensive sea food varieties in Sri Lanka.
Crabs – Sea Crabs and Mud Crabs
Locally referred to as ‘ Kakuluwo ‘. You can find sea crabs ( these are generally smaller in size ) and mud crabs ( larger in size and expensive as well ) dishes in Sri Lanka. Sea crab price per kg is around $6 – $10 while mud crab price is $25 – $ 50 ( Larger the size higher the price ! ). Mud crabs is one of the most expensive sea food varieties in Sri Lanka.
Lobster is another popular type of dishes in Sri Lanka. This too, falls under ‘very expensive’ price tag. Normally sea lobster price range from $15 – $25 depending on the size ( live ones are more expensive ). Locally we call it ‘ Pokirisso ‘
CuttleFish and Calamari in Sri Lanka
Calamari is referred to as ‘ Dallo ‘ / ‘ dello ‘ ( This is the smaller variety in the squid family ) while Cuttlefish is referred to as ‘ Yak Dallo ‘ ( Larger variety ) but normally local people use the term cuttlefish for both these sea foods in Sri Lanka. Calamari is cheaper and price starts from around $4 ( larger the size higher the price ) while Cuttlefish price starts around $8. Cuttlefish ( or Yak Dallo ) is not very common like Calamari. So it is bit rare in fish markets and super markets compared to cuttle fish, prawns and sea crabs in Sri Lanka.
Seer fish is also another expensive type of sea food in Sri Lanka. Locally called as ‘ thora’ or ‘ thora malu’. Normally cost around $6 – $10
Locally we say ‘ thalapath ‘ / ‘ thalapath malu ‘ for sailfish. One of the tastier and expensive type of fish. Normally these are huge in size. Even a small one that comes to the market is around 7-8 kilos in size. You can buy smaller slices ( around 1kG ) from super markets or fish stalls for around $6-$10.
Tuna fish is a popular sea food dish in Sri Lanka. One of the affordable fish varieties. Skipjack tuna is referred to as ‘ Balayaa ‘while Yellowfin tuna and Bigeye Tuna are referred to as ‘ Kelawalla ‘. Kelawalla is tastier than balaya. Balaya price is lower than that of Kelawalla Tuna. Skipjack tuna price is around $1.5 – $6 while Yellowfin tuna / Bigeye Tuna price is around $2.5 – $8.( Larger the fish higher the price ). Also you will find low cost varieties like Mackerel tuna ( Aetawallaa ) and Frigate tuna ( Alagoduwaa ) around $1 – $4 ( Less tastier than Skipjack, Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna ).
( All prices are per KG and please kindly note that the prices will vary depending on the season and type of sea food outlet as well. eg Prices will be higher in supermarkets compared to small fish stalls )
Tips when eating sea food in Sri Lanka
When buying raw seafood ;
If you don’t have much experience in identifying fresh and stale seafood, always buy from super markets, So you will be able to get fresh fish / seafood most of the time. If you are good at identifying fresh fish, you can buy from anywhere you like !
Where to ear seafood dishes ?
Always go to places that have good positive reviews. Also you can enjoy fresh sea food from places around the sea belt in Sri Lanka.