Chronicles of Kothu Roti


Have you ever wondered how the mixture of chopped roti, a meat curry, egg, and vegetables, is insanely popular in the busy streets of Sri Lanka? Brace yourself as we explore the journey of the soul of the street food chain, where each chop tells a story.

Kothu Roti can also be spelled as Kottu Roti, stand-alone as a masterpiece of Sri Lankan Street food culture. The word “Kothu” means “chop” in Tamil while “roti” is a charred Indian bread. The rhythmic sound of chopping blades and the tempting aroma in the streets of Aluthkade and Galle Face always add glamour to the nightlife in Colombo. Going back to the 1970s, the meal originated on the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka. Initially, Lankans in Trincomalee and Batticaloa recognized Kothu Roti as an affordable meal for the lower socio-economic classes. Kothu was born out of necessity where people used leftover roti and combined it with a variety of ingredients to craft a satisfying meal. This dish could be found in every street in Sri Lanka. Kothu Roti’s popularity gradually transitioned its way from street stalls to five-star hotels.The specialty of Kothu Roti extends beyond the taste of the dish and that’s the art of preparation. The magic happens on the heated tawa where the chef adds the shredded roti and the main ingredients such as meat (chicken, mutton), eggs, carrots, leeks, cabbages, and a variety of spices. Finally, that’s the moment, through a repetitive pounding using heavy iron blades these ingredients are mixed. The symphony of sizzling sounds and aroma of this extraordinary dish adds a lively setting in the busy streets. People have different tastes and preferences, some being vegetarian and others are non-vegetarian. Catering to the people’s preferences, today, a diverse range of Kothu Roti options are available. For non-vegetarians, there is a wide range of choices from Chicken Kothu, Egg Kothu, Beef Kothu, Cheese Kothu, Shrimp Kothu, Fish Kothu, and the list goes on, on the other hand, Vegetable Kothu exclusively available for vegetarians. The dish not only embodies the culinary journey but also holds a cultural significance that brings people together.I would bet that every islander would have experienced Kothu Roti at least once in their lifetime. It stands out as one of the favorite meals for many of us. During the chilly night breeze, the roadside experience of savoring warm and sizzling Kothu Roti, with the exotic aroma of the spices has never failed to provide a sense of harmony and peace of mind. In those moments, it takes us to a different world where the bustling surrounding fades away.Is Kothu Roti enjoyed only by locals?

The answer is absolutely not. This dish has captured the hearts of both locals and tourists. Notably, Khalid Al Ameri, Emirati blogger, and a famous YouTuber, on his recent visit to Sri Lanka, tried Kothu Roti for the very first time and said, “That was legit. The Kothu Roti has gone up to my top five favorite foods.”

Sri Lanka’s Kothu Roti is not merely a dish; it is a culinary masterpiece. This iconic dish serves as a delicious ambassador to inviting people and reflects a warmth of hospitality for which Sri Lankans are well known. So, let your taste buds dance while embracing a memorable journey through the Chronicles of Kothu Roti.

Written By:





Rtr. Shimra Shamil
(Junior Blog Team Member 2023-24)

Edited By:





Rtr. Sandasi Senaratne
(Blog Team Member 2023-24)


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