Sri Lanka officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.
The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. Mean temperatures range from 17 °C in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C in other low-altitude areas. Average yearly temperatures range from 28 °C to nearly 31 °C. Day and night temperatures may vary by 14 °C to 18 °C.
Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country. Buddhists comprise 70 percent of the population, with the Theravada school being predominant. Most Buddhists are of the Sinhalese ethnic group. Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda. A sapling of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka during the same time. The Pāli Canon (Thripitakaya), having previously been preserved as an oral tradition, was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE.
Dishes include rice and curry, pittu, kiribath, wholemeal roti, string hoppers, wattalapam (a rich pudding of Malay origin made of coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs, and spices including cinnamon and nutmeg), kottu, and hoppers. Jackfruit may sometimes replace rice. Traditionally food is served on a plantain leaf or lotus leaf.
Middle Eastern influences and practices are found in traditional Moor dishes, while Dutch and Portuguese influences are found with the island’s Burgher community preserving their culture through traditional dishes such as Lamprais (rice cooked in stock and baked in a banana leaf), Breudher (Dutch Holiday Biscuit), and Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake).