There is a plethora of reasons to add Sri Lanka to your list of travel plans. Starting with the obvious: seemingly untouched white sand beaches, genuinely friendly people, the wildlife and nature, and grand hotels.
Yet, the reason you should visit Sri Lanka and the reason you will return… the FOOD!
If you have never had a Sri Lankan egg hopper, you are really missing out on a unique and special breakfast. Start looking up flights to Sri Lanka now! Time is of the essence folks…
You say, “Jessica, am I really going to visit Sri Lanka just based on an egg hopper?”
I say, “YES!!” Google “Sri Lankan egg hopper” and you will find people from all over the world gush about this breakfast. And yes, some travel buffs say they are returning to Sri Lanka again just to start their mornings this way…
Growing up, I was pretty lucky. My grandmother (Anastasia) would come over to our house, hopper pan in tow, and make us a hopper feast of a breakfast. My father would eat upwards of 10 or more hoppers with my mom’s beef curry and all the fixings. My brother and I were just as ravenous on those days, realizing how special a day it was.
Truth be told, you could buy a hopper pan (although they are not the easiest to find) and try your hand at making them. However, if you have not had the necessary practice to get the artistic swivel of the wrist down pat, I encourage you to visit this jewel of a country.
Take a look at the skill of this chef! Egg Hopper Demo
Today, I have chosen to focus on the egg hopper with its quintessential (and my personal favorite) accompaniments: katta sambol (a dryish chili sambol), pol sambol (a coconut sambol), and seeni sambol (an onion sambol). The inclusion of beef curry would have been idyllic; however, with all types of curry at my disposal while on holiday in Sri Lanka, I decided to go sans curry this morning.
When eating a hopper, most often you will see these 3 items paired along with the hopper. (Before I forget to mention, the hopper can be prepared plain (without an egg), with an egg cooked to your preference, or with an egg and vegetables. Panni (honey) versions are also available and have a beautiful touch of caramelized sweetness.)
The hopper is made from a batter mainly consisting of coconut milk, rice flour and toddy (palm wine). Sometimes the toddy is substituted with baking soda or yeast, the idea that the substitution still lends a sour note to the overall crispy like bowl. This is an important flavor that adds depth and a bit of that zing factor: Think sourdough bread and the after taste. The coconut milk is pronounced and immediately tasted within the first bite. It’s what makes me smile.
Bringing It All Together:
The sambols are served isolated from the others in order to decipher which sambol flavor profile is suitable for your palette with each bite. If you prefer a sweeter, sugary taste you would pair it with the seeni sambol; for a spicy-salty profile, try the katta sambol; for a spicy-citrusy flavor, go for the pol sambol.
You may prefer to pair it with the hopper one at a time, or blend the 3 together (which I thoroughly get into) as all 3 work harmoniously with the hopper to gradually develop an explosion of tastes, from sweet to heat. It’s got it all.
In short, this is the reason everything is served distinctly separate and not all together and mixed up.
The best breakfast ever!! What is even better, egg hoppers are also served for dinner!!
We garnered the necessary energy from these crepe-like crispy bowls for our journey ahead to Yala National Park. See you in the wild…
For those of you who have subscribed to 13 Spices, thank you for your support and interest in Sri Lanka and its cuisine. I hope you enjoyed this post on the “Egg Hopper.” If you would like for me to pick up a hopper pan for you while in Sri Lanka, just shoot me an email.