Eating & Drinking In Sinhala – Part 1: Food, Drinks, & Other General Words

eating & drinking in sinhala - lazy but smart sinhala-1

I’ve always enjoyed food.

Any childhood photo of chubby little Dilshan would prove that.

I’ve always enjoyed drinks too, for that matter, but obviously more in my adult life than the earlier years. Any photo of my chubby beer belly would prove that too.

I’ve been asked by many: “What’s your favorite type of food?”, the most recent occurrence of this question was from a distant aunt I ran into, while – I kid you not – waiting for the doors of a movie theater to open!

That’s not a question that can be answered, can it? I mean there’s so many to choose from!

(And besides, the damn movie is about to start!) >>>


So while I mumbled something to this aunt whose name I don’t even remember, I got the idea that night, to do a post for all of you on eating & drinking. Sinhala words and phrases for food & drinks, you know, that sort of thing.

And judging by the initial outline I drew I realized that there’s going to be so much to cover, that I’ll have to divide it into 3 parts.

So this here is Part 1…

But first let me try to tackle the “favorite type of food” question in case Annoying Aunt Anonymous is reading this.


And My Favorite Type Of Food Is…


Chinese food!

Yes, if someone forced me to pinpoint one type of cuisine, then I would have to choose Chinese food.

But like with most of my answers, it’s not that straightforward. Just ask any girl who has asked me the question “Dilshan, where do you see this relationship going?”.

So let me elaborate:

  • First of all, I’m not including good old fashioned day-to-day Sri Lankan food. I assumed you’d know that it was a given. I’d give up all other cuisines in a heartbeat and stick to Sri Lankan food for the rest of my life if it ever came down to it.
  • Secondly, when I say Chinese food, I’m talking about the Chinese food I get in Sri Lanka (and most recently I’ve been delighted to discover similar flavors in India too). So let’s call it South-Asian Chinese food.

What’s the difference, you ask?

Before I answer that, keep in mind, I’ve never been to China. I’m only comparing it to the Chinese food I ate in Europe.

Well, the Chinese restaurants over here in the sub-continent seem to have taken authentic recipes that have been handed down over centuries and done their own “baila” to it by adding a spicy spin to it. It really is better suited to my Sri Lankan palette.

And as you may or may not know, for most of us South Asians, a good meal is one that you feel twice…

(I’ll let you think about that one for a minute. I could make my dad’s joke of toilet paper catching fire but that might be getting too graphic for you decent and respectable people reading this).


But there’s a new contender in town…

Since recently though and owing to numerous trips I’ve made to India, I’ve been on a culinary adventure trying out different types of regional food.

Much like the commitment-phobe that I am (I mean, I used to be – stay tuned, I have an announcement to make soon) I’ve been “playing the field” and taking my time before settling on what I think might be my favorite regional cuisine. I’m still not going to commit to one, but let’s just say that if this were an episode from the reality TV show “The Bachelor”, then right about now, I’d be giving out roses to both Gujarati food and Punjabi food.


About This Blog Post


Here’s what we’re going to do.

In this post, we’re only going to look at general words related to eating and drinking. I’m not going to complicate it with anything more.

I’ve also thrown in some sample phrases using just one of the words I’ve introduced (and not all). I’ve done this one purpose so that it’ll force you to substitute the rest of the words on your own and forcing you to (dare I say it?) LEARN some Sinhala…

Speak to you again at the end of the post. I do have a bonus for you.


1. “Eating” & “Drinking”

Table 1.1: The Sinhala Words For “Eating” & “Drinking”

Eating / Eat ka∙nȧ∙va       
Not eating / Don’t eat kan∙né   nǣ       
Drinking / Drink bo∙nȧ∙va       
Not drinking / Don’t drink bon∙né   nǣ       


Table 1.2: Sample Sinhala Phrases Using “Eating / Eat” As An Example

I am eating / I eat ma∙mȧ   ka∙nȧ∙va       
I am not eating / I don’t eat ma∙mȧ   kan∙né   nǣ       


2. “Food” & “Drinks”

Table 2.1: The Sinhala Words For “Food” & “Drinks”

Food kǣ∙mȧ       
Drinks bee∙mȧ       


Table 2.2: Sample Sinhala Phrases Using “Food” As An Example

I want food ma∙tȧ   kǣ∙mȧ   ō∙né       
I don’t want food ma∙tȧ   kǣ∙mȧ   ō∙né   nǣ1
I want more food ma∙tȧ   kǣ∙mȧ   tha∙wȧ   ō∙né       
I don’t want more food ma∙tȧ   kǣ∙mȧ   tha∙wȧ   ō∙né   nǣ1


1 You can replace ‘ō∙né nǣ’ with ‘é∙paa’


3. “Hungry” & “Thirsty”

Table 3.1: The Sinhala Words For “Hungry” & “Thirsty”

(am) Hungry ba∙dȧ∙gi∙niyi       
(am) Not hungry ba∙dȧ∙gi∙ni   nǣ       
(am) Thirsty thi∙ba∙hayi       
(am) Not thirsty thi∙ba∙ha   nǣ       


Table 3.2: Sample Sinhala Phrases Using “Food” As An Example

I am hungry ma∙tȧ   ba∙dȧ∙gi∙niyi       
I am not hungry ma∙tȧ   ba∙dȧ∙gi∙ni   nǣ       



If you’d like to receive a one-page summary (in PDF) of what you just saw in this post, let me know in a comment below.

Of course, you can leave all your questions, thoughts, love, (hate?!) as well.

(Hint: I respond quicker to people who inflate my ego)

Talk to you in a bit…

preview-eating & drinking in sinhala summary

Teaser Preview Of The One-Page Summary


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129 Responses to Eating & Drinking In Sinhala – Part 1: Food, Drinks, & Other General Words

  1. stuart November 16, 2015 at 11:48 #

    These blogs and booklets are a great help for me – slowly I am learning the language and getting to find out what my wife is shout at me about!!

  2. Sofie November 16, 2015 at 11:52 #

    Hi Dilshan,
    Perfect start for the Eating&Drinking trilogy. I’m in Sri Lanka now so very useful to know how to say “I don’t want more food” in a nice way when my mother-in-law is filling my plate over and over again, even if I doubt it works…;) Lovely Sri Lanka.
    I would of course love to get the free pdf from you:)
    Much Love,

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 11:54 #

      Thanks Sofie, I can TOTALLY relate to what you just said, haha!

      Where and where have you visited so far in Sri Lanka?

      Check your inbox in a minute for the PDF.

      • Rajendra November 16, 2015 at 12:07 #

        well done sir, thank you very much dear.

  3. dinesha November 16, 2015 at 12:37 #

    Thank U Dilshan for the lessons, I need all help with the sinhala language, cause next Winter I and my family will travel to Sri Lanka :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 12:42 #

      You’re welcome, Dinesha. Glad to hear about your upcoming trip too.

  4. Natalia November 16, 2015 at 12:51 #

    Hi Dilshan,
    very useful and very clear, as usual.
    Local people often say in English: “I am full”, when they are no longer hungry. Is there something similar in Sinhala?

    Thanks and good luck!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 13:02 #

      Great question, Natalia. You could say ‘ma∙gé ba∙dȧ pi∙ri∙la’ (“My stomach is full”).

  5. Laura November 16, 2015 at 13:02 #

    Hi Dilshan :)
    That was really interesting ☺️ I’d love to get the pdf!

    Btw, my boyfriend told me that “mata badaginiyi” literally means “my belly is on fire” ? Talking about feeling your meal twice, uh?
    Take care!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 13:07 #

      Hi Laura! Yes, he’s right:

      ba∙dȧ = “stomach”
      gi∙ni = another way of saying ‘gin∙nȧ’ or ‘gin∙dhȧ∙rȧ’ (both mean “fire”)
      ba∙dȧ∙gi∙niyi = (is/aùm/are) hungry

      Check your inbox :)

  6. Patty November 16, 2015 at 13:04 #

    That one is much more straight forward than the last one….. “Mata palathura kanna o-ne”.

    Many thanks

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 13:11 #

      Well done, Patty.

      ma∙tȧ pa∙la∙thu∙rȧ kan∙nȧ ō∙né = “I want to eat the fruit”
      ma∙tȧ pa∙la∙thu∙ru kan∙nȧ ō∙né = “I want to eat fruits”

      Makes sense, I hope?

  7. Brian Howell November 16, 2015 at 13:24 #

    Hi Dilshan and thank you for another informative and essential Sinhala blood post!

    • Brian Howell November 16, 2015 at 13:26 #

      Er…make that BLOG POST; my apologies, autocorrect on my phone decided the latter.

      • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 13:38 #

        Perfect! I literally “chuckled out loud” for your comment. You’re welcome, Brian

        • Brian Howell November 16, 2015 at 13:44 #

          Happy to be of service if for no other reason than to lighten the mood! Godak stutiyi.

  8. Christine November 16, 2015 at 13:26 #

    Hi Dilshan, I looooove food so I’m very happy about this new post and can’t wait to see the pdf ;-)
    I also just got a long-awaited big delivery of Sri Lankan spices and tea so will cook some spicy dishes soon :-)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 13:40 #

      Oooh, I remember the days when I would also get a package of Sri Lankan goodies sent by my mom. The excitement cannot be described in words. Enjoy. Also, sending you the PDF now.

      • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 13:42 #

        By the way, what’s the brand of tea you’ve got? I’m always interested in seeing which tea brands people consider their favorite.

  9. Wendy November 16, 2015 at 14:06 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    Thanks for the useful food words, looking forward to the next part. I must practice more. When I get on the bus in Colombo to come up to Kandy the fellow selling bottles of water calls out ‘Coola beema, coola beema, coola beema’, so now I know why.



    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 16, 2015 at 15:31 #

      Hi Wendy, good observation & recalling. But I didn’t fully understand. Is he trying to saw “Cool” drinks or “Cola” drinks? Any thoughts?

  10. Patrick November 16, 2015 at 16:01 #

    Thanks as always for the tips and the pdf! :)

  11. Ari November 16, 2015 at 16:09 #

    Subha Dawasak Dilshan,

    Am a huge fan of LBSS and your fun personality. (Enough of an ego boost?) Lanka is my favorite place on Earth and I’m so thankful to you and the LBSS lessons. I love being able to communicate with my Lankan friends in Sinhala!

    Bohoma sthuti!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 06:59 #

      Hi Ari, good to hear from you again. Yes, ego has been successfully boosted. Talk soon.

  12. Elizabeth November 16, 2015 at 16:41 #

    Hello Dilshan

    Good to hear from you after a long time. The above blog is wonderful for beginners. Unfortunately I am not one of those. Only I find it hard to hold a conversation in Sinhala
    because, here, I do NOT have any Sri Lankans whom I could do so. However, many thanks for sharing.

    I do like East Indian dishes & eat at Indian Restaurants whenever I get a chance, but never
    Chinese food.

    Bye for now
    Elizabeth T.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:00 #

      Hi Elizabeth, yes I remember that you’re sorted in the vocabulary department. But at least now you know which cuisine I enjoy the most :)

  13. Jean-Jacques November 16, 2015 at 17:02 #

    Yes I like —– did you read my mail —– concerning meaning and use of the word “TAMAI” like in Sally Tamai —- I heard this word a lot but does not understand the sense of it. J’ai aussi de la famille a et pres de Paris, heureusement il n’etaient pas parmi les victimes.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:10 #

      Hi Jean-Jacques, happy to hear that your family is safe. About your question, let me answer it by first explaining a different word:

      ‘néméyi’ = “is not” / “am not” / “are not”

      For example: ‘mamå néméyi’ = “(It) is not me” (in case you’re being accused of eating the last piece of kiribath).

      ‘thamayi’ = the opposite of ‘néméyi’…

      ‘néméyi’ = “is” / “am” / “are”

      It is used when you need to be emphatic about something.

      Example: ‘mamå thamayi’ = “(It) is me”

      I’ve heard the same expression “salli thamayi’ but don’t yet know what it means. Will check with my “cool” friends and get back to you. I do know that ‘salli’ means “money”.

      Is that clear for you?

      • Jean-Jacques November 24, 2015 at 18:34 #

        Yes, ithanks —- You hear on Hiru TV when some poeple get some money they all shout “SALLY TAMAI” —– Terunada?

        • Dilshan Jayasinha November 25, 2015 at 05:58 #

          Haha, sorry, I don’t usually watch Hiru TV. Will look out for it and get back to you.

  14. Jose Mammen November 16, 2015 at 18:29 #

    Thank you Dilshan for taking the pains to teach us beginners!

  15. Paul Hatton November 16, 2015 at 19:00 #

    Hi Dilshan

    An absolutely brilliant idea, like you, if I could get real Sri Lankan food here in GB, then everything else could just go away (BTW have you tried Spice and Ice in Galle Road, next door to Arpico, fantastic :-) )

    Oh, and yes very please, I’d love the one page summary.

    Thank you so much for
    a) the blog
    b) being a wonderful person

    does that inflate the ego at all ;-)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:11 #

      Haha, yes my ego appreciates all that you said. Will check out spice & ice and let you know (I hadn’t heard of it before). Shall send you the PDF soon. Not at home right now. Instead at a cafe.

  16. Yuliia November 16, 2015 at 21:02 #

    Hello Dilshan!
    Please send me to my e-mail the one page summary of food related words that you share in this link.
    Many thanks.


    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:12 #

      You’re welcome. Shall send you the PDF when I get home soon.

  17. Janniek November 16, 2015 at 22:22 #

    Hi Dilshaaan !

    Another useful blog of ya, thank you so much!
    I’m super happy that I found this blog in 2014.
    I can speak and understand Sinhala pretty well now.
    My boyfriend lives in SL so he is kinda forcing me to learn Sinhala (even tho I love to learn it)
    By da way, I’m only 16 years old :) I think u might like to know that.
    Anyways keep it going and thanks for being the best Sinhala teacher ever !

    Much love from The Netherlands x

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:13 #

      Hi Janniek, glad to hear that your Sinhala is coming along well. And even gladder to hear the enthusiasm in your words. Keep it up. Say hi to your Sri Lankan boyfriend for me. Which city is he from?

  18. Helen November 16, 2015 at 23:20 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    I am progressing slowly but assuredly lol
    I am practicing in a chatroom now with simple phrases and words, is fun as no one else knows what I am saying only he who I post to :)
    There are times I can’t understand his lines as they are words I don’t know yet but was delighted with “mama oyaata adhareyi”

    I do find some minor differences with spelling but that does not take away from the understanding.

    I look forward to each of your additions.

    I went to a celebration of Diwali here in Auckland New Zealand and there were two places selling kothu roti. (my friend’s favourite) i watched mine being cooked :)

    Bohoma istuti

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:16 #

      In a chat room and already reached the “I love you” phase? Well done Helen! :)

      Oh, don’t mention koththu! I’ve been out of Sri Lanka for almost a month now and am dying to have one. Preferably late in the night from Pilawoos. I celebrated Diwali in India this time. Amazing!

  19. Tracey November 16, 2015 at 23:28 #

    great I love learning all these things now i will be able to add to my vocab. now just need someone to practise out loud on. at the moment im just writing the things i learn. I would love the PDF

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:28 #

      Don’t worry Tracey, you’ll get there soon. Shall send you the PDF when I get home soon.

  20. John November 17, 2015 at 00:06 #

    Love food, so love this lesson. Really important that you have the audio addition. You can learn vocab till the cows come home but if you’re not sure of pronunciation you’re building a house on sand. I love mixed metaphors too… Can you add audio to the rest of your GREAT stuff?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:30 #

      Agreed about the building a house on sand (not so bad at metaphors yourself). What did you mean by other stuff? I think I’ve added audio to almost everything, or have I missed out something?

  21. Viatcheslav November 17, 2015 at 00:17 #

    You are doing great job, Dilshan. Thank you very much indeed!

  22. Clarissa November 17, 2015 at 00:31 #

    Thanks as always Dilshan. I don’t know how many tides I am in a friends home and them or their mother insist I eat more and more food. I had to learn the word for enough and I can’t remember now! Sadly since I don’t have anyone to regularly speak Sinhala with I get a bit rusty! This is very close to what I was hoping you would post because you introduce some verbs and sentence structure things so it’s super helpful in taking the words I can seem to remember and making sentences to have a conversation (or my attempts at one). I would love the one page PDF to add to my notes. Thank you again for your helpful post and your great sense of humor. I’m with you on not being able to choose one type of food… pretty much anything Asian is my favorite but Spicy Tex Mex would be comfort food as well. I have some friends who have been teaching me how to cook Sri Lankan food via Skype and eating a spicy sri lankan curry is kinda like wearing my favorite tshirt.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:33 #

      I love the expression “is like wearing my favorite t-shirt” (I might steal it for s future post. You have been warned).

      The word for “enough” is ‘aethiyi’. But like you said it usually falls on deaf ears.

      Shall send you the PDF as soon as I get home. At a cafe now having breakfast and coffee.

  23. Ashwini November 17, 2015 at 01:57 #

    Thank you Dilshan. Now I can go “mata kaemae onea” whenever I’m hungry haha =D

  24. Niranjan November 17, 2015 at 02:45 #

    Dilshan you are doing a lot for lazy learners like me. Very simple and effective way of teaching.Very useful phrases on eating and drinking. I can start using them with my canteen man who can only speak in sinhala. Thanks

  25. Sarah November 17, 2015 at 03:51 #

    Hi Dilshan!
    Could you send me the pdf? I am staying in a small town close to Colombo and here I am the only foreigner among Sri Lankans so every bit of Sinhala is helpful for me. If you have the same thing in Tamil you´re welcome to send it as well ;-)
    Thanks a lot!
    your nangi

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:35 #

      Hello Nangi Sarah :) Shall send it to you when I’m back home. But no, I don’t have it in Tamil. Are there many Tamil speaking folks in your area? What’s the name of the little town?

  26. bob cook November 17, 2015 at 04:02 #

    Thanks again for all you efforts. I have noticed when sri Lanka’s say mata badagini, which admittedly is not very often, it’s like a performance. The vowels are extended like maaaaaaataaaaaaaa baaaaaadaaaaaagiiiiiiniiiiiii accompanied by much screwing of the face or if it is baaaaaaaadaaaaaaaginiiiiiiiiiii this is accompanied by much rubbing of the stomach.look forward to the one page summary. Best wishes, no .

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:36 #

      Bob, you nailed the impression of a hungry Sri Lankan perfectly! Kudos on your observation and ability to describe. If anyone else is reason this, know that I couldn’t have described it as good as Bob did! Well done sir! Shall send you the PDF when I’m back home.

  27. Nargis November 17, 2015 at 04:46 #

    great post indeed…i must say i got to use some of my sinhala knowledge wen i visited srilanka last may,and i owe that to u Dilshan…hope to get even better by my next visit:)
    i would lov to get the PDF…

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:38 #

      Thanks Nargis, but you should take most of the credit (this is not me being modest by the way, I don’t know how to be modest). What I mean is I know so many who learn from me but never put it to use. Too scared of making mistakes). So having the courage to practice it is entirely thanks to you. Keep it up. Shall send you the PDF soon.

  28. Steve Parenteau November 17, 2015 at 07:10 #


    I’m so pleased with your works; we have discussed asking to use some of your materials for our Sinhala classes at our school, where I have a one-hour lesson each week. Not enough to really galvanise my learning though, as we still speak English all day to one another!!

    I really like your style and approach to learning. Thanks so much for your shared learning.


    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 07:40 #

      Steve, where the hell are my royalties, man?!!! Just kidding. Honored that you guys are considering using my material. Email me sometime and tell me more about how your current lessons are going. I’d be interested to see how I can contribute.

  29. caroline November 17, 2015 at 08:16 #

    Dear sir,

    These blogs is helpful for me and then i ‘m have a little girl now so i ‘ll these blogs chat with my sweet baby .
    Thanks and regard caro.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 17, 2015 at 16:37 #

      Hi Caro, congratulations on the new little girl! What’s her name? Wishing you both the very best.

  30. Lakshman November 17, 2015 at 09:38 #

    well done and thanks,
    keep on your valuable help…

  31. Arielle November 17, 2015 at 21:58 #

    This reminds me of conversations i has with my research assistants when I was in Sri Lanka. Great lesson. Very useful. Thanks!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 18, 2015 at 06:35 #

      That’s cool. What type of research were you doing? (if it’s TOP SECRET then blink twice and I’ll get the message)…

  32. caroline November 18, 2015 at 07:10 #

    Thank you sir, her name shalinee dhaen ma ma ma ma ge dhu wa sihalese ka thaa ka ra na.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 18, 2015 at 07:36 #

      Nice name. Glad to see that you’re speaking Sinhala to her. You would say it as “dhaen mama magé duwath ekka Sinhala kathaa karanava” (“I now speak Sinhala with my daughter”). All the best Caroline.

  33. Anudini Jinadasa-Wijesinghe November 18, 2015 at 09:56 #

    Your Blog is AMAZING!!!! It has helped me so much! Thank you Dilshan! :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 21, 2015 at 05:10 #

      Yes! My ego and I never get tired of comments like this… :) Thanks Anudini

  34. Julie November 18, 2015 at 22:50 #

    Hi Dilshan.
    ? Good idea To make a trilogy for food – i Love this section in The book. Sri Lankan food is easy to cook – and so its great To make a “kids-version” (means less spicy) and the adult Version. I have a SriLankan Woman here. She explains me each time sth. new when i buy some ingredients in her AsiaShop. Sometimes she Even holds some things for me :-) . So The idea that Ur Food is great is absolutely true. Indian food: Gujarati is irrestestable …. !!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 21, 2015 at 05:12 #

      Hi Julie, so you’ve tried Gujarati food? Do you remember which was your favorite. I’ve been going crazy with homemade “Teplas”. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve eaten in the last 6 months!

  35. Debbie November 19, 2015 at 10:42 #

    It looks like most people have made it to Sri Lanka judging from the comments. I’m afraid I was unable to go this month (the original plan was to have arrived there 3 days ago). My business partner will arrive here in a few days instead, if the visa gets arranged in time. Possibly next Fall I’ll make it there. The post is good for me as I’m moving very slowly on the Sinhala at present so it’s at my level (I’m spending more time on Italian & Portuguese & keeping up my snail pace progress in Arabic and Chinese). I’m assuming that the one comment referred to favourite ceylon teas, but it reminded me of some of my favourite teas. In China, I learned that a good Dragon Well tea harvested at the right time (more expensive), really does smell & taste better. Also, prepared by an expert on one of their tea tables does make for a great cup of tea. Other favourites are Tea de Manzanilla (available in Mexico, Argentina & a few other latin American countries); Tri-Mate, found in Ecuador and contains Manzanilla & two other herbs: and coca tea in Peru.
    Pleas send me the bonus PDF. I will eventually use and re-use all this material. I do appreciate that you keep helping us.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 21, 2015 at 05:14 #

      Thanks to you Debbie, I’ve now added a few more teas to my bucket list… Very much appreciated. Sending you the PDF shortly. Take care and good luck with your re-kindled interest in learning Sinhala.

  36. Helga November 20, 2015 at 12:14 #

    Dear Dilshan,
    Thank you very much for your mail, which always reminds me, what I should do!!!
    What is your favorite Chinese restaurant??? or do you cook yourself??? Please send the pdf and continue with your efforts.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 21, 2015 at 05:16 #

      My fav chinese restaurant in Sri Lanka is still the old classic “Flower Drum” (they used to be located walking distance to where I grew up but now they’ve moved). I also like “Sukee’s Wok” that only does take away & delivery. Note: I’m not getting any commissions by talking about these places. I’m just answering your question :)

  37. Sue November 20, 2015 at 16:03 #

    Hi Dilshan

    Thank you for giving us something to smile about at this time. I LOVE your sense of “humour”.

    Just recently my husband and I visited with his cousins for lunch. Sitting listening to them speak in Sinhala I found that I could actually follow some of the pleasantries exchanged (how are you,? how is Amma? Etc) that you have covered in the past – it was a revelation! Thank you, you are awesome. PS please can I have the summary? Thank you!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 21, 2015 at 05:17 #

      That’s so great to hear, Sue! So glad you could pick up what they were saying. Here’s hoping that it becomes less deciphered as time goes by (and your learning continues). Sending you the PDF shortly.

  38. Stuart November 21, 2015 at 05:18 #

    Great post. Keep up the good work Dilshan!

  39. Yvonne November 21, 2015 at 07:49 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    Thank you for this very useful Sinhala lesson! It is very comfortable to listen to your voice! The voice is clear and makes it easy to understand and repeat. I would love to receive the PDF please. Thank you.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 22, 2015 at 14:48 #

      Thanks for the compliment Yvonne… Yes my voice has been called many things (usually “annoying”), but “comfortable” would probably be one of the best :) Sending you the PDF shortly.

  40. Alexandra November 21, 2015 at 08:20 #

    Hi Dilshan,
    After five months staying with my boyfriends family in Sri Lanka (Southern Province) now, my family in Europe believes I can’t eat or see rice anymore … But I still love the rice and curry cooked by my boyfriends mum :) Dhal and Pumpkin Curry are my favorites ;)
    Please also send the PDF.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 22, 2015 at 14:49 #

      Ooooh, Dhal and pumpkin curry!!! Been a while since I had that. Must eat that again soon. I too love my rice. Too much, actually.

  41. Ashin Panyin November 21, 2015 at 09:15 #

    Hello Mr. Dilshan,

    Thank you very much for this wonderful lessons and clear voice which are super helpful for me. I have just a book written by you “Phrasebook & Dictionary but it is not enough to learn more Sinhala.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 07:55 #

      Hi Ashin, thanks for the feedback and compliment. You said the phrasebook and dictionary are not enough. What else would you like to see?

  42. Olivier November 21, 2015 at 10:49 #

    Hey Dilshan,
    Nice post. Would be great to get the 1 page pdf summary.
    Hmmm. Toilet paper catching fire… :-)
    I am kind of vegetarian and actually I am happy with most of veg. foods. But If I had to choose only one thing I might well go for Durian. This summer I had a durian Ice cream at Carnival (Col 3. I think). AMAZING!
    Still learning through my brand new premium sinhala words & phases. AMAZING (at least as much as a Durian)!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 07:57 #

      Haha, I’m proud to say that my new book is getting a lot of compliments but your comment is probably one of the best it has got so far: “Amazing… as much as Durian”. Love it! Sending you the PDF now.

  43. Shirley Vilathgamuwa November 21, 2015 at 13:07 #

    Totally awesome as always Dilshan. You are most certainly one of the most fun teachers, wish I had teachers like you in school would have been lot more fun.
    I have been exercising my Sinhala with a young friend in SL, i have been helping him with his English pronunciation and comprehension, we have a lot of fun chatting on the phone. When I say Sinhala words, he laughs a lot I believe it is my pronunciation and lack of speed in saying a word. I remember in the SL parties I have been to, trying to understand is difficult. The high speed at which everything is spoken makes your brain feel like its on overdrive.

    Interesting to read about your different tastes in cuisine, i love trying food from all over the world. SL foods are my favourite though without a doubt, Indian and Chinese close second.

    Enjoy looking forward to my pdf, love and blessing to you and your family.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 07:59 #

      Thanks Shirley, always happy to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment about my teaching. I like the exchange you’ve got going with your Sri Lankan friend. Seems a like a clear win-win. Sending you the PDF now.

  44. Susannah November 21, 2015 at 14:06 #

    Really useful stuff Dilshan. But wish my rememberer worked well because I am walking around repeating one phrase, several times…..only for it to disappear from my memory a few hours later. Must try harder !

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 08:01 #

      No, don’t try harder, instead try something different. When you need to remember the name of someone (not a friend, but instead like the name of a doctor or plumber that someone recommended) how do you make a note of it?

  45. Helena November 21, 2015 at 15:54 #

    Hi, dilshan, I am so happy that there is somebody special like you, you are just the great person. I am so proud to have such a fantastic teacher like you!!!!!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 08:02 #

      Oh wow, so sweet of you to say Helena, thanks. Hope you’re well too? Been a long time since I heard from you.

  46. Supriya November 21, 2015 at 16:46 #


    Your posts are really helpful. I have now started to understand the language, but trying to speak fluently in the same accent. Hopefully wid d help of ur posts will do dat also soon.


  47. Elizabeth November 21, 2015 at 17:05 #

    Hello Dilshan

    I have already written a comment on the above subject on Nov 16th & had your reply on Nov 17th. I don’t know what else to say.

    However, I would like to ask you if you let all of us be aware of our relationships starting from our grandparents down to the 2nd cousins in Sinhala. e.g. cousin, niece & nephew

    Thanks & Bye for now

    Elizabeth T.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 08:35 #

      Hi again Elizabeth, see this post that I did a while back which might be what you’re looking for:

      • Elizabeth November 25, 2015 at 16:22 #

        Hello Dilshan

        All these are news to me. Great. I was a little curious about your Sinhala translation for husband & wife. So I referred to the Sinhala dictionary I had brought with me from Sri Lanka. It says husband in Sinhala is “Swamipurushaya /Samiya”, & wife is “Birinda.” I am not sure if I have spelled it correctly.

        Thanks again Dilshan.
        Good Luck & Bye for now.
        Elizabeth T.


        • Dilshan Jayasinha November 26, 2015 at 17:39 #

          Hi Elizabeth, the words I have given (as I usually do) are what you would use in typical day-to-day conversation. You can by all means use samiya and birindha too, I’d consider them semi formal. Swaamipurushaya is way too formal to use when speaking.

          • Elizabeth November 27, 2015 at 16:47 #

            Hello Dilshn

            Thanks for explaining the above to me.

            Elizabeth T.

  48. Nalaka November 21, 2015 at 22:41 #

    Hi, Dilshan

    Hope you are going well.
    Nice post again…
    Speaking Sinhala is much easier than French and German Russian…

    Thanks for making lazzy but smart….It’s really helpful..

    Please continue your posts…
    Can’t wait to see

    Greetings from busy Paris

  49. Joan November 22, 2015 at 10:01 #

    Hello Dilshan
    Thanks for this latest chunk of Sinhala
    I worked as a teacher in Sri Lanka for 3 years and learned a fair bit of the language during that time- enough to get but to begin with I was flummoxed by Sinhala- I thought I would never learn . I go back now every year to do some short bursts of work and your posts keep my Sinhala head in gear when I don’t hear the language every day. Useful reminders. Thanks.

    Ps my family and I chose this weekend to visit Brussels- bad timing. Left early sadly but had the first snow of the year while there. Small compensation for difficult and sad times

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 08:38 #

      Hi Joan, sorry to hear about your family vacation getting cut short. Yes, sad times indeed. Already snowing??? I am so spoiled as I used to live in the South of France and we VERY RARELY saw snow where I was. I used to love to annoy my other European friends by sending them pics of the sunny riviera :)

  50. Ana November 22, 2015 at 11:57 #

    Hi, Dilshan. As usual I liked your post very much, and this time it is most useful, as srilankans are always trying to feed you. How do you write bade pirila (my stomach is full)? And how do you say something like: please, not to spicy, just enougn for me to survive?
    Greetings from Madrid,


    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 09:44 #

      Hi Ana, to write it, I’ll need to send you by email since I still don’t know how to use Sinhala characters on my site. To answer your other question, the simplest would be: ka∙ru∙naa∙kȧ∙rȧ∙la mi∙ris go∙dak dhann∙nȧ é∙paa = please don’t put a lot of chillies

      – ka∙ru∙naa∙kȧ∙rȧ∙la = please
      – mi∙ris = chillies
      – go∙dak = a lot
      – dhann∙nȧ é∙paa = “don’t put”

      Is that clear? 

  51. Jen November 22, 2015 at 20:26 #

    Um hello, I want to learn this language just for fun and not only that I want to learn how to sing in it because it sounds so beautiful :) Anyways I’m trying to help someone who speaks sinhalese to speak english and idk what to do D: I’m glad I found your blog too its very useful thank u!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 09:45 #

      Um, thanks :)

      Glad you like my blog. Hope you find someone to practice with. Which Sinhala songs do you already know to sing?

  52. Marion November 24, 2015 at 02:32 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    So great full for your help. I live in SriLanka for almost one and a half year. Picked up some Sinhala during my stay. But your blog is so much help. My mother in law doesn’t speak any English, we’re able to have some simple conversations now, so I just want to say
    Thank you!!!

    Please send me the PDF


    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2015 at 09:46 #

      Hi Marion, very happy to hear that. Thanks for sharing. Shall send you the PDF now.

  53. farhana November 24, 2015 at 06:36 #

    Hi Dilshan .
    I was planning to meet Sangakkara who is playing in Bpl !!!!!! I wanna ask him which Bengali food is his fav !!! Thanks thanks

  54. Tobias November 24, 2015 at 21:53 #

    Always thanking for your work and help! Getting to know my girlfriend’s language better and better :)

  55. Elma November 30, 2015 at 06:20 #

    Thanks for the post, very useful. I have been to China a couple of times and Chinese food in China is way different (very graphic) to South East Asian Chinese..

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 30, 2015 at 07:41 #

      Yes, I’ve heard. Don’t yet know if I’ll have the stomach for it. But I definitely want to try.

  56. Ziyaan December 13, 2015 at 09:18 #

    Hi this is a great site. I’d love to have the PDF And also, how do we know when to use mama or mata? Thanks!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 13, 2015 at 12:25 #

      Mamå and matå is a complicated question. I don’t know a rule for it but I can think of specific types of phrases where you’ll always use matå. Let me think about that and get back to you. Shall also send you the PDF when I’m back home.

  57. Susann January 31, 2017 at 18:40 #

    Hello Dilshan,
    Again thanks for your helpful blogs. I can’t stop reading and hearing, and having so much fun!
    In about 3 months our Sri Lankan friend will visit us in Germany and he promised to cook with us. So please send me the one page summary of part 1 and 3. Part 2 I already received.
    I have the same question as Ziyann, I don’t know when to use mama or mata… Have you been thinking about it? It would be very useful.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha February 1, 2017 at 22:35 #

      How can I say “no” to someone who asks so nicely?… Sending it now.

      Haven’t really tackled the mama vs. mata question. I haven’t forgotten though. It’s marked in red on my whiteboard in my office and stares at me all day.

  58. Benjamin Marshall June 18, 2017 at 22:49 #

    Sounds yummy!

  59. Indrani Perera January 31, 2021 at 04:07 #

    I have just found your blog and it is amazing. I’ve been trying to get my dad to teach me Sinhala for years and now I can learn it myself. And even better, teach it to my daughters! Thank you so much, this is brilliant. Please, please, send me the PDF for this lesson.

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