Eating & Drinking In Sinhala – Part 3: Main Drink Items

eating drinking in sinhala P3 - lazy but smart sinhala

Photo Credit: Mrs. Smart


“Drinking”… “Drinks”… “I need a drink”.

When did the above words become synonymous with all things alcohol-related?

I remember once telling a friend of mine in Sri Lanka, “let’s go for a drink some time”, and he politely smiled and replied “No machang, I don’t drink alcohol”.

But that’s not what I meant!

And this is not what I intended to mean in this post either, although, you will find a lot of alcohol mentioned in it >>>


When it comes to my favorite alcoholic drink, I personally find myself swaying between being a single-malt guy and a wine guy. In both cases I don’t pretend to be a connoisseur.


I know one thing: That I know nothing about single-malts & wines

– Socrates, at the pub with his mates


My favorite single-malt has to be Glenmorangie.

I think that more than anything it’s because it reminds me of the many drink “sessions” Awesome Father, Komitel Brother, and I have had at home, usually during our Christmas reunions when everyone comes home for the holidays.

Of course, it’s a damn good single-malt too.

Useless Trivia: Did you know that my brother and I have special glasses that we take out only for our Scotch sessions? Did you also know that we actually have special names for them too?



You know you’ve got problems when you and your brother have actually named your Scotch glasses “The Senators”.


In terms of wines, back when I was in Monaco, I would have a glass of wine every night with my dinner. I’m not even talking about any fancy wine. Just the regular, inexpensive, but nevertheless, GREAT wines I used to buy from the local Carrefour.

Since moving to Sri Lanka though, I had to sadly (weep weep) let go of that habit since the wines are so expensive! Or let me put it another way, I’m paying way too much for what could only be described as a mediocre wine. Those that are a couple of steps above a high-quality vinegar (Ooh, you’re harsh…).

And the good ones, well, I can’t afford them at these prices. Not yet.

Just to, as my French buddies would say, “close the parenthesis”, let me also talk about non-alcoholic drinks that I like.

In Europe, I used to love love love Orangina (pronounced ‘oranjeena’ not ‘orangyna’ as I once embarrassingly found out). My fridge was always well-stocked with a six-pack of Orangina.

Recently though, owing to my frequent visit to India, I’ve now discovered Limca, or as Mrs. Smart would sing the jingle “lime & lemony Limcaaa”. But of course I try not drink too many of them. One search on youtube will show you how much sugar soda drinks in general contain. I’m an old man now. I need to be watchful of these things, right?

(Dilshan, I don’t remember me asking you anything about your favorite drinks. I came to improve my Sinhala, you rambling mad doofus!)

Rude but fair enough. On to the Sinhala learning section then:


What We’ll Do In Part 3


  1. Main drink items: Learn the words for common drink items that you can start to use
  2. All you need to remember from Part 1: Revisit some of the old phrases we saw
  3. Using them in the phrases we saw: Very much like what we did in Part 2
  4. Combining phrases: Finally, combine some of the old sentences to form new ones.

Let us begin.


1. Main Drink Items

Sri Lankan tealan∙kaa∙vé   thḗ      
Green teagreen   tee   (“green tea”)      
Tea with milkki∙ri   thḗ      
Coffee with milkki∙ri   kō∙pi      
Bottled Waterbō∙thal   va∙thu∙rȧ      
Warm/Hot wateru∙nu   va∙thu∙rȧ      
Cold watersee∙thȧ∙lȧ   va∙thu∙rȧ      
Iced waterayis (“ice”)   va∙thu∙rȧ      
Fruit juicepa∙lȧ∙thu∙ru   bee∙mȧ      
Orange juicedho∙dam   bee∙mȧ1
Mango juiceambȧ   bee∙mȧ1
Lemonadelé∙mȧ∙nḗd   (“lemonade”)      


1 In these 2 cases, you could replace the word ‘bee∙mȧ’ with “juice”


Alcohol / Liquorli∙kȧr   (“liquor”)      
Beerbi∙yȧr   (“beer”)      
Whiskey/Scotchwis∙kee   (“whiskey”) / skoch (“scotch”)      
Vodkavod∙ka   (“vodka”)      
Ginjin   (“gin”)      
Rumram   (“rum”)      


2. All You Need To Remember From Part 1

  • ma∙mȧ  ka∙nȧ∙va   =   “I eat”
  • ma∙mȧ  kan∙né  nǣ   =   “I don’t eat”
  • ma∙tȧ  kǣ∙mȧ  ō∙né =   “I want food”
  • ma∙tȧ  kǣ∙mȧ  ō∙né  nǣ =   “I don’t want food”
  • ma∙tȧ  tha∙wȧ  kǣ∙mȧ  ō∙né =   “I want food”
  • ma∙tȧ  tha∙wȧ  kǣ∙mȧ  ō∙né  nǣ =   “I don’t want food”
  • ma∙tȧ  thi∙ba∙hayi =   “I’m thirsty”
  • ma∙tȧ  thi∙ba∙ha  nǣ =   “I’m not thirsty”



2. Using Them In Phrases We Already Saw (Using “Tea” As An Example)

I drink teama∙mȧ   thḗ   bo∙nȧ∙va      
I don’t drink teama∙mȧ   thḗ   bon∙né   nǣ      
I want teama∙tȧ   thḗ   ō∙né      
I don’t want teama∙tȧ   thḗ   ō∙né   nǣ2      
I want more teama∙tȧ   tha∙wȧ   thḗ   ō∙né      
I don’t want more teama∙tȧ   tha∙wȧ   thḗ   ō∙né   nǣ2      


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



3. Combining Phrases

I’m thirsty, I want more teama∙tȧ   thi∙ba∙hayi,   ma∙tȧ   tha∙wȧ   thḗ   ō∙né      
I’m not thisrty, I don’t want more teama∙tȧ   thi∙ba∙ha   nǣ,   ma∙tȧ   tha∙wȧ   thḗ   ō∙né   nǣ2      


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



If you’d like to receive a one-page summary (in PDF) of Part 3, write me a comment below and let me know.

Also tell me what your favorite drink is?

preview-eating & drinking in sinhala summary P2

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80 Responses to Eating & Drinking In Sinhala – Part 3: Main Drink Items

  1. jessica December 6, 2015 at 07:39 #

    Thanx ?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 6, 2015 at 08:16 #

      Your welcome but you’re going to have to do better than that :) What’s your favorite drink?

  2. Wee ck December 6, 2015 at 08:05 #

    Good work…keep them going….

  3. Wee ck December 6, 2015 at 08:10 #

    My favorite drink are ginger tea, masala tea, mint tea, aerated cold drinks…..

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 6, 2015 at 08:17 #

      Oh, how on earth did I forget to mention masala tea?!! Me too, big fan.

  4. Tracey December 6, 2015 at 08:15 #

    Just tried them out on my partner during our weekly skype call and i must have been saying them right cose he understood me every time.

  5. Stephanie December 6, 2015 at 08:53 #

    Mama kiri the walata kaemathi.
    And I would appreciate the summary.
    Good work, Dilshan.
    Thank you. It is greatly appreciated.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 6, 2015 at 09:05 #

      Thanks Stephanie. Shall send it as soon as I’m back home, ok?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 6, 2015 at 09:05 #

      And by the by… I too like kiri thé. With sugar or without sugar for you?

      • Stephanie December 6, 2015 at 09:43 #

        Without sugar. But with cake or biscuit!

        • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:02 #

          I hear you! I’m the same. In Sri Lanka I would buy “butter cake” from a particular pharmacy (yes, pharmacy. Not many people know about this secret source of mine). And in India, I’ve got accustomed to Parle-G biscuits with tea. Great, now I’m craving tea.

  6. Jose Mammen December 6, 2015 at 09:30 #

    Thanks for the useful words and phrases about drinks. Please send me the PDF summary. My favorite drink in summer is buttermilk with all parahrenalia, i.e. ginge,curry leaves and so on!

    • Jose Mammen December 6, 2015 at 09:31 #

      I meant paraphrenalia of buttermilk!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 06:58 #

      Thanks Jose. I’ve also started drinking a lot of buttermilk since recently, or as my wife’s family call it “Chaas’. Sending you the PDF now.

  7. Eeva Reddy December 6, 2015 at 09:39 #

    Well done Dilshan and congratulations for your recent wedding. It happened while I was in SL and l only just read about it. And what is my favourite drink? It has got to be cold black beer after a hot busy day.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:00 #

      Thanks for the wishes, Eeva. How was SL and how long did you stay this time. A lady who enjoys black beer? That is awesome, I don’t think I have an female friends who do!

      • Kim (sudhu baba) December 6, 2018 at 03:48 #

        Count me in :) hari hari seethela biyar!!!

  8. Paul Hatton December 6, 2015 at 09:51 #

    Thanks for that Dilshan, very helpful.

    Now how would I ask for Elephant Ginger Beer? My favourite drink in Sri Lanka, after arrack and Lion Beer of course ;-)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:05 #

      Arrack and lion beer, feels like ages since I had it (will be almost 2 months that I’ve not been to SL)! To ask for a ginger beer you’d say “ma∙tȧ ginger beer é∙kak dhé∙nȧ∙va∙dhȧ?” (“Would you give me a ginger beer?”). Do you know that now the cool way to refer to Elephant House Ginger Beer is “EGB”??

  9. Koni December 6, 2015 at 10:01 #

    It is great work. I am a swiss resident living in sri lanka.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:07 #

      Hi Koni, welcome. Which part of Switzerland? I have once lived in Geneva for 3 years.

  10. Laura December 6, 2015 at 11:44 #

    Hi! Thank you for the post :) love to get the pdf! As for drinks: my alltime favorite soft drink is black tea, no milk, no sugar (but lot’s and lot’s of cookies)…as for alcohol…I love bitter, sour stuff so I’d say a good margarita (tequila, triple sec, lime juice and salt) is the best ;)
    Take care!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:19 #

      Hi Laura, you are definitely invited to “Dilshan’s Drinking Party” (if and when I decide to have it someday) and you’ll be in charge of margaritas :) But unfortunately, I don’t know if I can invite you to my tea party. I just can’t drink black tea without sugar, haha. Sending you the PDF now. Thanks again for your comment.

  11. Sofie December 6, 2015 at 13:27 #

    Many useful words and phrases, thanks. My favourite drink is water, limejuice or green/mint tea. Would of course love to get the summary (and of Part 2 also if possile).
    Congratulations, Happy married life!:)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:20 #

      Thanks Sofie. Shall send you both PDFs now. I don’t drink green tea but I take green tea capsules twice a day.

  12. Ivybenedicta December 6, 2015 at 13:50 #

    It’s great as usual Dilshan ,I managed to simply run through only but I have filed it with all the rest in a special file and go through them when I can …..I have been faithfull to all the studies but am on complete leave this month. …being the school holidays ..I have my grandchildren here demanding my attention…..and with Christmas I am very busy ……I bake all sorts of cakes and have a load of Christmas cake orders. My time is with the grandchildren ,cooking and baking…..
    I will love to get the pdf and my favourite drink is a nice hot cup of milk coffee and occasionally a glass of red wine. …. thanks and God bless you

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:31 #

      Hi Ivybenedicta, thanks for the comment. Yes, this is indeed the time for baking and spending time with family. Have a great time with the grandkids. Shall send you the PDF now.

  13. Helena December 6, 2015 at 15:40 #

    Hi dilshan, you are great teacher, I told about it today my students at our college in ambalangoda :) nice, clear and neat work you did… and my favourite drink is gaslabu beema (papaya juice )

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:32 #

      Hi Helena, i love gaslabu even simply to eat as a fruit. And the juice is also good. Thanks for the compliment, please say hello to your students from “Uncle Dilshan” :) Sending you the PDF now.

  14. Arielle December 6, 2015 at 16:11 #

    Mama kiri thé bonava. Thanks for more great lessons.

  15. John December 6, 2015 at 19:33 #

    Belated congratulations on your marriage and wishing both of you joy and blessings in the days, months and years ahead, Dilshan.

    Would appreciate a copy of the PDF – Mama ingguru kopi walata kaemathi (with hakuru) +
    ek para VSOA (to start with). Served in a Senator, naetang!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:37 #

      Haha, inguru kopi with hakuru. That’s a classic! And a VSOA in a Senator, can’t ask for more :)

      Sending you the PDF now. Thank you for the wedding wishes my friend.

  16. Little Sue December 6, 2015 at 23:55 #

    Hey Dilshan,

    Again thank you for making the Sinhalese language a wee bit easier to follow! I have your summaries all over my bathroom wall to practice while I’m brusing my teeth morning and night (except when I am too lazy to brush)

    My favourite drink is Pimms and lemonade, which I was introduced to at the pool bar of Mt Lavinia Hotel – I love that place!


    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 7, 2015 at 07:44 #

      Pimms and lemonade, never tried it. And considering I live close to Mt. Lavinia hotel. Adding that to my to do list right now.

      All over your bathroom wall? Wow! You HAVE to mail me a pic!!!

  17. Maria Papadoulou December 7, 2015 at 09:29 #

    kō∙pi and vathura !!!!


  18. M. satyanarayana December 7, 2015 at 12:48 #

    Thks for giving valuable information on Sinhala. After leaving Srilanka also I am able to remember Sinhala , because of yr lessons.

  19. Shirley Vilathgamuwa December 7, 2015 at 13:22 #

    Hello Dilshan, Interesting and useful words there, along with some smiles.You are brilliant.
    Cold drinks my favourite in ambȧ bee∙mȧ and water
    Hot drinks kiri théand total adict to kopi.

    I love wines also, mainly whites , Chardonnay one of my favorites.

    Looking forward to the the PDF please, have a great time.

    Love and blessings to you and your family.


    P.S: What is your new wifes first name?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 8, 2015 at 04:38 #

      I’m a bit of kopi addict myself. My brother just yesterday told me that he’s on his 12th day without coffee, he’s trying to curb his kopi addiction too. I’m not much a white wine drinker. I mean I like it but I’d choose red over white on most occasions. Will send you the PDF. And about my wife’s name, hehe, let’s stick to calling her Mrs. Smart for now ;-)

  20. Khema Lim December 7, 2015 at 14:04 #

    Thanks. My favourite drink is ginger beer.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 8, 2015 at 04:39 #

      Yes, I saw someone else mention it too. When I was a kid whenever we went out for a Chinese dinner, this is what my parents would order for me. Now I’ve replaced ginger beer with lion beer :)

  21. Johanna December 7, 2015 at 14:41 #

    Thanks for yet another supplement. When I lived in Sri Lanka (it was more than 30 years ago my sister loved passion fruit juice. I liked Elephant house soda. I haven’t been back since 1983 but I plan to go next year and need to relearn Sinhala. I would love the PDF. Thanks!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 8, 2015 at 04:40 #

      Finally! I was surprise why no one had mentioned passion fruit juice yet. My mom loves it. Shall send you the PDF shortly.

  22. Clarissa December 7, 2015 at 15:55 #

    Thanks as always Dilshan! I would love the PDF to add to the collection. I find them very useful to refer to as it keeps all the information in one place. My favorite drink would be a Caramel Macchiato… tea being a close 2nd. Looking forward to your next post! Combing what you teach with conversations with my Sri Lankan friends and family I have hope that maybe one day I will actually be able to learn Sinhala…

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 8, 2015 at 04:43 #

      Hi Clarissa, glad to hear that you find the PDFs helpful. I discovered caramels macchiato for the first time in my life at the Dubai airport while in transit! I had never been to a Starbucks before that. For many years after that it became my own little tradition to always have that caramel macchiato whenever I was in transit in Dubai (which was quite frequent). I’m thrilled to hear that you’re using the material on your friends. That’s the best way to expedite your learning. Sending you the PDF soon.

  23. Antje December 7, 2015 at 18:22 #

    Thank you again.
    My favourite drinks are water, tea and red wine

  24. Tony Brett December 7, 2015 at 18:57 #

    Hi Dilshan, That’s very helpful and I would like the PDF.
    How do I ask for local gin or whisky ?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 8, 2015 at 04:46 #

      Hi Tony, you’d say something like “mata lankaavé gin ekak dhenavadha?” (“Would you give me a Sri Lankan gin?”. Or you could even just use the word “local”. Most people use it very widely even in Sinhala.

  25. Thiru vasagam December 7, 2015 at 19:38 #


    Good post as always!!!

    My favourite drink in Sri Lanka is Lion Larger, but I have a drinking buddy in Colombo he loves Black label whisky!!!!

    I agree the wine is not good in Lanka!!! Would be nice to have some cool white wine though if made available at the right price!!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 8, 2015 at 07:01 #

      I know, man! Black Label is huge in Sri Lanka. I remember being quite surprised whenever I used to come to SL for my holidays, every party served Black Label and Chivas. About the wine, if you find a good supplier, please inbox me the details.

  26. Steve Parenteau December 8, 2015 at 07:48 #

    Dearest Sir:

    We reference you often at our Sinhala class at our school!! Our teacher Haris says he has been in contact with you, yes?

    Thank you for you fun, witty, simplistic approach always!!

    My favourite drink is Chai, but I have not seen it much outside Australia…


    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 9, 2015 at 20:00 #

      Hi Steve, great to hear that I’m being referenced over there in your school. I’m sure your teacher has been in contact with me, it’s just that I have 4 Tribesters with the name “Haris”, so I don’t know which one he is.

      So how come you’re learning Sinhala in school?

  27. EVA December 8, 2015 at 11:01 #



    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 9, 2015 at 20:01 #

      Yeah! Ginger tea. I had one just an hour ago, made by my better half.

  28. Poosparajah December 9, 2015 at 08:51 #

    Dear Sir,
    I greatly enjoy your LBSS tutorials. Bohoma isthuthi. Magay Sinhala podak samahara tamai.
    Karunakerala Bonus ekak mata arinava. :-)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 9, 2015 at 20:03 #

      Hi, glad to hear that you enjoy the tutorials. Great effort but I don’t think ‘samahara’ is the right word there, I can’t figure out what you were wanting to say. In the second sentence instead of ‘arinava’ “sending”, you should say ‘évanna’ (“send” as a polite command). Sending it to you now.

  29. Jayamathan December 9, 2015 at 11:32 #

    Thank you Dilshan. Bohoma isthoothi

  30. Shabilah December 10, 2015 at 08:20 #

    Awesome work!! Needed tis like for a loooooooooooong time. Thanks!!

  31. Debbie December 13, 2015 at 15:21 #

    Thank you for another great lesson! My favourite drink is a cold, fresh Sri Lankan thambilli with the insides scooped out and added to the glass for texture and decoration… there are no coconuts in the world quite like Sri Lanka’s.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 17, 2015 at 07:18 #

      Agreed, they’re delicious. I’ve found a place in Mumbai that makes what they call a “Coconut Punch” where the scooped insides of the tender coconut juice is thrown into a blender with the juice. Very tasty!

  32. Avaneesh December 16, 2015 at 05:09 #

    Thanks! I would love a summary, Dilshan.
    Quick question:
    Is there a “pure” (non loan-word) sinhala version of vathura?

    My favourite drinks are chilled water, iced tea, and ginger tea!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 17, 2015 at 06:54 #

      Yes, the words is ‘ja∙lȧ∙yȧ’ but you’ll probably never hear it in day-to-day spoken Sinhala. Stick to vathurȧ

  33. Bill Gibbons December 19, 2015 at 19:18 #

    A writer friend of mine in Michigan (US state) is an aficionado of single malts and concurs with your taste for Glenmorangie, although he prefers the peatier, smokier Islay examples. He’s been to the Glenmorangie distillery and even described their aging casks. Not a fan of scotches in general, I prefer bourbon, sour mash (Jack Daniels) or sake (酒), but I’m thinking about trying a higher-shelf scotch. (As a 69-year-old father of a 4-year-old daughter, I need a stiff drink every now and then.)

    On a Sinhala-related note, admittedly I haven’t done an exhaustive search on your site, but do you offer lessons on a CD? Plugged into a player in the Jeep, it would keep the language forefront in me feeble mind while dodging less-than-attentive drivers and maybe even prevent me from cussing as much.

    Thanks and the best to you and to Mrs. Smart.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 21, 2015 at 07:30 #

      Hi Bill, your friend has exquisite taste… Your comment just gave me a new item to add my brother’s and my common bucket list: to visit the Glenmorangie distillery. Must bring it up with him when I see him at home for the holidays.

      I don’t have anything on CD. A little too lazy and not enough smart to want to deal with tangible goods right now. Instead, I do have some some premium products with downloadable mp3 that can be :

      Speak again soon. Take it easy while driving your jeep, you hear? :)

  34. Max Gomez April 10, 2017 at 15:03 #

    Dilshan, thanks for the words & phrases.

    you may not believe this, my favourite drink is coffee and ginger/lemon tea.



  35. Dhwani Rajvaidya October 16, 2018 at 14:37 #

    Productive one !!!

  36. Kim (sudhu baba) December 6, 2018 at 03:58 #

    Hellooo Dilshan :) I would be so happy to tell you my favorite drinks, but since that’s what we’re talking about, it would be great to know how to say “favorite.” Is it somewhere in the post and I missed it? I also checked through the phrasebook among foods, drinks, adjectives … Without “favorite,” I can only say “Mage beema,” and while I’d be happy to have *all* the seethela kiri kopi, my bada would probably pop. :D ~ k

  37. Erica January 5, 2019 at 21:20 #

    My favourite drink is red wine, but will happily drink arrack, vodka, gin, rum or brandy. How do you say ‘red wine’ in Sinhala (I’m sure you’ve done this in another lesson but I can’t remember 😔)? Also, I like my food spicy and would love a way to tell the waiters to ignore any preconceived ideas about what English people can / do eat and just whack in as many chilies as they would for a chilli-loving Sri Lankan! So, how can I say ‘I like my devilled seafood extra spicy please’?

    Bohema isthoothi,

  38. Indrani Perera January 31, 2021 at 04:15 #

    Suddenly I could do with a drink. And if I was in Sri Lanka at my auntie’s I could even ask for one. Thanks for this awesome lesson. And I’d love the Pdf too pretty please.

  39. Linda S Hodges May 23, 2021 at 12:17 #

    My favourite drink is thambili. I also suffer doing without some things so I can still buy the expensive “bad” red wine in Sri Lanka.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 30, 2021 at 10:38 #

      Ugh, tell me about it. I had the fortune of living in Europe and drinking excellent yet affordable wine. And it’s almost how much an sub-standard wine sells for in SL. Anyone reading this, new business opportunity for you. Run with it and message Linda and me when it’s done :)

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