Aliyaa, Bukit Damansara – where to find Sri Lankan Food in KL?

Aliyaa has craved itself a reputation for being the only outlet in KL serving Sri Lankan cuisine for many years. How authentic I won’t know as I have never been to Sri Lanka. For my virginal visit, the food we sampled was certainly not as fiery as I was forewarned.

Healthy mango and strawberry lassi to sooth my growling stomach as we wait for the food to be prepared.

Aliyaa - Sri Lankan Food In KL

For the uninitiated, the food you see as this post progress may hit you as very Indian. To be frank, I’m almost of the same opinion, but I assure you that the subtlety of flavours lies in spices used, detected best via actual tasting.

The quartet of Sri Lanka “sambal” and chutney accompanied our dinner throughout the night. Flavour your dishes as you wish.
Sambal Set: Katta sambol – spicy red chili; Seeni sambol – sweet onion; Pol sambol – coconut; Karupillay sambol – curry leaf pesto.

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Mixed Platter – RM23.00. Savory cutlets of different fillings such as crab, fish and mutton was both rich in spices and spicy on the tongue!

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String Hopper Kothu Chicken – RM20.00. A Sri Lankan specialty prepared from spaghetti-like string of unprocessed brown rice flour dough squeezed rough a sieve onto small oven trays ,which are steamed to perfection.
In short; it is fried rice “bee hoon” but using what I presumed to be Sri Lankan spices.

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Sri Lankan Colombo style Crab – RM12.90/100g. A Li Yaa is famous for their Sri Lankan crab dishes and this was my first time trying it. I can’t say I’m entirely impressed with the gravy but the crab meat was firm and sweet.

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Devilled Chicken – RM18.00 – marinated and tossed in stock of spicy sweet tomatoes, sauteed onions, capsicums leeks, chilies and Sri Lankan herbs & spices. Frankly, this tasted like your chinese sweet and sour chicken!

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Mutton Paal Poriyal – RM23.00 – Slow Cooked Lamb Tender in Devil Aromatic Spices. This is like our Indian mutton dry curry.

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Jaffna Prawn Curry – RM23.00. Marinated prawn cooked with blend of traditional Sri Lankan spices. For a traditional Sri Lankan curry, this was very creamy and mild.

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Plain String Hoppers (Idiyappam) – RM8.00. Spaghetti-like strings of unprocessed rice flour dough squeezed through a sieve onto small woven trays, which are steamed to perfection.

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If the word “putu mayam” leaped into your mind immediately, you’re not far off, except that this is eaten with a grated coconut which makes this savoury rather than sweet. I truly enjoyed this! 🙂

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Plain “Doosara” Rotti (Pol Roti) – RM8.00. Pan grilled flat bread with grated coconut, onion & mild chili.

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Appam Egg – RM6.00. Wafer thin, bowl-shaped pancakes made from a fermented batter of rice flour & coconut milk. I love apam and I love it even more with an egg! 🙂

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Hahah.. I just had to do this! :DD

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Appam Sugar – RM6.00. I love this even more as I have a sweet tooth!

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Appam Plain – RM6.00. 

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Briyani Rice – per serving only – RM5.00. This was too plain to recommend.

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Vatilaapam – RM8.00. A rich pudding made of coconut milk, brown palm sugar, eggs and various spices including cinnamon.

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A Li Yaa has recently moved from Jalan Dungun to Medan Damansara. The 2 floors of dining space is bathed in warm light and I love the tranquility of the area. Parking is relatively easy and it is also a great place for some winding down time with good wines.

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A Li Yaa Island Restaurant & Bar,
No. 48 G &M, Medan Setia 2, Bukit Damansara, 50490 KL.
[email protected]

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. veron

    Agreed. I find the food more indian-ish than real Sri Lankan.
    I have been to Sri Lanka. You should go there next, that’s real Sri Lankan goodness!

  2. Kash

    How Ms.Saw, long time I didn’t comment – did you taste/chew the dried fish while eating the Katta Sambol? If not, then that’s not the real deal.

  3. Camilla

    I didn’t think the prices are worth it. My friends and I did drop by the old outlet at Dungun for their set lunches though. Do they still have the sets here?

  4. Jess

    Hmm… not been to Sri Lanka but I felt that the food is way overpriced for both taste (everything taste so localised) & portion. And frankly becky, apam at the market is as good/better than here. What are you doing eating apam here??

  5. Nicole

    Some dishes looked familiar..been to Sri Lanka. But I doubt the taste is authentic enough frm your description. I’ll try to make a trip here soon

  6. Ariff


  7. Isaac

    Yes I think this is the only one in KL too..guess we don’t have much options

  8. Li Hsien

    Stumbled on your blog while searching for Sri Lankan food. Looks like it’s “tailored” to our Malaysian tastebuds


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  10. Pushpa

    Mmm. I was there onece with my hubby me doesnt taste good..doesnt tast like srilankan food

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