Where to get Sri Lankan groceries in London

Cooking is one of my favourite pastimes. I love to try recipes from all around the world, but I have a particular soft spot for Sri Lankan food. My  parents moved from Sri Lanka to the UK  in the seventies so that my father could study Computer Science. Growing up, they often cooked Sri Lankan food, so I was introduced to a wide range of deliciously spiced dishes at an early age, which were worlds apart from my school dinners.

Chow Chow, Rampe and Curry leaves

l to r: Ridge Gourd, Rampe and Curry leaves

Nowadays in London, it is relatively easy to find all the ingredients you need to make a sumptuous Sri Lankan feast. I usually head to Tooting Broadway as there are a string of Sri Lankan grocery stores there in close vicinity to the tube station. Tooting Supermarket is my usual haunt, but Venkadeswara, and several others are close by, so you can afford to shop around for the best prices and freshest produce.
Fresh curry leaves, rampe (pronounced “rampay” ,also known as Pandan and Bai Toey), dried Maldive fish, dark roasted curry powder, tamarind and goroka are staples of the Sri Lankan kitchen and can all be found in Tooting.

Apart from all the spices and dry goods, you can also find a fantastic selection of exotic fresh fruit and vegetables that you can not get in Sainsburys and Waitrose. Vegetables include chow chow, bitter gourds, snake gourds, ridge gourds, drumsticks (aka murunga, like a thick string bean), banana flower, lotus root and gotukola salad leaves.

Sri Lankan vegetables

Sri Lankan vegetables in Tooting Supermarket. Click on photo for notes.

As it is August, they also had my all time favourite fruit in stock: mangosteen. I fondly remember childhood holidays in Sri Lanka where I happily substituted lunches for bucket loads of these. These purple fruit (no relation to mangos)  have a soft white flesh and the inside looks like a garlic bulb. Each one maybe has between 4-6 segments which you can eat like an orange. Mangosteen, which are high in antioxidants, have a delicate sensation on the tongue combining flavours like vanilla, peach and strawberries.

Yummy Mangosteen

Yummy Mangosteen

If you don’t fancy cooking, there are plenty of Sri Lankan cafes on Tooting’s High Street where you can get your curry fix.

Best to call beforehand, just to make sure they have your required ingredients in stock.
Tooting Supermarket, 66 Tooting High Street, Tooting SW17 0RN. 0208 682 1157
Venkadeswara, 78 Tooting High Street
, Tooting SW17 0RN. 0208 767 6495

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16 Responses to “Where to get Sri Lankan groceries in London”

  1. wizzkid says:

    Brilliant, thanks for all the info. Had an amazing holiday in Srilanka last year and ate wonderful foods. I am entertaining a gang of really foodie friends and want to create a Srilankan feast. Now I know where to shop.

  2. miki lentin says:

    Hi
    Thanks – can you tell me if you know where I can get a strong hopper mould or hopper non stick pan in London?
    Thanks
    Miki Lentin

  3. Dainee Dainee says:

    Hi Miki,

    Just got back from hols in Sri Lanka! Not 100% sure, let me do some investigation and I will get back to you..

  4. nikki says:

    do you know any sri lankan groceries shop in manchester??? just moved here from midlands and cant find any. any clues will be appreciated.

  5. Dainee Dainee says:

    Hi Nikki,
    Really sorry, but am based in London so can’t help you on that one..
    Dainee

  6. shaz says:

    hi, can u please tell me where i can get extra virgin coconut oil? I know its a product of sri lanka but i have looked every where for it

    shaz

  7. Dainee Dainee says:

    Hi Shaz, Not sure where you can get “extra virgin” coconut oil. Venkadeswara in Tooting sell normal coconut oil for cooking at £1.19 for 250ml, and Best Food in Croydon sell it for £1.49 for 500ml. Venkadeswara’s details are in the post. Best Food’s number is 0208 684 6269. Hope this helps!

  8. Dainee Dainee says:

    Miki,
    Sorry for taking so long to answer this. Best Food in Croydon sell non-stick hopper pans at £8.99 a shot. Best Food’s no is 0208 684 6269. Dainee

  9. Ian says:

    Hi, Just to let your readers know….there is a large Sri Lankan community in Wembley with loads of excellent shops selling fresh, dried, frozen and canned goods at amazing prices. Ganapatty’s, near the junction of Wembley High Rd and Ealing Rd is great, as is the VB supermarket, Wembley Exotics and Fruitasia further down Ealing Rd. Nearest tubes: Wembley Central (Bakerloo and London Overground) and Alperton (Piccadilly). Hanger Lane (Central) is a short 83 bus ride away. Also plenty of fantastic bargain eateries on the Ealing Road.

  10. nish says:

    Does anyone know of any Sri Lankan restaurants or grocery stores in the Cambridge, Bedford or Stevenage areas? I have found a few Indian shops in Bedford but not somewhere that I can get some Sri Lankan veggies or spices. Any pointers will be really useful.

  11. tyronne says:

    hi any sri lankan spice shops in central london

  12. Alan says:

    Hi Tyronne,

    All you have to do is use the tube. Go to South Harrow tube station. Turn left out of the station in the direction of Northolt. You will find several Sri Lankan grocery shops on both sides of the road. Also an excellent prepared food take away called Sambal. Happy shopping

  13. James says:

    Hey, do you have any idea whether they sell Apple Soda and Cream Soda (The elephant house ones) I have a very ill Sri Lankan friend and I know this will cheer her up if I can find some.

    If they don’t do you know anywhere that sells it in the south east of England?

  14. Dainee Dainee says:

    Hi James,
    I’m not sure if they do. It would be best to call around.

    Good luck and let me know if you find it!

    Dainee.

    Best Food’s no in Croydon is 0208 684 6269
    Tooting Supermarket, 66 Tooting High Street, Tooting SW17 0RN. 0208 682 1157
    Venkadeswara, 78 Tooting High Street, Tooting SW17 0RN. 0208 767 6495

  15. Lesh says:

    does any one know if there are any sri lankan shops in bristol … It would really help me , i have tried searching on the web and haven’t had any luck ..

  16. Mary Duff says:

    While on holiday in Sri Lanka at the Hotel Heritance Ahungalla on our last night one of the waiters made up a cocktail with fruit and pure coconut liqueur (not Arrack). this was in a blue bottle and sounded like Napikeli!! I would be grateful if you could let me know where I could find this drink in the UK.

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