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Best Sri Lankan Chinese Roll – Fish Rolls Recipe

‘Sri Lankan Chinese roll’ saying that out loud made me sound ridiculous because this dish is definitely not Chinese but then we call it Chinese. I tried finding out many reasons as to why was it name this way.

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Well, there are many theories, but no definite answer. One of the famous theory is that Chinese immigrants came to Sri Lanka during the war and they might have tried something similar to a fried spring roll and Sri Lanka adopted it adding their own Sri Lankan twist and called it a Chinese roll. Seriously it doesn’t matter where they come from, I can only be thankful that someone invented this dish.

Just imagine a spicy filling wrapped in a savoury pancake then deep-fried until golden brown.hmmmmmm I was surely not thinking who invented these rolls while devouring the whole plate of rolls.

Chinese rolls belong to the same family of short eats that you would find in Sri Lanka

Few other short eats in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan patties (Spicy filling wrapped in a shortcrust pastry)
Sri Lankan cutlets (spicy balls deep fried)
Pastries ( Spicy filling wrapped in puff pastry)
Roti (Spicy filling wrapped in a roti)
Fish bun (Spicy filling wrapped in a soft brioche bun)

As a Sri Lankan kid growing up, I loved short eats, most of the short eats are fried, so no wonder I loved them.

These amazing short eats would make its guest appearance in any function we have in Sri Lanka, whether it is a birthday party, farewell, wedding, even in funerals. This also qualifies for morning breakfast, tea time snack and all-day snacking. and yet you would wonder how are all these people in Sri Lanka skinny hahaha.

When I was small, my brother Ruwantha Fernandopulle went to a school called St Joseph’s College in Colombo and the canteen (The food stall that sells food for the students) had the best rolls I have ever tasted.

On a side note, my brother was the cricket captain at st joseph’s he had a huge reputation as a cricketer, unfortunately he didnt continue his cricket career, if not I am sure he would have played for the Sri Lankan cricket team one day. As siblings he was always the golden child that my parents had. Played cricket and did well in his education and I was literally the black sheep in the family hahaha. Ok enough about my brother back to Chinese rolls.

So whenever we go to pick him after cricket practices at st josephs college, I used to plead my mother to buy me a Chinese roll and with so much nagging she would finally buy it. that was definitely the best part of picking up brother after cricket practices.

The other best place I ate the best rolls is Nippon hotel’s mutton rolls, oh my!!! you would literally go to food heaven.

Different type of Sri lankan Chinese rolls

Fish rolls, which is what I have done on the recipe
Beef rolls
Mutton rolls
Vegetarian rolls

Can Sri lankan Chinese rolls be frozen?

Making rolls is a process, but these are freezable so can make in big batches and frozen which is what many families in Sri Lanka do.

How to make Sri Lankan pan rolls Sri Lankan style

Firstly the savoury filling has to be made click here for my fish filling recipe

Then the savoury pancake – I have a very simple recipe for this, many recipes would call out for corn flour or milk, but I just use water, as this would give a very thin pancake, I personally don’t like to have a thick layer of pancake around the roll and its super simple to roll without breaking it. Also, I use a bit of turmeric for the flavour and the colour.

Then it needs to be coated in flour, eggs, bread crumb and deep-fried.

Now you must be thinking, well, is it worth all this effort? trust me if u eat this roll and tell me it was not worth it, I will be pretty damn surprised.

You can also try my other Sri Lankan food recipes

Did you try this recipe? comment below. If you know the origin of the dish and heard another theory of how it was invented, comment below.

Watch video how to make how to make Sri Lankan Chinese rolls

Step by step recipe how to make Sri Lankan Chinese rolls

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Sri Lankan Chinese Rolls

Spicy filling wrapped in a savoury pancake and deep fried
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 people


  • Cooktop
  • Pan


Savoury pancake

  • 100 g All purpose flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 180 g Water Tap
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt Table salt

Filling recipe below


    • 100 g All-purpose flour
    • 3 Eggs Whisked
    • 100 g Breadcrumb Fine or panko


    • Firstly, make the filling, click here to get my recipe
    • In a bowl, mix together all savoury pancake ingredients until there is no clumps.Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process the mix until smooth and mixed well
    • Heat a pan on medium fire, brush with oil lightly
    • Add in one large spoon on the pancake mixture, let it cook on one side, then flip and cook on the other side, repeat the process for all pancakes and leave aside
    • Set up 3 trays filled with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs next to each other
    • Place the pancake on a flat surface, scoop 1 Tbsp of the mixture in the middle, fold both side, then roll, to seal add a bit of raw pancake mix and seal. leave aside. repeat it for the rest of the pancakes
    • Coat it firstly in flour then in eggs finally in breadcrumbs. Make sure that you coat the two ends of the roll as well.
    • Heat a pot of oil on medium heat, once hot, deep fry all the pan rolls until golden brown and crispy. Transfer the fried rolls onto paper towels to drain excess oil well.
    • Enjoy hot


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